From Publishers Weekly
In chapter one of Hirahara's seamless and shyly powerful first novel, a Japanese PI unsettles prickly, stubborn Mas Arai, Hiroshima survivor, widower and estranged father, and the other elderly Japanese-American gardeners who hang out at Wishbone Tanaka's Lawnmower Shack in the seedy L.A. suburb of Altadena. The PI's disturbing questions concern a nurseryman called Joji Haneda, reported dead in the atomic blast that leveled Hiroshima in August 1945, but who was actually still alive in California in June 1999. A month later, Haneda is brutally murdered. Mas must revisit his past and open old, still festering wounds in order to solve the crime, while the specter of bachi
, akin to instant bad karma, hovers over him like the black clouds of his recurring nightmares. In his cherished 1956 Ford truck, unlikely sleuth Mas pursues a trail that leads him to an all-night noodle shop, an illegal gambling loft and a chow-mien bowling-alley/cafe. After his truck and dignity are stolen, Mas enlists the help of two lovingly rendered, all-too-human friends: Haruo Mukai, whose long white hair hides a false eye and shocking keloid scar, and Tug Yamada, a gentle, honorable giant willing to put his own life on the line for others. Peppered with pungent cultural details, crisp prose and credible, fresh descriptions of the effects of the A-bomb, this perfectly balanced gem deserves a wide readership.
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"[A] seamless and shyly powerful first novel..... Peppered with pungent cultural details, crisp prose and credible, fresh descriptions of the effects of the A-bomb, this perfectly balanced gem deserves a wide readership."—Publishers Weekly
, starred review
“Naomi Hirahara's story of forgotten men who share an unforgettable past sweeps the reader into a world most of us know little about. Luckily, our guide is Mas Arai, a complete original, and Hirahara's sure and generous voice brings him vividly to life.”—S.J. Rozan, Edgar award winning of Winter and Night
“Naomi Hirahara is a bright new voice on the mystery scene. Summer of the Big Bachi
presents an intriguing puzzle written with a true insider’s eye for Japanese American life”—Dale Furutani, Anthony award winning author of Death in Little Tokyo
“A novel about social change wrapped inside a mystery, Summer of the Big Bachi
toggles deftly between past and present and reveals the hopes and compromises that lurk on the fringes of the American Dream.”
—Denise Hamilton, Edgar award nominated author of Last LullabyFrom the Trade Paperback edition.