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March 9 2017

The Birth of Blue Light Yokohama: A Family Murder Becomes Fiction (Part 3)

Read Part 3 of Nicolás Obregón's 3-part series, “The Birth of Blue Light Yokohama,” and make sure to sign in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of his exciting...
March 7 2017

Review: Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolás Obregón

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolás Obregón is a compelling, brilliantly moody, and layered novel that's sure to be one of the most talked about debuts in 2017 (available March...
March 3 2017

“Black Sun” Cocktail

A brutal murder. A serial killer with no seeming motive. And a symbol that represents the darkness and evil that's to come.    A perfect formula for a murder mystery, but also...
March 2 2017

The Birth of Blue Light Yokohama: The Miyazawa Family Murders (Part 2)

Read Part 1 of this thrilling 3-part series first over at Thought Matters! The Miyazawa family’s house was a fair size, especially by Japanese standards. It stood in a municipal park...
September 13 2016

11 of the Best Fictional Island Cops

Most of us love the idea of islands—their beauty, their singularity, their separation from the wider world. And, of course, we all believe that life may somehow be easier on islands, more...
May 26 2016

Review: The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda

The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda follows the young Lieutenant Reiko Himekawa of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police’s Homicide Division as she investigates a string of strange murders that might include...
May 5 2016

Pinky Violence

Two disclaimers to open this post on the Pinky Violence film genre: I haven’t seen every movie that could be classified within the category. Depending on which list you’re looking...
March 11 2016

Meiko Kaji: An Appreciation of a Female Badass

I have to preface the following appreciation of Meiko Kaji’s acting career with two disclaimers: This is in no way meant to be a comprehensive overview of the Japanese actress’s...
March 10 2016

Jim Brodie Returns in Pacific Burn: A Q&A with Barry Lancet

Read this exclusive Q&A with author Barry Lancet, and then make sure you're signed in and comment for a chance to win a copy of all three Jim Brodie thrillers! Barry Lancet broke...
December 8 2015

The ZINNG: How Profound

Pennycook’s Poppycock – A new scientific study has been released in Judgment and Decision Making that is garnering headlines (most of them overblown, sensationalist, and reactionary)...
August 28 2015

TBR Confessions: Jungle Warfare, Nazi Rebellion, and Killer Clowns

My TBR Confessions include a harrowing retelling of World War II’s Pacific Theater, a grass-roots rebellion from a German couple inside Nazi territory, and a famous killer clown to whom I’ve...
July 3 2015

Hannibal 3.05: “Contorno” Means Accompaniment

Casually, contorno is a “side dish,” but that phrase isn't reverent enough for Hannibal 3.05's ode to accompanying women. I've pointed out other instances in which the women...
April 18 2015

From Page to Screen with Ed McBain’s King’s Ransom and Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low

I’ve been a fan of Akira Kurosawa’s 1963 suspense film High and Low since I saw it years ago. I just watched it again after my first read of the 87th Precinct novel it’s based...
March 26 2015

True Crime Thursday: Revisiting Richard Lloyd Parry’s People Who Eat Darkness

Lucie Blackman left home with her sights set on Tokyo and her mind set on money, but what awaited her was worse than she ever imagined. Working as a hostess in a seedy Roppongi night club, it wouldn't...
January 5 2015

Shorter Everly: Salma Hayek’s Shooting Yakuza

Salma Hayek's character's trapped in her apartment, heavily-armed, and facing waves of Yakuza attacks. What more needs to be said? You already know if Everly's your cup of sake from that...
November 4 2014

Fresh Meat: The Year I Died Seven Times by Eric Beetner

The Year I Died Seven Times by Eric Beetner is a 7-part serialized novel about Ridley Allen, who'll be punished by stubborn love, gnawing curiosity, and a perverse knack for survival after his Japanese...
October 20 2014

“If You Can Take It, You Can Make It”: Trailer for Unbroken

Unbroken is the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner for the United States who would later be taken prisoner by the Japanese army during World War II. Directed by Angelina Jolie, and...
January 18 2014

The Dark Collaborations: Japanese Noir from Seichō Matsumoto and Yoshitarō Nomura

One can’t really describe the Japanese mystery writer Seichō Matsumoto by comparing him to his English language equivalent because, in all the ways that matter, he has no equivalent. (The writer...
September 27 2013

The Buck-toothed Turtle: A Deadly Voyeur

Good news:  The science of genetics has come a long way since Gregor Mendel experimented with hybrid pea plants during the nineteenth century. Now we have the results of the ground-breaking Human...
September 14 2013

Fresh Meat: The Shogun’s Daughter by Laura Joh Rowland

The Shogun's Daughter by Laura Joh Rowland is the seventeenth novel featuring samurai sleuth Sano Ichirō of the court of the shogun in 17th Century Edo (available September 17, 2013). When...
September 6 2013

The Afterlife of a Poisonous Wife: Japan’s Famous O-Den Takahashi

Some criminals live on as legends for many years after their demise. Three of my favorite examples are Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow, and Jack the Ripper. I saw the movie Bonnie and Clyde in 1967. Played...
June 29 2013

Kunoichi: Female Ninja Spies of Medieval Japan

Most Westerners think of ninjas as black-masked men with swords who appear from the shadows and strike without warning. But not all ninja assassins were male, and not all of them walked in shadow. Female...
May 5 2013

Fresh Meat: Shattered Trident by Larry Bond

Shattered Trident by Larry Bond is a submarine-centered, military thriller set in the not-too-distant future (available May 7, 2013). China is the new Russia, a writer’s go-to country for...
January 17 2013

Five Film Oldies You Should See

As my Christmas bonus arrived and I had time on my hands, I paid a visit to my local video/book exchange store. Yes! There are still some of those around—for how long, though, I have no idea! And...
December 18 2012

Crime and Dismemberment

In 1993, Lorena Bobbitt shocked the world when she cut off her husband John’s penis and threw it out of her car window as she drove away from the scene. But she wasn’t the first woman...
September 17 2012

A Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Noir

By the 1960s, the noir wave that had started in America, and had been deconstructed in Europe, washed ashore in Japan. By that point, the Japanese film industry had been stripped down, essentially,...
September 10 2012

Salvation of a Saint: Special Audio Excerpt of Chapter 2

Every Monday in September, we will be bringing you serialized audio excerpts from Keigo Higashino’s Salvation of a Saint. You can either click to stream and listen on your computer, or download...
September 3 2012

Salvation of a Saint: Special Audio Excerpt of Chapter 1

For the next few Mondays we will be bringing you serialized audio excerpts from Keigo Higashino’s Salvation of a Saint. You can either click to stream and listen on your computer, or download...
May 12 2012

Fresh Meat: Richard Lloyd Parry’s People Who Eat Darkness

People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry is the true crime story of Lucie Blackman, who stepped out on the streets of Tokyo and disappeared in the summer of 2000 (available May 22, 2012). The...
April 24 2012

The Best Novel Nominees, or How To Handicap the 2011 Edgars

For the first time in recent memory (read: more than a decade), none of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award nominees for Best Novel have ever been nominated before. On April 26th, one of...