Author: Susan Spann
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Part of a Series: Shinobi Mysteries
Type of book:Japan, 1565, Kyoto, samurai, mystery, murder, detective, priest, secrets, rivalry, siblings, clues, women's lives
Year it was published: 2016
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.
The main characters include Father Mateo who finally shares a secret with Hiro Hattori and who becomes determined to find Emi's killer. There is also Hiro Hattori, a shinobi in service to Father Mateo and has vowed to protect the priest with his life. He is determined and has a lot of scars from his past. There are also Chou, the older sister to the victim who only wants the life assigned for her, and Emi, the younger sister who wants a different life. Satsu is Hiro's uncle and has made a choice of hiding himself from the family.
Things are not what they seem
This is told in third person narrative from Hiro's point of view. The mystery, as always, is addictive and just like previous mysteries, the author chooses to dole out little bits about the character, but she doesn't focus a lot on the characters. This time the secondary characters, in particularly Satsu's family, are far more compelling for me than Hiro and Father Mateo, although I liked finding out Mateo's secret one can say.
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | ITUNES |INDIEBOUND | KOBO
Previously I read and reviewed Blade of the Samurai and Flask of the Drunken Master, which are books 2 and 3 in the Shinobi Mysteries, and I still feel that with each successive novel, the author becomes more and more confident in writing and telling the mysteries and doling out small pieces of our heroes, the shinobi (ninja) Hiro Hattori, and the Jesuit priest Father Mateo. Along with mysteries, the reader is also told a bit about Japanese culture, and this story deals with the Japanese Kabuki plays. Its a quick and fast read, and although previously I felt that the books are good as stand-alone series, this time I will say that I recommend the previous books be read because some characters from previous books do show up, and there is something important uncovered that wasn't mentioned how in this book.
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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.)