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Japantown: A Thriller (1) (A Jim Brodie Thriller) Paperback – July 22, 2014
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— Suspense Magazine
“[A] sophisticated international thriller . . . Having lived and worked in Japan for more than 25 years, Lancet brings an impressive breadth of knowledge to the historical aspects of the mystery and a sharp sense of immediacy to its action.”
— The New York Times Book Review
“Is the 21st century ready for multinational ninja MBAs who hack computer networks instead of flinging poisoned darts, and who surgically take out business rivals instead of whacking feudal lords? More important, does Jim Brodie have the brains and fortitude to save his young daughter and himself from these cold-blooded modern-day predators? Read Japantown and you’ll find out.”
— Mark Schreiber, Japan Times
“Lancet, an American who has lived and worked in Japan for decades . . . commands a much stronger knowledge of the culture than his predecessors and . . . provide[s] a deep and easy familiarity with the dilemmas that his protagonist faces trying to bridge the gap between two vastly different cultures. . . . Strong writing and deep passion for the material carry the story and characters far enough to hold the interest of any reader who enjoys this sort of story.”
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“One of the hottest debut authors of 2013 . . . [a] taut international thriller that races from San Francisco to Lancet’s adopted hometown of Tokyo. . . . J.J. Abrams of ‘Lost’ fame recently bought the TV rights to the book.”
— Suspense Magazine
“Lancet successfully places a PI in an international thriller plot in his highly entertaining debut . . . Readers will want to see more of the talented Jim Brodie, with his expertise in Japanese culture, history, and martial arts.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"The first book in what will likely be a long and successful series."
— San Francisco Magazine
“The debut novel by a 25-year resident of Japan is a zippy page-turner set in San Francisco's Japantown, Tokyo and a remote Japanese village.”
“Engrossing . . . Japantown is full of action and surprises . . . an extremely impressive debut that is almost sure to be short-listed for any number of awards next year. Pick it up now to see what all the excitement will be about.”
“A fine thriller filled with satisfying mystery, solid characterization and high drama.”
— California Bookwatch
About the Author
- Item Weight : 13.9 ounces
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781451691702
- ISBN-13 : 978-1451691702
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.38 inches
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (July 22, 2014)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 145169170X
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,689,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Jim Brodie was born in Japan to American parents. He went to Japanese schools and integrated the Japanese society as well as any Gaijin (foreigner) is allowed and has a great expertise in Japanese culture, history, and martial arts. He shares his time as a dealer in Japanese art and antiques in San Francisco with running his late father's Tokyo-based private investigation firm.
When five members of a rich and powerful Japanese family are gunned down assassination-style at a pedestrian mall in San Francisco's Japantown, Lieutenant Frank Renna from the SFPD asks for Brodie's help in deciphering a single Japanese Kanji character (a complex logographic which is part of the most complex Japanese writing system) left on a scrap of paper at the scene. What is chilling to Jim is that he had seen the same obscure and unidentifiable Kanji at the scene of a fire which destroyed the life of his wife Meiko.
Having lived 2 years as a true Gaijin in Tokyo, working and living with the Japanese I was fascinated by Lancet's fantastic perception of Japanese life, traditions and society from growing up in Japan in a similar way to fictional Brodie. I got lost when Brodie discovered that the Kanji led him to the ruthless and powerful Soga clan, the product of an ancient conspiracy (akin to the scope of the Da Vinci Code) that had its violent tentacles entangled around the most influential parts of Japanese business and government. I got further lost when Brodie and his PI firm took on the powerful Saga almost singlehanded.
What started out looking like an outstanding début thriller ended up as an almost unbelievable David and Goliath story. Despite this, because Lancet is undoubtedly a very talented author with an amazing understanding of Japanese life, I look forward to reading his next book, Tokyo Kill: A Thriller (A Jim Brodie Novel) to see if he fulfills the promise shown in the first part of this book.
With its plots and subplots this story is quite complex, but is told with wonderful imagination and attention to detail, including a harrowing scene in which mosquitos play a tangential but memorable role, such is the quality of Lancet’s writing. Onion layers are peeled back gradually and systematically until all is finally revealed in a series of non-stop action scenes in the last few chapters. A great story for Hollywood, as Lancet must have intended.
Japanese customs, art, and history abound, never failing to enrich the story. And why not? Lancet lived in Japan for over twenty years, working for a publisher “developing books on dozens of Japanese subjects from art to Zen,” he tells us in a brief bio. All in all a worthwhile read.
This is a remarkable thriller, full of excitement and drama.
Jim Brodie is an antiques dealer who has inherited an upscale detective agency from his now deceased father.
When called to the scene of the slaying of an entire family, he is horrified along with the detectives on the case. When a Kanji is found at the scene, Brodie’s interest is piqued.
Traveling between San Francisco and Japan, Brodie seeks the answers. Brodie’s growing up in Japan only adds to the interest of the story.
This book is fast paced and full of historical tidbits that add to the atmosphere.
I loved it! Barry Lancet has become one of my favorite authors.
I appreciate that Netgalley and Simon & Schuster have granted me the opportunity to read this remarkable book.
The reason I couldn't rate the novel higher is the third act of the book completely falls apart. Like many newer authors Lancet falls into the trap of rushing all his plot points to a conclusion and many of them are completely unnecessary or unbelievable. Even down to the manufactured fist fight between the head bad guy at the end. Even the twist of who is working for the bad guys falls completely on its face because it comes out of left field and resolves a plot line that could have been more interesting in a second book.
All in all its a mixed bag.
Top reviews from other countries
This is an absolute fire-cracker, the plot, the culture, the history, and the characters are all superbly written. Now I'll have to find another book for the flight!
in all, very highly recommended.
This case is turned out to be connected with his wife's murder.
To be able to resolve the case with helps from his friends, Jim Brodie has to face an ancient criminal organization that are used to kill people for hire with a lot of powerful connections in Japan.
The story is fast-paced, exciting, and keeps the reader guessing. I loved the travel to Japan and back, and the historical information.
However, I found it difficult to maintain suspended belief. To start with, there has to be at least one actual Japanese person in San Francisco who is better placed than Brodie in terms of cultural knowledge and connections, and who wouldn't have the conflict of interest of investigating the possible murderers of his/her own spouse. In addition, the secret dynasty of ninjas is not only a cliché, it's a stereotype (unless all Japanese people really are martial arts experts, in which case I retract that statement). And, while I'm not a law enforcement officer, it seems to me that if your child is being protected in a safe house, you shouldn't be making plans to visit her, and you definitely shouldn't be sending your good friends to see her. Might as well hang up a neon sign announcing "SHE'S RIGHT HERE." And the six-year-old is far too mature to be a six-year-old.
It had its moments, but overall ... meh.