The Kizuna Coast
A Rei Shimura Mystery #11
The Ikat Press, December 2014
Also available in hardcover and trade paperback
From the author—
When an earthquake triggers a tsunami that floods Japan’s northeast coast, amateur sleuth Rei Shimura is pushed into her most rugged adventure yet.
It starts with an SOS from Rei’s beloved elderly friend, the antiques dealer Mr. Ishida, who’s trapped among thousands on the ravaged Tohoku coast. Rei rushes from Hawaii to blacked-out Tokyo, where she discovers Ishida Antiques may have been burglarized and its cuddly watchdog, Hachiko, needs a caregiver.
Rei and Hachiko board a bus full of disaster volunteers headed to the damaged town of Sugihama. Once there, they learn about the disappearance during the tsunami of Mr. Ishida’s antiques apprentice, Mayumi, a troubled young woman from a famous lacquer-making family.
Making use of her volunteer friends, as well as her knowledge of Japanese manners and antiques, Rei investigates Mayumi’s suspicious disappearance. Complicating the situation is a police force overwhelmed by counting the dead, and a stalker who’s set his or her own sights on Rei.
On March 11, 2011, an earthquake and resulting tsunami struck Japan and the world watched in horror as the ruinous effects unfolded, including the frightening damage to a nuclear plant and the deaths of more than 15,000 people. Four years later, more than 300,000 survivors still live in temporary housing and many who were exposed to radiation from the nuclear plant are coping with health problems.
Rei Shimura’s first thoughts are to find Yasushi Ishida, her mentor who is not answering his phone, but she soon discovers that while he is alive, Mayumi, a young apprentice, is missing. Rei, as any of her fans would expect, heads to Japan right away, directly into the devastation. She has solved mysteries before but this one will test her limits as she encounters destruction and untold suffering everywhere she goes.
Rei has always been one of my favorite characters in the mystery world, especially among those who take me to exotic places, and I have missed her and her inability to succumb to defeatism in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Her quirkiness and humor are infectious and I’m thrilled to have her back in my life.
Note: I sound like a crazy fan, don’t I? One might even say I’m a bit of a stalker but I really do know that Rei is a fictional sleuth 😉
Sujata Massey writes a cracking good mystery (with a fabulously helpful cast of characters!) but it’s easy to see that the earthquake and tsunami struck a chord in her. Much of The Kizuna Coast revolves around the aftermath and Ms. Massey‘s emotions clearly shine through Rei’s own. I’ve always enjoyed this series but, somehow, The Kizuna Coast has a depth to it I haven’t seen before and I appreciated the way the author brought heart to a terrible event. I can’t recommend this book highly enough whether others have read the series from the beginning or not.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2015.