Tokyo Traffic (Detective Hiroshi) by Michael Pronko

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Tokyo Traffic (Detective Hiroshi) by Michael Pronko

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: It's the third book in the Detective Hiroshi series but it would read perfectly well as a standalone. It's part-police procedural, part thriller and a splendid introduction to Tokyo. Definitely recommended
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 341 Date: June 2020
Publisher: Raked Gravel Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1942410218

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There were three young women, girls really if you wanted to be pedantic about their ages. Sukayana was Thai and she'd come to Japan in the belief that she'd be able to pick up the documentation to get to the States. Celeste was just fourteen and when we meet her she's already dead of a heart attack caused by an overdose of amphetamines. Then there's Ratana, who's the de facto leader of the group, but she's disappeared too with the group's passports, leaving Sukayana in the midst of a scene of carnage at the Jack and Jill Studios. The dead bodies are definitely not props though.

Sukayana knew that she needed to get out of the studios and it seemed wise to take some insurance with her. Money always came in useful and she collected an iPad and a laptop as she left, keeping as much undercover as she could. What she hadn't appreciated was the tracking devices in the computers. Whilst she's trying to find Ratana, Kenta Nakamura has been called in to clean up the mess at the studios by Shibaurak who runs Jack and Jill. They're both more than a little nervous about the appearance of Yoshitako Kirino - and Kirino would like to get hold of Sukayana, who's not just hiding in Tokyo - she's determined to get her passport to get to America.

Detective Hiroshi Shimizu has moved in with his girlfriend, Ayana, and the relationship seems to be going well. Those of us who have been with him from the start know that he has form so far as failed relationships go. Much as he loves the women - and he does love Ayana - he finds it impossible not to give his all to the job and if a woman loves you, the irregular hours and danger eventually drown the emotion. But Hiroshi is an accountant in the police force, so why does he get into danger? Well, he speaks English and that's too useful for the force to pass up and that (and his accounting skills) is why he's out of his office at a porn studio where there's been a triple murder.

The story obviously takes place pre-COVID-19, but otherwise, it's bang up-to-date with young girls being trafficked for sex and the tracing of money being made more difficult by the use of cryptocurrency. The characters are superb. Regular readers will know some of the policemen. There's the head of homicide: making an appearance is his main job. The combination of Hiroshi, Sakaguchi and Takamatsu is excellent: they get the job done, but sometimes you're not quite certain how.

The city of Tokyo is very much a character in its own right: I've never been but every time I read one of Michael Pronko's Detective Hiroshi books I want to go there. It's not the tourist hotspots we see, but the real city with the food and drink which the locals consume. It's glorious.

The writing is skilful and evocative:

They couldn't speak the world's two most common languages - English and numbers.
The only thing he took away from examining a corpse was nausea.

Pronko does a good job of uniting two genres: Tokyo Traffick is part police procedural and part thriller. You know who the baddies are from early on: the question is how they're going to be caught. It's a great page-turner with real tension towards the end and I hope that it won't be too long before we hear more about Hiroshi. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If the story appeals you might want to start the series at the beginning. I promise you that you won't find it a hardship.

You might enjoy Tokyo Nights by Jim Douglas.

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Buy Tokyo Traffic (Detective Hiroshi) by Michael Pronko at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tokyo Traffic (Detective Hiroshi) by Michael Pronko at


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