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Pacific Burn (Jim Brodie Series #3)

Pacific Burn (Jim Brodie Series #3)

5.0 1
by Barry Lancet

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“Pacific Burn is a page-turning, globe-spanning tale of murder, suspense, and intrigue that grabs and holds your attention from beginning to end. Barry Lancet is truly a gifted author, and his character of Jim Brodie is unlike any private investigator you’ve ever encountered in literature.” —Nelson DeMille, New York Times


“Pacific Burn is a page-turning, globe-spanning tale of murder, suspense, and intrigue that grabs and holds your attention from beginning to end. Barry Lancet is truly a gifted author, and his character of Jim Brodie is unlike any private investigator you’ve ever encountered in literature.” —Nelson DeMille, New York Times bestselling author of Radiant Angel

In the third book in “what will likely be a long and successful series” (San Francisco Magazine), Japanese antiques dealer and PI Jim Brodie goes up against the CIA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security—and a killer operating on both sides of the Pacific.

In recognition for his role in solving the Japantown murders in San Francisco, antiques dealer and sometime-PI Jim Brodie has just been brought on as the liaison for the mayor’s new Pacific Rim Friendship Program. Brodie in turn recruits his friend, the renowned Japanese artist Ken Nobuki, and after a promising meeting with city officials and a picture-perfect photo op, Brodie and Nobuki leave City Hall for a waiting limo.

But as soon as they exit the building, a sniper attacks them from the roof of the Asian Art Museum. Quick thinking allows Brodie to escape, but Nobuki ends up hospitalized and in a coma. Brodie soon realizes that, with the suspicious and untimely death of Nobuki’s oldest son a week earlier in Napa Valley, someone may be targeting his friend’s family—and killing them off one by one.

Suspects are nearly too numerous to name—and could be in the United States or anywhere along the Pacific Rim. The quest for answers takes Brodie from his beloved San Francisco to Washington, DC, in a confrontation with the DHS, the CIA, and the FBI; then on to Tokyo, Kyoto, and beyond, in search of what his Japanese sources tell him is a legendary killer in both senses of the word—said to be more rumor than real, but deadlier than anything else they’ve ever encountered if the whispers are true.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Lancet’s exciting third Jim Brodie thriller (after 2014’s Tokyo Kill), the San Francisco antiques dealer, who inherited his late father’s Tokyo-based detective agency, looks into the suspicious death of sculptor Toru Nobuki, who took a fatal fall onto some statues while visiting an art complex in California’s Napa Valley. One week later, Toru’s father and Brodie’s friend, world-class Japanese artist Ken Nobuki, is wounded by a sniper on the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall, and Brodie vows to protect Ken’s remaining children, who, as he soon learns, are inexplicably being targeted by a legendary Japanese assassin. Brodie faces a “nightmarish mix of motives and suspects,” his plight complicated by his discovery that the killer has been contracted to murder him as well. While the overall character development leaves something to be desired, the sheer complexity of the plot and audacity of the story line more than compensate. Agent: Robert Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
“Jim Brodie is a true 21st century hero…on page after page, Barry Lancet delivers.”
—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Patriot Threat

“I loved Japantown and Tokyo Kill, but Pacific Burn is Lancet’s best book yet. Japan expert, art dealer, and sometimes PI, Jim Brodie makes for a character as layered and nuanced as the Japanese culture. Lancet knows art, knows Japan, and knows how to write a mystery that grabs hold and doesn’t let go.”
—Marc Cameron, author of the USA Today bestselling Jericho Quinn thrillers

“As ever, Lancet stages some good fight scenes—no one gets beaten up as well as Brodie—and keeps the action going… An action-filled effort.”

"All of these stories have been outstanding, and in this new title, Jim is up against a global conspiracy that is the biggest he has ever seen, while dealing with a killer that even the underworld avoids. Barry Lancet is an incredible suspense author who has “knocked it out of the park” yet again.”
—Suspense Magazine

“In Lancet’s exciting third Jim Brodie thriller… Brodie faces a ‘nightmarish mix of motives and suspects’…[with a] complexity of plot and audacity of story line.”
—Publishers’ Weekly

"Japantown is an expertly written story with vivid, complex characters. The mystery holds surprises until the very end."

—Larry Bond

"This is a terrific debut from a talented and very promising writer. Nimbly written and atmospheric. Lancet ... depicts a rich mixture of art and violence, the past and the present, east and west."

T. Jefferson Parker

“Certainly Lancet’s best effort to date, Pacific Burn demonstrates that like its bilingual protagonist, the author’s been adding more tricks of the trade to his repertoire.”
– Japan Times

"The third book in the series, Pacific Burn, offers a potent mix of action, atmosphere, and fascinating cultural details."
– The Los Angeles Review of Books

"With the dazzling array of colorful settings and historical concoctions, Pacific Burn is a sizzling hot tale in the best tradition of Steve Berry and Daniel Silva. Everything a global thriller is supposed to be and featuring a beautifully etched rendition of Japanese culture and lore."
Providence Journal

"There is really no one quite like the enigmatic Jim Brodie... Lancet created a character much like Lee Child's Reacher and Michael Connelly's Bosch. It's the perfect triad."
—Fairfield Daily Republic

"Lancet does a fine job of taking us into Japanese (and Japanese American) culture without resorting to stereotype. The plotting is tight, the characters are richly detailed, and Brodie continues to prove himself a solid series lead."

“Ripped from the headlines, Brodie’s latest outing is already receiving strong buzz and is arguably the best in the series."
—Criminal Element

Kirkus Reviews
In the third big case taking him from his home in San Francisco to his native Japan, antiques dealer-cum-detective Jim Brodie tracks down the killers who have been knocking off the members of a friend's family. Brodie, who inherited the Tokyo-based investigative agency of his American father, badly wants to stay at home looking after his adorable 6-year-old daughter and selling rare ceramic pieces. But after the son of prominent artist Ken Nobuki is murdered, Nobuki himself is shot by a sniper, and other family members are targeted, the bilingual detective travels to Washington, D.C., to protect Nobuki's daughter, Naomi. A well-known reporter, she has made significant enemies with her anti-nuclear power crusades—including, apparently, higher-ups in various U.S. agencies. After being attacked by a guy with knives in Nobuki's hospital room back in San Francisco, Brodie flies off to Tokyo, where he is reunited with Rie, a Tokyo cop with whom he has a budding romance (his wife was murdered), and Noda, the taciturn lead detective at Brodie Security. Brodie's homecoming is spoiled by a scary yakuza member called TNT who forecasts his death and a legendary assassin called Steam Walker who is said never to fail on the job. As ever, Lancet stages some good fight scenes—no one gets beaten up as well as Brodie—and keeps the action going. But while the book is a decent addition to the series, a certain predictability is taking hold of the plotting. Could be that Lancet needs to settle on one locale or find a new one. The third Jim Brodie thriller is a solid, action-filled effort but lacks the edgy excitement of the first and best installment, Japantown (2013).

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Jim Brodie Series , #3
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Pacific Burn

  • SAN FRANCISCO, 7:05 A.M.

    THE phone call came far too early to herald anything good.

    “Feel like taking a ride?” Detective Frank Renna asked when I picked up.

    “Got to get Jenny ready for school soon and I have a high-end client coming into the shop first thing today. She’s eager to drop big money on an Oribe tea bowl.”

    Oribe is a sometimes-brilliant Japanese ceramic–style named after Furuta Oribe, a sixteenth-century tea master and samurai. I sold the distinctive green-and-white pieces and other Japanese antiques out of my shop on Lombard, west of Van Ness.

    “Nice to see you making headway on the diplomatic front,” Renna said, “but move it to the back burner and pack your daughter off. This is important. We’re heading out to Napa.”

    “Are we now?”

    “Yeah. There’s a Japanese kid we need to see. He doesn’t speak English.”

    “So put a phone to his ear and I’ll talk to him. No reason we need to drag ourselves out to wine country.”

    “Kid’s gone into shock and he’s babbling. He’s driving the local badges up a wall.”

    Renna was a lieutenant with the San Francisco Police Department, and a friend. He’d been instrumental in getting me a consulting job with the SFPD as their local Japan expert, which last came into play with an incident in Japantown. But I wasn’t on call and received no retainer. Our arrangement was on a case-by-case basis, clearly a detail that seemed to have slipped Renna’s mind.

    “Isn’t there a Japanese speaker closer to Napa?” I asked.

    “None in their department and they don’t have anyone on file. That’s why they need you.”

    “How do they know the kid’s Japanese?”

    “Because that’s what his father was.”


    “Yeah. There’s a body, too.”

    Ten minutes after Renna’s call, I was waiting outside in the morning fog, ungloved hands snug in the pockets of a down jacket.

    I watched brief shafts of faint red light penetrate the fog. Heard the sound of a car engine approaching. Saw, finally, a boxy vehicle emerge out of the cottony whiteness and ease to the curb. Renna had arrived in a dusty unmarked SFPD car that looked exactly like a dusty unmarked SFPD car.

    The passenger-side window buzzed down.

    “You’re doing a good imitation of something the cat wouldn’t drag in,” my friend said.

    “I was up until seven talking to Tokyo,” I said. “Finalizing details for the shows. Fell into bed five minutes before you woke me.”

    The mayor of San Francisco had launched a Pacific Rim Friendship Program to improve the city’s relations with its Asian neighbors, and Japan was up first. I’d rebuffed City Hall’s first two advances to be their liaison, accepting with reluctance only after the big man himself called to press me into service.

    “Coffee up,” Renna said, passing over a cup of Peet’s dark roast as I collapsed into the front seat. “It’s all downhill from here.”

    He urged the vehicle back onto the road. “You get Jenny off to school?”

    “Neighbor upstairs will drive her.”

    “Client take it well?”

    “Wife said her husband would be furious, but we rescheduled for later today, so I squeaked by. Listen, I get the babbling kid bit, but why are we on the road? It’s Napa, not SF.”

    As was his habit, Renna rolled imaginary marbles from cheek to cheek while he considered the question. “A Napa bigwig rang our dear mayor and he rang the chief.”

    “So this is another favor for City Hall?” I said, wondering if they weren’t pushing the boundaries.

    “Not even close. The mayor hoards his political capital. He called my boss. I’m under orders. You’re doing this for me. Since Japantown, everyone thinks I’m your goddamn social secretary.”

    “I could live with that,” I said.

    “You do recall we’re cruising over marshlands soon, right?”

    Overhead, a sign announced our approach to the Golden Gate access road. Our route took us over the bridge into Marin County. We’d pass the monied Marin communities of Mill Valley and San Rafael, cross the reedy marshes edging the upper fringe of the San Francisco Bay, then head north to Napa.

    “Yeah, so?”

    “You piss me off, I’ll toss you into the muck and you won’t be living with anything. You’ll be lucky if your bones surface in a decade or two.”

    “Probably less painful.”

    The lieutenant grunted. “Hard to argue that.”

    I took a sip of the coffee. A hearty Italian roast rolled over my tongue. It cut through the early-morning chill, but made not the slightest dent in my exhaustion.

    “I’ve got to close my eyes for a minute,” I said. “Can you handle the drive alone?”

    “Sure. One thing first, though. Napa guys sent you a present.”

    “Am I going to like it?”

    “Wouldn’t think so.”

    He stretched a finger toward the face of his smartphone, anchored in a dashboard cradle, but before he could tap the screen, my mobile buzzed.

    An unknown number. “Hold on a sec,” I said, then into my phone, “Hello?”

    “Is this Jim Brodie?”


    “Sean Navin. We haven’t met yet but you’re on my blacklist.”

    That was a first.

    Before I could reply, Navin said, “You canceled on us this morning. No one does that to me.”

    “Sarah already rescheduled.”

    “I’m canceling it.”

    “I normally don’t—”

    “Save the excuses. I’m sending my wife to one of your competitors.”

    I closed my eyes. There goes the Oribe tea bowl commission I sorely needed. The loss was going to hurt.

    “Sorry to hear that,” I said. “As I explained to Sarah, it’s an emergency.”

    “Time is money, Brodie. You play fast and loose with my time, I spend my greenbacks elsewhere.”

    In his voice I heard none of the goodwill I’d earned over the last couple of years. Quality art from my shop decorated his home. Some of the rarities his wife had requested I’d tracked down in distant corners of Japan.

    “I regret it happened, Sean. If there was any way around canceling our appointment, believe me, I would have found it.”

    “You made a bad decision and it’s gonna cost you.”

    “So you’ve told me. Do what you have to do,” I said, and disconnected.

    So much for squeaking by. His wife was a valued customer, but mind games from an overbearing husband I didn’t need. Life was too short.

    Renna glanced my way. He’d pieced together enough of the conversation to know that I was going to pay for this morning’s excursion.

    “I’d pegged you for being more diplomatic,” he said.

    “Husband kept twisting the knife. Got a feeling he was enjoying it.”

    “A lot of those types around.”

    “Yeah. Too bad. His wife was a regular. You were saying?”

    “A present from the Napa boys.” Renna punched the smartphone screen. A recording began.

    “Can you tell us your name, son?” a clearly annoyed adult male voice said.

    “Mondai attara Jimu Burodi-san ni denwa shite kudasai. Mondai attara Jimu Burodi-san ni denwa shite kudasai. Mondai attara Jimu Burodi-san ni denwa—”

    “We hear you, kid,” the man said through what sounded like gritted teeth. Then: “I’m telling you, Dick. That’s all the little guy’s said since we got here.”

    Dick gave it a shot. “Hiya, son. I’m Officer Richard Kendall. Can you give us your name? Just your name?”

    “Mondai attara Jimu Burodi-san ni denwa shite kudasai. Mondai attara—”

    “See? Repeat loop,” the first man said.

    “Considering the circumstances, can’t say I blame him.”

    The dispatch ended and Renna said, “Still want to close your eyes?”

    “Got to.”

    “Sweet dreams.”

    They were anything but.

    In the recording, the babbling kid had been asking for me.

  • Meet the Author

    Barry Lancet is a Barry Award­–winning author and finalist for the Shamus Award. He has lived in Japan for more than twenty-five years. His former position as an editor at one of the nation’s largest publishers gave him access to the inner circles in traditional and business fields most outsiders are never granted, and an insider’s view that informs his writing. He is the author of the Jim Brodie series: The Spy Across the Table; Pacific Burn; Tokyo Kill; and Japantown, which received four citations for Best First Novel and has been optioned by J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot Productions, in association with Warner Brothers. Visit Lancet at BarryLancet.com or on Twitter @BarryLancet.

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    Pacific Burn (Jim Brodie Series #3) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
    tomjohnson1940 More than 1 year ago
    “Smooth Writing, Fast Paced, And Non-Stop Action.” A murder in Napa Valley brings Jim Brodie into the case. Brodie, a dealer of Japanese and oriental objects de art, is an expert on Japanese language and culture. The Napa Valley murder involved a Japanese male, and his son was a witness, and the police need Brodie’s help in translating. The murder may also tie in with the mayor’s wishes to unite his city with the Pacific Rim Friendship program. In fact, the father of the Napa Valley dead man is shot on the City Hall steps, and might die from the wound. Brodie is pulled even deeper into the case when the Nobuki daughter is also targeted, and government agents of the CIA, FBI, and DHS try to derail him and arrest the Japanese girl. The case has deeper significance as an assassin called the Steam Walker is hired to kill the Nobuki family and Jim Brodie. So far, the assassin hasn’t failed in a mission, and his martial arts skills are far beyond that of Jim Brodie. This was another fast paced action thriller that takes place in America and Japan. The writing is smooth, and the characters come alive. The plot has many twists, until the mastermind behind the assassin is finally uncovered, and the assassin unmasked. This is topnotch story telling from the first page to the last. Highly recommended for thriller and action lovers.