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Japantown: A Thriller (A Jim Brodie Novel) Hardcover – September 3, 2013

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Product Details

  • Series: A Jim Brodie Novel
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451691696
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451691696
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #502,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Lancet successfully places a PI in an international thriller plot in his highly entertaining debut. Five members of the Nakamura family have been gunned down at a pedestrian mall in San Francisco's Japantown. SFPD Lt. Frank Renna asks Jim Brodie, an antiques dealer who inherited his father's Tokyo-based private investigation firm, to decipher the one clue found at the crime scene: a single kanji, or Japanese letter, written on a piece of paper. Jim saw that same letter before—at the house fire in which his wife, Mieko, perished. Tokyo communications mogul Katsuyuki Hara hires Jim to find out who murdered his eldest daughter and the four other family members, including two children. The PI gets on the trail of the ruthless Soga, a private army for hire that's responsible for unsolved high-profile deaths worldwide. The case becomes personal when the Soga kidnap Jim's six-year-old daughter, Jenny. Readers will want to see more of the talented Jim, with his expertise in Japanese culture, history, and martial arts. Agent: Robert Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (Sept.)

From Booklist

Jim Brodie is an antiques dealer living in San Francisco. Because of his familiarity with Japanese culture (like author Lancet, Brodie lived in Japan for a long time), he often serves as a consultant to the police when they’re investigating crimes involving the city’s Japanese population. When a Tokyo family is murdered in the Japantown district of San Francisco, Brodie isn’t surprised to be invited to the crime scene. But he is surprised to see, on a scrap of paper near the bodies, a Japanese kanji (ideograph) that appears identical to one he found near his own dead wife’s body several years ago. Is there a serial killer at work? Is his wife’s death somehow connected with these killings? Brodie flirts with danger and obsession to find the truth. A solid mystery with a memorable protagonist, the book captures our interest from the first page. The story doesn’t cry out for a sequel, but it’s unlikely anyone would object to another Brodie novel. --David Pitt

More About the Author

Barry Lanc­et's first­ book in t­he Jim Bro­die series­, JAPANTOW­N, won the­ Barry Awa­rd for Bes­t First My­stery Nove­l of 2013,­ was selec­ted as a B­est Debut ­of the Yea­r by Suspe­nse Magazi­ne, and ha­s been opt­ioned for ­a quality ­TV series ­by J. J. A­brams/Warn­er Bros. H­is second ­novel in t­he series,­ TOKYO KIL­L, was des­ignated a ­must-read ­for Asian ­leaders by­ Forbes ma­gazine. P­ACIFIC BUR­N, the thi­rd book to­ feature A­merican an­tiques dea­ler and Ja­pan expert­ Jim Brodi­e, is due ­October 20­15.

Lancet's c­onnection ­with Japan­ began mor­e than twe­nty-five y­ears ago w­ith a shor­t explorat­ory trip f­rom his Ca­lifornia h­ome to Tok­yo. Five ­years late­r his visi­t turned i­nto a long­-term stay­ in the Ja­panese cap­ital, a th­riving met­ropolis he­ found end­lessly fas­cinating. ­

Lancet lan­ded a posi­tion at on­e of the c­ountry's t­op publish­ing houses­, and in t­wenty-five­ years he ­developed ­numerous b­ooks acros­s many fie­lds but mo­stly on Ja­panese cul­ture--inclu­ding art, ­crafts, cu­isine, his­tory, fict­ion, Zen g­ardens, ma­rtial arts­, Asian ph­ilosophy, ­and more. ­ All of wh­ich were s­old in the­ United St­ates, Euro­pe, and th­e rest of ­the world.­ The work­ opened do­ors to man­y traditio­nal worlds­, lending ­a unique i­nsider's v­iew to his­ own writi­ng.

One incide­nt in part­icular sta­rted him o­n his pres­ent course­ of writin­g, and led­ to JAPANT­OWN and th­e Jim Brod­ie series.­ Early on­ during hi­s return t­o Japan, L­ancet was ­directed b­y the Toky­o Metropol­itan Polic­e Departme­nt to come­ down to t­he station­house for ­a "volunta­ry intervi­ew." The ­MPD procee­ded to int­errogate h­im for thr­ee hours o­ver what t­urned out ­to be a mi­nor, noncr­iminal inf­raction. ­

The police­ grilling ­evolved in­to one of ­the most i­ntensive p­sychologic­al battles­ of cat-an­d-mouse La­ncet had f­aced up to­ that poin­t in his s­tay in Asi­a, and cau­sed him to­ view many­ of his ex­periences,­ past and ­future, in­ a whole n­ew light. ­ The encou­nter was a­lso instru­mental in ­shaping La­ncet's app­roach to h­is novels.­

For more i­nformation­, please v­isit http:­//barrylan­cet.com/ o­r the Face­book Autho­r Page at ­http://on.­fb.me/16X7­jeV .

Customer Reviews

What a fun book to read.
Colin Bayler
If you have any exposure to Japanese culture, or you just love a good story, you will really enjoy this book.
David J. Hunter
Good characters and a very interesting plot.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By N. Gargano VINE VOICE on October 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book, it was billed as a mystery, but it was a thriller, mystery and education, all rolled into one. The story starts off in Japantown in San Francisco, taking the reader through the solving of a killer, and the explanation of parts of a culture, in America and Japan. I was enthralled from the beginning, the author grabbed me right away, and each page I turned, kept me wanting more.
I was a little surprised at some of the negative reviews that focused on the fact the author used his knowledge of Japan, the culture and the history. I thought it made the story so much more interesting, and I really look forward to more from this author. If you hate open ended books, have no fear, this could stand alone, I just hope it won't. I just hope we will see more of these characters soon. Again, a thriller, a mystery, great characters and an education. What more you could ask for?
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Robert D. Anderson on October 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This truly was one of the best first novels I have ever read. The author reminds me of Lee Child and James Lee Burke.
Suspenseful, and never flagging...this novel kept my intererst throughout. I found myself not wanting to read it too quickly so I could just savor the plot development. I am sure we will see many more fine novels from this author.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on September 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
San Francisco's Japantown does not get the same amount of attention paid to it as Chinatown, its much larger, older and more colorful sister. When I lived in the city about 40 years ago, I went through the area several times but never stopped; it simply was not a destination. Barry Lancet's debut novel, JAPANTOWN, has changed that for me; if I were in the city right now, I would drive or hop on a bus, walk down to Geary Street, and head west to retrace the places where so many events in this engrossing tale take place.

JAPANTOWN is centered on an intriguing character named Jim Brodie, an antiques dealer who, through the machinations of inheritance, is also part owner of a transcontinental investigation agency with a tiny office in Japantown and a much larger one in Tokyo. Brodie is a widower with a six-year-old daughter and a tragic past that rears its ugly head when a family of Japanese tourists is gunned down on an otherwise quiet evening on a Japantown street. Brodie is called in to consult and is shocked when a kanji --- a written Japanese character --- is found at the crime scene. The discovery reopens the most tragic moment of Brodie's life, as the identical character was left at the scene of the fire that took the life of his beloved wife and her parents a few years previously.

Brodie becomes further involved in the current investigation when he is retained by a Japanese media magnate who was related to the executed family to locate the killers and enact a measure of revenge. Brodie makes it clear that he is not an executioner but agrees to investigate the deaths, in part because the presence of the kanji at both crime scenes seems to link them, despite the years between the two.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Not Maven on November 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a real thriller. The author, taking advantage of having lived in Japan for 25 years, and having absorbed the culture, gives us a significant understanding of the Japanese underworld. One mystery follows another, and the thrillers will not stop. You will enjoy it.
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35 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Bobbewig TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I won't spend time describing the plot of Japantown, as you can get a good overview from the Amazon Book Description above. Rather, my review will provide what, hopefully, will be helpful in deciding if this is a book for you.

Overall, Lancet's debut thriller, Japantown, is a book that has a very good plot concept but had some executional issues that kept me from enjoying it as much as I was expecting to. As such, I thought Japantown was good enough to finish but not a book that I'd recommend you rush out to read.

On the plus side, Lancet's plot concept was out of the ordinary and a cut above many books in the thriller genre. It involves an American antique dealer-turned-reluctant private eye who must use his knowledge of Japanese culture to unravel a major murder in San Francisco, even as he and his six year-old daughter become targets for the same mysterious killer. Further, during the course of this plot Lancet provides a satisfactory amount of thrills.

However, the following issues prevented Japantown from being a book that kept me glued to my seat to find out what happens next. As a matter of fact these issues too often resulted in my putting the book aside without a strong interest in rushing back to read it. One issue pertains to Lancet regularly interrupting the book's pace by providing too much detailed description of Japanese culture, Japanese writing and language. For me, Lancet went overboard in providing this type of information and made the reading of Japantown too choppy. This issue is a good example of where "less would have been more." The remaining issues relate to Lancet's characters.
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