Top Ten Books Set in Asia Box Set
A Cop’s Eyes by by Yakumaru, Gaku: Cash, Jan Mitsuk
The horror, of seemingly ordinary people doing horrifying things, can take the eyes of just as seemingly ordinary people to see.
Tall, soft-spoken Natsume used to work with troubled kids at a reformatory but resigned mid-career to become a police detective. Those who’ve known him wonder why the gentlest of men, whose vocation had been to have faith in humans, now doubts them professionally. The truths of his path unfold over seven carefully crafted chapters, each of which stands on its own as a short story with the power to move and delight the most seasoned reader.
Determination, not vengeance, animates A Cop’s Eyes, its focus neither well-placed punches, nor even stunning feats of forensics, but the stubbornly interpersonal dimension of detective work. An anti-hero in a wholly different vein from noir protagonists, the ying to Dirty Harry’s yang, Natsume will endear himself to fans of understated Robert Parker goodness and the late Peter Falk’s Lt. Columbo.
The Ninja’s Daughter by Susan Spann
Autumn, 1565: When an actor’s daughter is murdered on the banks of Kyoto’s Kamo River, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are the victim’s only hope for justice.
As political tensions rise in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, and rival warlords threaten war, the Kyoto police forbid an investigation of the killing, to keep the peace–but Hiro has a personal connection to the girl, and must avenge her. The secret investigation leads Hiro and Father Mateo deep into the exclusive world of Kyoto’s theater guilds, where they quickly learn that nothing, and no one, is as it seems. With only a mysterious golden coin to guide them, the investigators uncover a forbidden love affair, a missing mask, and a dangerous link to corruption within the Kyoto police department that leaves Hiro and Father Mateo running for their lives.
Yakuza Moon- Memoirs of a Gangster’s Daughter by Tendo, Shoko: Heal, Louise
Born to a wealthy and powerful yakuza boss, Shoko Tendo lived the early years of her life in luxury. However, when she was six, everything changed: her father was jailed, and the family fell into debt. Bullied by her classmates because of her father’s activities, and terrorized at home by her father, who became a drunken, violent monster after his release from prison, Tendo rebelled. As a teenager she became a drug addict and a member of a girl gang. At the age of 15 she spent eight months in a juvenile detention center after getting into a fight with another gang.
During Japan’s bubble economy of the eighties, Tendo worked as a bar hostess, attracting many rich and loyal customers, and earning money to help her family out of debt. But there were also abusive clients, one of whom beat her so badly that her face was left permanently scarred. Her mother died, plunging Tendo into a depression so deep that she tried to commit suicide.
Somehow, Tendo overcame these tough times. A turning point was getting a full-body tattoo with a design centered on a geisha with a dagger in her mouth, an act that empowered her to change her life. She quit her job as a hostess. On her last day at work, she looked up at the full moon, which became a symbol of her struggle to become whole, and the title of the book she wrote as an epitaph for herself and her family.
The paperback edition of Yakuza Moon features 16-pages of never-before-seen photos of Tendos youth, family, and tattoos, as well as a new foreword by the author, describing her life since the book was first published four years ago.
The Chinese Maze Murders- A Chinese Detective Story Suggested by Tree Original Ancient Chinese Plots by Robert van Gulik
Poisoned plums, a cryptic scroll picture, passionate love letters, and a hidden murderer with a penchant for torturing and killing women lead Judge Dee to the heart of the Governor’s garden maze and the answers to three interwoven mysteries. The Chinese Maze Murders represents Robert van Gulik’s first venture into writing suspense novels after the success ofDee Gong An, his translation of an anonymous Chinese detective novel from the sixteenth century
The Tattoo Murder Case
Takagi, Akimitsu/ Boehm, Deborah Boliver
Kinue Nomura survived World War II only to be murdered in Tokyo, her severed limbs discovered in a room locked from the inside. Gone is the part of her that bore one of the most beautiful full-body tattoos ever rendered. Kenzo Matsushita, a young doctor who was first to discover the crime scene, feels compelled to assist his detective brother, who is in charge of the case. But Kenzo has a secret: he was Kinue’s lover, and soon his involvement in the investigation becomes as twisted and complex as the writhing snakes that once adorned Kinue’s torso.
People Who Eat Darkness- The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo–and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up
Lucie Blackman–tall, blond, twenty-one years old–stepped out into the vastness of Tokyo in the summer of 2000, and disappeared forever. The following winter, her dismembered remains were found buried in a seaside cave.
Richard Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, covered Lucie’s disappearance and followed the massive search for her, the long investigation, and the even longer trial. Over ten years, he earned the trust of her family and friends, won unique access to the Japanese detectives and Japan’s convoluted legal system, and delved deep into the mind of the man accused of the crime, Joji Obara, described by the judge as “unprecedented and extremely evil.”
Out by Kirino, Natsuo/ Snyder, Stephen
Nothing in Japanese literature prepares us for the stark, tension-filled, plot-driven realism of Natsuo Kirino’s award-winning literary mysteryOut.
This mesmerizing novel tells the story of a brutal murder in the staid Tokyo suburbs, as a young mother who works the night shift making boxed lunches strangles her abusive husband and then seeks the help of her coworkers to dispose of the body and cover up her crime. The coolly intelligent Masako emerges as the plot’s ringleader, but quickly discovers that this killing is merely the beginning, as it leads to a terrifying foray into the violent underbelly of Japanese society.
At once a masterpiece of literary suspense and pitch-black comedy of gender warfare, Out is also a moving evocation of the pressures and prejudices that drive women to extreme deeds, and the friendships that bolster them in the aftermath.
Winner Take All (aka Rain Storm) by Barry Eisler
Previously published as Rain Storm and Choke Point
John Rain has disappeared to Brazil to escape the killing business and the enemies encircling him in Japan. But the CIA isn’t willing to lose its premier “natural causes” contract killer, and they force Rain to take on a high-risk assignment: eliminate a ruthless arms dealer operating in Southeast Asia.
The upside? Financial, of course, along with the ongoing chimera of moral redemption. But first, Rain will have to survive the downside: a second assassin zeroing in on the target; the target’s consort, an alluring and dangerous woman with an agenda of her own; the possibility that the entire mission is nothing but an elaborate setup. From the gorgeous beaches of Rio to the glitzy casinos of Macau to the gritty back streets of Hong Kong and Kowloon, Rain becomes a reluctant player in an international game far deadlier and more insidious than any he has encountered before.
Bangkok 8 by John Burdett
A thriller with attitude to spare, Bangkok 8 is a sexy, razor-edged, often darkly hilarious novel set in one of the world’s most exotic cities.
Witnessed by a throng of gaping spectators, a charismatic Marine sergeant is murdered under a Bangkok bridge inside a bolted-shut Mercedes Benz. Among the witnesses are the only two cops in the city not on the take, but within moments one is murdered and his partner, Sonchai Jitpleecheep—a devout Buddhist and the son of a Thai bar girl and a long-gone Vietnam War G.I.—is hell-bent on wreaking revenge. On a vigilante mission to capture his partner’s murderer, Sonchai is begrudgingly paired with a beautiful FBI agent named Jones and captures her heart in the process. In a city fueled by illicit drugs and infinite corruption, prostitution and priceless art, Sonchai’s quest for vengeance takes him into a world much more sinister than he could have ever imagined.
Dragon Day by Lisa Brackmann
Ellie McEnroe is an Iraq War vet living in Beijing, where she represents the work of cutting-edge Chinese political artists. She has one bum leg, a taste for dumplings and beer, and an evangelical mother and a sweet-tempered rescue mutt for roommates. She also has Chinese Domestic Security on her tail and a dwindling number of Percocets to get her through her bad days.
And she’s about to have some bad days. The immensely powerful—and occasionally homicidal—Shanghai billionaire Sidney Cao has asked Ellie to investigate Marsh Brody, his son’s suspicious new American business partner. Ellie knows she can’t refuse, and is grudgingly swept up into the elite social circles of Sidney’s three children: debauched Guwei, rebellious Meimei and social climber Tiantian. When a waitress is murdered at one of Tiantian’s parties, the last thing Ellie wants is to get sucked into a huge scandal involving China’s rich and powerful. But Ellie quickly becomes the most convenient suspect and realizes she’ll have to figure out who really did it—and even that might not be enough to save herself.