Azabu Getaway (Detective Hiroshi) by Michael Pronko

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Azabu Getaway (Detective Hiroshi) by Michael Pronko

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Category: Crime
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Book five in this excellent series looks at wealth and it's a cracker. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 330 Date: September 2022
Publisher: Raked Gravel Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1942410287

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You can't put 'good at golf' on your tombstone, can you?

When we meet Patrick Walsh he's outside his family's home in the Azabu district of Tokyo, hoping that his key will still work but prepared to break in if it doesn't. He's there to remove his daughters, Jenna and Kiri, and take them back to Honolulu. It's a quick day trip, with just one purpose in mind. Patrick's employed by Nine Dragons Wealth Management and for the past year, he's been working in Wyoming because the privacy laws there are conducive to the business he's in. His wife, Miyuki, hasn't been in Wyoming with him and is in the process of divorcing him after photographs sent to her anonymously suggested that Patrick had not been faithful to her. Patrick's plan didn't work out and he finds himself on the run in Tokyo with the two girls.

Meanwhile, at Nine Dragons, Detective Hiroshi has to put his forensic accounting skills to use when Leung, the CEO, is found murdered in his office by Sanjay Mehta, the office manager. To find out who's behind the murder, Hiroshi is going to have to understand the complex financial schemes which keep the wealth of the richest people in Tokyo secure from the attentions of the authorities. The abduction of the two girls could have been seen as a distraction but instinct tells Hiroshi that there's a connection.

Fans of this distinctive series will be delighted to meet some old friends on the team of investigators. Sakaguchi's still the chief of homicide and a former sumo wrestler, as is Sugamo, one of the detectives. Takamatsu is an old-school detective: he's still smoking despite the fact that it's good for neither his health nor his job. Akiko is Hiroshi's assistant - and he struggles without her. There's another woman now - Ishii, who's a detective. I wondered if she'd had to be as assertive as she is to get where she is - or if she's made her mark because she's assertive. Either way, she's going to be one to watch. She's not fazed by the greed or the violence the team encounters and she might turn out to be the best man of them all.

Hiroshi and his girlfriend are still together despite the fact that Hiroshi's job is always going to come first. I've watched Hiroshi develop since the first book in the series and it demonstrates just how good Michael Pronko's writing really is. Hiroshi's grown and matured, developed some strengths and is still fighting some old weaknesses in much the way that you view an old friend. All the characters are well-developed and they stay with me long after I've finished reading.

The buildings, tall and solidly built, stored wealth in their floorspace, upper-floor views, elegant construction and prestige.

Perhaps the biggest character, though, is the city and culture of Tokyo, which Pronko brings alive. It's a city he obviously knows and loves and if you would like to read more about the city, we can recommend Pronko's Beauty and Chaos: Slices and Morsels of Tokyo Life, but - even in Azabu Getaway - you'll feel as though you're walking the streets, eating the food. It's not all pristine, though, as you'll find out when the investigation gets to Disneyland: Here and there the pavement was unfinished and a few walls misaligned. The roofs over the arcade, cracked and brittle from the sun, looked like they leaked. No one cared about those rough edges in cartoon heaven. The rough edges might have been financial in Tokyo city - but it was no less cartoonish in its own way.

The plot's superb: it had me guessing to the very end and I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Booklists.jpg Azabu Getaway (Detective Hiroshi) by Michael Pronko is in the Top Ten Self-Published Books 2022.

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