Thank you to Mark Hersberger for sending me a copy of his book to review.
About the Book
When a teenage runaway-turned-prostitute is found murdered in the dark alleys of Tokyo's raunchiest red-light district, no one seems to care...except The Snake, a grizzled, whiskeyswilling yakuza. It's an affront to his authority: No one gets away with murder on his turf.
Determined to render justice and restore his reputation, The Snake juggles his investigation amidst an impending gang war and an effort to get the Governor of Tokyo elected Prime Minister. The victim's former best friend holds the key to the mystery, and a romance blossoms while they chase the killer.
As the couple wades through their familiar milieu of ruthless gangsters, elite hostesses, and corrupt politicians, they reveal a cover-up that threatens the highest levels of power. Ancient yakuza codes of honor give way to betrayal as The Snake is torn between lifetime loyalties and justice.
The seamy back alleys of Tokyo come to life in this thriller folded as tightly as origami. These Tokyo lives aren't the ones you read about in travel guides-they're the ones that prey on the flaws and indiscretions of a nation.
For more information about Tokyo Lives please visit the book's website.
This was a really good book. It had a bit of everything in it. There was a hint of a love story. There was a really good murder mystery. It had emotions. And it was just exciting to read. I really liked it.
The main character The Snake was a great character. He is a gangster who is loyal to his "family", he is also ready to be done with the life he leads. That internal dilemma leads to some great twists in the story. While some of the other characters play fairly large roles in the book I connected the most with The Snake.
The story was really good. It was so suspenseful. While I thought I had the "whodunit" figured out at the beginning I kept second guessing myself, and I wasn't even close as to the why!
I've never been to Tokyo, but Hersberger does a great job of painting the pictures for me. Using my experience living in various "not so nice areas" I was able to paint a pretty good idea of how the neighborhood looked. Even the smells were ones that I could easily draw from my experiences...
The story itself was really good. The twists that the story takes really keeps you guessing through the whole book. Given the predictability of some of the recent mystery novels I've read this was quite refreshing. The twists weren't anything that seemed to "out there". Everything was plausible and fit really well into the story line. Even tying up the ending was done well. I felt like everything that needed to be "finished" was and the things that you were supposed to keep guessing about were left open. The ending also didn't feel rushed.
I really liked all the different stories that were going on. There was the murder mystery. There was the changing of the guards, so to speak, within the yakuza. There was the governor's race going on. The seedy lives of the prostitutes and call-girls. And everything just melded so well together. It took me a while to pick it up, but once I did I didn't want to put it down.