Monday, December 14, 2015

G624 Book Review of Flask of the Drunken Master by Susan Spann

Name of Book: Flask of the Drunken Master

Author: Susan Spann

ISBN: 978-1-250-02706-1

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Part of a Series:Shinobi Mystery #3 (Claws of the Cat and Blade of the Samurai are prequels)

Type of book: Japan, mystery, 16th century, murder, Shinobi, hidden identity, underestimation, 1565, connections, missing person, risk of poverty, Kyoto

Year it was published: 2015


Master ninja Hiro Hattori and his companion Father Mateo are once again pulled into a murder investigation when a rival artisan turns up dead outside of their friend Ginjiro’s sake brewery. They must find the killer before the magistrate executes Ginjiro, seizes the brewery, and renders his family destitute. All the evidence implicates the brewer, yet with Kyoto on alert in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, Ginjiro’s is not the only life at risk.

As tensions rise, Hiro investigates a missing merchant, a vicious debt collector, a moneylender and the victim’s spendthrift son. But when a drunken Buddhist monk insists on helping Hiro and Father Mateo solve the crime, the monk’s bumbling threatens to foil the investigation altogether. With time running out, Hiro once again gambles on a clandestine mission to find the truth. Except that this time, Hiro isn’t the only one with a secret mission to fulfill.

Flask of the Drunken Master is the latest entry in Susan Spann's thrilling 16th century Japanese mystery series, sure to gain new fans and please old alike.


The characters weren't fully rounded as I had hoped, but still I got tantalizing glimpses of their personalities and relationships with others. Hiro is a loyal bodyguard to Father Mateo who has a fascinating past which includes trauma and immunity to romance. Aside from that, very little is known of him. Father Mateo is a Portugese priest who lives in Japan and often makes Japanese people underestimate him. There are a few other memorable characters such as a woman who enjoys masculine pursuits and wants to be loved as well as a Buddhist priest that loves drinking and doesn't know importance of what he hears and what he doesn't.


One can't get away with evil doing


The story is in third person narrative from Hiro's point of view. The author stays with Hiro's point of view and doesn't really go to other characters. The mystery grasped me quickly and didn't really let me go until the final pages. I also liked the fact that moments of some comedy and self revelation about Hiro are revealed. I have to say that a few things that Susan Spann covered made me curious about the Shinobi, and I hope to learn more about him in the future. Most of the story is dominated by mystery and how Father Mateo and Hiro solve it, and very little is focused on character growth.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

Flask of the Drunken Master Available at

About the Author03_Susan Spann_Author

Susan Spann acquired her love of books and reading during her preschool days in Santa Monica, California. As a child she read everything from National Geographic to Agatha Christie. In high school, she once turned a short-story assignment into a full-length fantasy novel (which, fortunately, will never see the light of day).
A yearning to experience different cultures sent Susan to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan. After earning an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, Susan diverted to law school. She returned to California to practice law, where her continuing love of books has led her to specialize in intellectual property, business and publishing contracts.
Susan’s interest in Japanese history, martial arts, and mystery inspired her to write the Shinobi Mystery series featuring Hiro Hattori, a sixteenth-century ninja who brings murderers to justice with the help of Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest. When not writing or representing clients, Susan enjoys traditional archery, martial arts, horseback riding, online gaming, and raising seahorses and rare corals in her highly distracting marine aquarium. Susan lives in Sacramento with her husband, son, three cats, one bird, and a multitude of assorted aquatic creatures.
For more information please visit Susan Spann’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook,Twitter, and Goodreads.


Honestly I didn't mean to take such a long time with reviewing this book. Like the previous book I've read, Blade of the Samurai, its well written with an addictive mystery, and, much to mine relief, I get to learn more about Hiro, the mysterious Shinobi bodyguard of Father Mateo. There is quite a bit of progress in terms of Father Mateo adapting to Japanese culture, although he is still seen as a foreigner. I look forward to (hopefully) read more about Hiro and Father Mateo and to learn more about them. Also, in this book there is a list of characters so the reader will know who's who.

This is a late review for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Flask of the Drunken Master Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 6
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, July 7
Review at Book Babe
Wednesday, July 8
Guest Post & Giveaway at To Read, Or Not to Read
Spotlight & Giveaway at Raven Haired Girl
Friday, July 10
Guest Post & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Monday, July 13
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book
Tuesday, July 14
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Thursday, July 16
Excerpt & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Friday, July 17
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Monday, July 20
Guest Post & Giveaway at Booklover Book Reviews
Wednesday, July 22
Guest Post at Book Nerd
Review, Guest Post, & Giveaway at Queen of All She Reads
Thursday, July 23
Interview & Excerpt at Jorie Loves a Story
Guest Post at Shelf Full of Books
Friday, July 24
Guest Post at Book Dilettante
Monday, July 27
Guest Post at Reading the Past
Tuesday, July 28
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, July 30
Guest Post & Excerpt at at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Monday, August 3
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Tuesday, August 4
Review at A Book Geek
Wednesday, August 5
Guest Post at Editing Pen
Thursday, August 6
Review at Diana’s Book Reviews
Friday, August 7
Guest Post at Boom Baby Reviews

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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