Review: <i>Killing Pace</i> by Douglas Schofield Review: Killing Pace by Douglas Schofield Kristin Centorcelli Read Kristin Centorcelli's review! <i>Secrecy World</i>: Excerpt Secrecy World: Excerpt Jake Bernstein An inside look at the world revealed by the Panama Papers. <i>Hunter Killer</i>: Excerpt Hunter Killer: Excerpt David Poyer World War with China explodes in this new military thriller. Review: <i>The Best American Mystery Stories 2017</i> Review: The Best American Mystery Stories 2017 David Cranmer Read David Cranmer's review!
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Showing posts by: Naomi Hirahara click to see Naomi Hirahara's profile
May 2 2016 9:00am

Sayonara Slam: New Excerpt

Naomi Hirahara

Sayonara Slam by Naomi Hirahara is the 6th Mas Arai Mystery featuring the most unlikely of sleuths (Available Now!)

At Dodger Stadium, it’s Japan vs. Korea in the World Baseball Classic, but before the first pitch is thrown, Mas Arai finds himself in the middle of a murder.

Who is that unusual woman throwing knuckleball pitches to warm up the Japanese team? Who sent thugs to threaten Mas and accuse him of treason? And what were in the deleted files on the murdered sportswriter’s computer—and did they hold secrets that led to his death?

The more mysteries Mas uncovers, the deeper he gets drawn into a situation that soon grows dangerous—including the danger of losing the affection of the woman he might someday admit he loves.

[Read an excerpt from Sayonara Slam here...]

Apr 1 2013 7:00pm

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Reporting from 2013’s Left Coast Crime in Colorado Springs

Snow first fell on Friday night, making the resort a winter wonderland in March./ photo by Naomi Hirahara(Thanks to everyone for sharing photos, especially Clark Lohr!)



When Left Coast Crime attendees first arrived at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado, they were greeted with blue skies and warm weather.

Craig Johnson's interview had to be postponed until after the banquet,/ photo by Clark LohrBy the time the weekend was over, snow blanketed the resort and the temperature dipped past freezing, sending writers and readers into tight circles throughout the hotel and almost thwarting the appearance of actor Lou Diamond Phillips, who was scheduled to interview Guest of Honor Craig Johnson.








[Downshift and grab your chains for the rest. . .]

Mar 1 2013 12:00pm

Strawberry Yellow: New Excerpt

Naomi Hirahara

Strawberry Yellow by Naomi HiraharaStrawberry Yellow by Naomi Hirahara is the fifth book in the Mas Arai traditional mystery series (available March 5, 2013).

Japanese-American Hiroshima survivor, Los Angeles gardener, widower, gambler, grandfather, and solver of crimes, Mas Arai is back in his fifth book. In Strawberry Yellow, he returns to the strawberry farms of his youth and encounters family intrigue, danger, and murder. He returns for the funeral of a cousin and quickly becomes entangled in the murder of a young woman. Was his cousin murdered, too? Mas has to figure out what happened, keep himself safe, and uncover the mystery of the Strawberry Yellow blight and a new strawberry varietal so important that it could be inspiring a murder.

Chapter 1

Shug Arai didn’t have any shoulders, or at least it looked like he didn’t have any. So when Mas Arai peered into the satin-lined casket to gaze at the body of his second cousin, one of the few relatives that he had in the United States, he was startled to see that someone—most likely the country mortician—had completely stuffed the top of Shug’s suit jacket à la Jack LaLanne. “Mah—okashii,” Mas’s late wife, Chizuko, would have exclaimed under her breath if she were there at the viewing at the Watsonville mortuary. Funny looking. She would have been right. Even as a young man, Shug had been stooped over, bicep-free. But whatever was missing from his frame was in his brain. Shug was about the smartest man that Mas had known in both Hiroshima and California.

“I wanted the casket lined with strawberries, but the family wouldn’t hear of it.” A rough-hewn voice boomed behind Mas. “In fact, I thought he should be buried in his strawberry plot.”

The familiar voice belonged to a familiar face. Rectangular like a television set, piercing eyes and thick lips. Deep lines were on the forehead and the hair had thinned out and become the texture and color of fishing line. But Mas still could make the ID. “Oily?” he asked.

“Fifty years later, and I still can pick you out from across the room. Glad you were able to make it.” Oily grabbed Mas’s head and hugged it to his chest like a pigskin football. Mas normally wouldn’t have tolerated such behavior, but he was back in his birthplace and the town where he spent his early adult years. He’d allow Oily one hug for old time’s sake. But only one.

[Read the full excerpt of Strawberry Yellow by Naomi Hirahara]

Apr 5 2012 12:00pm

Go West! Some Thoughts on the Left Coast Crime Conference

A doll’s house done up as a crime scene, complete with miniature crime scene tape.I’m not a mystery convention junkie like some. Much of my decision to attend these annual events depends on book publication dates, vicinity, and how much cash is in my wallet. Since I live in Southern California, Left Coast Crime, the “western” convention, usually is the best fit for me (less time spent in airports, for sure!).

It’s been a couple days since I’ve returned from Left Coast Crime Sacramento 2012, and the suitcase is still not completely unpacked. I’m in recovery mode and I didn’t even experience a time change. With 600 attendees, many of them new to the convention scene, LCC 2012 was electric. (See the complete list of the Left Coast Crime Award winners.) A few highlights:

[Calgon, take us away!]

May 4 2011 9:00am

Higashino’s Suspect X: Love and Obligation

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo HigashinoRooted in the tangled tale of Keigo Higashino’s The Devotion of Suspect X is the beating heart of obligation.  This Japanese cultural value doesn’t quite have a western equivalent—duty to country, of course—but nothing that matches the manic obsession to repay someone, even a stranger, for a kindness or a gift.  If the favor is returned, the debtor is finally free.  But if not, the debtor remains forever tied to one who rendered assistance.

Readers need to understand the power of obligation in Japanese society to fully understand the motivations of the first protagonist, Tetsuya Ishigami, a high-school math teacher.  I say first, because the third-person narrative goes into the heads of multiple characters, including Yasuko Hanaoka, the former nightclub hostess who now works at a lunch-box shop; Detective Kuragami with the Tokyo Police Department; and most notably, Mamoru Yuzawa, a physics professor who assists the police.  These characters revolve around the strangulation of Shinji Togashi, Yasuko’s ex-husband.

[There will be an exam. . .]