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"Best First Mystery Novel"—Barry Award winner, Deadly Pleasures
"Best of 2013"—Suspense Magazine
"Best Debut"—Oline Cogdill's annual roundup
Five bodies. One clue. Not a trace of the killer.
San Francisco antique dealer Jim Brodie recently inherited a stake in his father's Tokyo-based private investigation firm, which means the single father of six-year-old Jenny is living a bi-coastal life, traveling to Japan to acquire art and artifacts for his store and consulting on Brodie Security's caseload at home and abroad.
One night, an entire family is gunned down in San Francisco's bustling Japantown neighborhood, and Brodie is called on by the SFPD to decipher the lone clue left at the crime scene: a single Japanese character printed on a slip of paper, drenched in blood.
Brodie can't read the clue either. But he may have seen it before—at the scene of his wife's death in a house fire four years ago.
With his array of Asian connections and fluency in Japanese, Brodie sets out to solve a seemingly perfect crime and at the same time learn whether his wife's tragic death was more than just an accident. And when he unravels a web of intrigue stretching back centuries and connected to the murders in San Francisco, the Japantown killer retaliates with a new target: Brodie's daughter.
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Reviews & Praise
"A sophisticated international thriller.... Having lived and worked in Japan for more than 25 years, Lancet brings an impressive breadth of knowledge to the historical aspects of the mystery and a sharp sense of immediacy to its action."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Although I have studied Japanese for 30 years, I was kept guessing until the
very end. Those with little knowledge of things Japanese will nonetheless be
kept in suspense by the twists and turns of the underlying story—and edified
and entertained along the way." (read full review)
—Washington Independent Review of Books (Steve Sacks)
"Lancet has favored us with an extremely impressive debut that is almost sure to be short-listed for any number of awards next year." (read full review)
—BookReporter (Joe Hartlaub)
"An elegantly brutal thriller, Japantown is reminiscent of classic Daniel Silva and Barry Eisler. Lancet's unique background bleeds authenticity into the story. This is a bold and exciting debut. Don't miss it."
—J. T. Ellison
"Sometimes I come across a book that simply is too good not to share, even if it
lies outside my technophile niche... A distinctive and well-written debut novel
with a fresh take on the international thriller genre." (read full review)
—Book Buzz (Amy Rogers, ScienceThriller.com)
"One of the hottest debut authors of 2013... [a] taut international thriller that races from San Francisco to Lancet's adopted hometown of Tokyo.... J. J. Abrams of Lost fame recently bought the TV rights to the book."
"The debut novel by a 25-year resident of Japan is a zippy page-turner set in San Francisco's Japantown, Tokyo and a remote Japanese village."
"The first book in what will likely be a long and successful series."
—San Francisco Magazine
NEW! "As the first book in his dynamic Jim Brodie series, Japantown is a tense, gripping novel loaded with lots of nail-biting action and suspense. The mystery is rock-solid with multifaceted plotting and vivid characterization that benefits immensely from the atmospheric narrative. I also reviewed—and greatly enjoyed—the second Jim Brodie thriller, Tokyo Kills."
—Fresh Fiction (Tanzey Cutter)
NEW! "This thrill-a-minute action will keep the reader turning the pages. Highly recommended."
—Pulp Den (Tom Johnson)
"[Starred recommendation] Barry Lancet, Japantown. Thriller set in San Francisco and Tokyo that follows an antique-dealer PI as he sets out to solve the murder of a Japanese family. Lots of detailed cultural references and interesting plot twists make this a fun and informative read."
—The Rough Guide to Japan
"Fascinating information about Japanese history and culture is seamlessly woven into this high-intensity debut thriller."
—Stop, You're Killing Me!
"Lancet, an American who has lived and worked in Japan for decades...commands a much stronger knowledge of the culture than his predecessors and... provide[s] a deep and easy familiarity with the two vastly different cultures.... Strong writing and deep passion for the material carry the story and characters far enough to hold the interest of any reader who enjoys this sort of story." (read full review)
—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Dmitri Ragano)
"A solid mystery with a memorable protagonist, the book captures our interest from the first page."
—Booklist (David Pitt)
"Lancet successfully places a PI in an international thriller plot in his highly entertaining debut . . . Readers will want to see more of the talented Jim Brodie, with his expertise in Japanese culture, history, and martial arts."
—Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)
"[Lancet] draws upon his familiarity with the terrain, local history and Japanese culture to create an East-West adventure that informs as it thrills. . . . the intricate plot is skillfully developed, the action never flags and the climax is gripping. A fresh voice in crime fiction."
"Lancet has a gift for pacing and keeps the reader engaged and guessing till the very end."
"Japantown is an expertly written story with vivid, complex characters. The
mystery holds surprises until the very end."
"Get ready for an action-packed, tension-filled escape with Barry Lancet's
thriller worthy of Elmore Leonard. The trail of crime races from Tokyo to New
York and returns inevitably to Japantown, six square blocks in San Francisco,
where antiques dealer and private eye Jim Brodie walks a dangerous line in the
shadow world of clashing cultures."
—Ronald Kessler, author of In the President's Secret Service and The Secrets of the FBI
"From gritty San Francisco to exotic Tokyo, Japantown is a whip-smart,
razor-fast ride, and entertaining from cover to cover."
"This is a terrific debut from a talented and very promising writer. Nimbly
written and atmospheric. Lancet ... depicts a rich mixture of art and violence, the past and the present, east and west."
—T. Jefferson Parker
"An expertly paced page-turner and I heartily recommend it to any thriller reader."
—Abiko Free Press (Patrick Sherriff, Our Man in Abiko)
"Outstandingly entertaining... We readers constantly search for something fresh
in the genres we love—a new angle, a surprising twist, some fresh seasoning.
Lancet capably delivers."
—Sumo Joe Says
Simon & Schuster, hardcover, September 2013, ISBN: 9781451691696