Tokyo Zangyo by Michael Pronko

Pronko plays to his strengths here: a good understanding of the shadows cast in the land of the rising sun and a thorough grasp of how a fast-paced mystery should progress. So, in earlier detective Hiroshi outings we witnessed investigations into the subservient roles of women in Japan; the sovereignty of US bases over their Japanese “hosts”; human trafficking in the porn industry; and in Tokyo Zangyo, Pronko tackles death by overwork in the sadistic world of the Japanese mega-corporation, not to mention the overtime pressures of running a police investigation on our hero’s life. The search for justice takes us on a whirlwind tour of S&M clubs, corporate press conferences, Tokyo jazz clubs and late-night ramen joints that will ring true to anyone who has worked in Japan and lived to tell the tale. Great stuff.

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No. 16 of 100 books I intend to read and review in 2021.

Patrick Sherriff is an Englishman who survived 13 years working for newspapers in the US, UK and Japan. Between teaching English lessons at his conversation school in Abiko, Japan, he writes and illustrates textbooks for non-native speakers of English, releases Hana Walker mystery novels, short stories, essays and a monthly newsletter  highlighting good fiction published in English about Japan. Saku’s Random Book Club is his latest project to spend more time with books.