Raked Gravel Press (2018)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (08/18)
“The Moving Blade” is an intriguing murder mystery and the second book in the Detective Hiroshi series by Michael Pronko.
Jamie Mattson planned a reunion with her father Bernard Mattson in Japan, where he was an American diplomat. Plans go awry after he is murdered, and she finds herself taking care of his funeral arrangements and handling his estate instead of the reunion. Her father’s home was also broken into and another murder has occurred which appears to be related. Jamie soon discovers that she is also a target. Her predators are obviously seeking her father’s research, a missing manuscript and a key note speech that is expected to have a huge impact on Japanese decisions regarding American military bases on their land.
Detective Hiroshi Shimizu takes on this case and soon discovers how deeply the murders are entrenched in politics. He has to carefully route his search for information around high level people in Japan and the people at the US military base who aren’t being too helpful. Trying to help Jamie, a very independent woman, stay alive adds to his challenges.
I really enjoyed reading “The Moving Blade.” Set in Japan, the added elements of Japanese culture, traditions and politics really make this story unique. Descriptive details of the martial arts in Japan included both the techniques used and descriptions of the weaponry.
The characters are very realistic and have depth. Michael Pronko does an excellent job of taking us inside the protagonists’ minds so that we can understand them better, even if we don’t always agree with their choices. Pronko brought this story to life so much that I found myself hoping that none of the negative aspects could possibly be true.
Having passed through Japan on my way to Okinawa, I had a brief chance to see this country. Reading “The Moving Blade” brought Japan back to life for me and also made me think about things that I hadn’t considered before, such as how our American military presence is viewed over there. The novel also gave me a reminder of how much of an impact their nuclear disaster has greatly affected lives on the Pacific Rim.
I highly recommend “The Moving Blade” by Michael Pronko for people who enjoy intrigue and suspense.