The Moving Blade

The Moving Blade

by Michael Pronko

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Overview

When the top American diplomat in Tokyo, Bernard Mattson, is killed, he leaves more than a lifetime of successful Japan-American negotiations. He leaves a missing manuscript, boxes of research, a lost keynote speech and a tangled web of relations.

When his alluring daughter, Jamie, returns from America wanting answers, finding only threats, Detective Hiroshi Shimizu is dragged from the safe confines of his office into the street-level realities of Pacific Rim politics.

With help from ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi, Hiroshi searches for the killer from Tokyo’s back alley bars to government offices, through anti-nuke protests to the gates of an American naval base. When two more bodies turn up, Hiroshi must choose between desire and duty, violence or procedure, before the killer silences his next victim—and the past.

THE MOVING BLADE is the second in the Tokyo-based Detective Hiroshi series by award-winning author Michael Pronko.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940155837671
Publisher: Michael Pronko
Publication date: 12/28/2018
Sold by: Smashwords
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 57,156
File size: 810 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Michael Pronko is an award-winning, Tokyo-based writer of murder, memoir and music. His writings on Tokyo life and his taut character-driven mysteries have won critics’ awards and five-star reviews. Kirkus Reviews called his second novel, The Moving Blade, “An elegant balance of Japanese customs with American-style hard-boiled procedural” and selected it for their Best Books of 2018. Michael also runs the website, Jazz in Japan, about the vibrant jazz scene in Tokyo and Yokohama. He has written regular columns about Japanese culture, art, jazz, society and politics for Newsweek Japan, The Japan Times, Artscape Japan, Jazznin, and ST Shukan. He has also appeared on NHK and Nippon Television. A philosophy major, Michael traveled for years, ducking in and out of graduate schools, before finishing his PhD on Charles Dickens and film, and settling in Tokyo as a professor of American Literature at Meiji Gakuin University. He teaches contemporary American novels, film adaptations, music and art.

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The Moving Blade 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
indiebrag 5 months ago
We are proud to announce that THE MOVING BLADE by Michael Pronko is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells readers that this book is well worth their time and money!
Missmolly3011 12 months ago
This second book in the Detective Hiroshi series brings us back to Tokyo for a thrill ride hunt for a killer. The introverted and mildly hermit-like detective, Hiroshi Shimizu, is dragged out from behind his desk to hunt for the killer of an American in Tokyo. Hiroshi remains impacted by his previous case, where he nearly lost his life. Bernard Mattson is the United States’ diplomat to Japan with a successful career as well as some knowledge and secrets that may have led to his death. Mattson’s beautiful daughter arrives wanting answers and finds herself immediately in danger. Hiroshi pairs up with former sumo wrestler, Sakaguchi, with some help from others along the way, to solve this mystery. As they hunt for the killer, more people are murdered, adding to the mystery as well as the urgency. We experience the story through the perspective of Hiroshi and his team as well as Mattson’s daughter, Jamie. Michael Pronko blends his own background with his interest and passion for Japanese culture through the portrayal of the cultural differences between American and Japanese. He does so in subtle ways at times and through the eyes of his characters. For example, at one point Jamie says about herself, “too open for Japan, too delicate for America.” He gives the reader a wonderful look into life in Tokyo, as well as Japanese culture and customs. Although there were times that I felt that the plot was a bit bogged down with some of the side plots, Pronko clearly pays attention to detail and knows how to effectively build momentum and pressure. His storytelling is thorough but also fast-paced. There are plenty of twists and elements of gruesome darkness in this story that readers of crime fiction adore! There are also some great conspiracies going on here which add to the fun. Add on to that the inclusion of some romantic and lusty elements and this novel is really packed to the gills with elements for readers of many types of fiction. There are definitely people getting bladed through the chest though, so this isn’t for the faint of heart. At times I felt there were some Anti-American elements, but I think this is just the reality of life outside of the United States. There are many people who feel frustration and distaste for Americans. Overall, this was a highly entertaining, dense, though fast-paced story that kept me enthralled. Pronko paints an elegant picture of Japan as shown through his characters, plot development, and descriptions. There are elements for so many different types of readers from macabre to romance. Be prepared to do some work on remembering details and keeping characters straight but also be prepared to enjoy great story-telling, characters, twists, murder, culture, romance, and mystery!
Sheila Homer 12 months ago
I am an avid fan of murder mystery books and The Moving Blade by Michael Pronko didn’t disappoint. The book started off at a fast pace and kept me intrigued as I read through each page. Without coming out right away and saying it, the reader knows that the death of Bernard Mattson is anything but accidental or suicidal. The author does a great job in conveying the mystery of this death within the first two chapters of the book. One thing that I found interesting with this book is that it is the second in a series. I haven’t read the first book yet, but I will be reading it soon. Usually when you get a series of books all of the little things left unanswered in the book are answered somewhere down the line. The Moving Blade does leave quite a few unanswered questions, so it will be nice to know if some of them can be answered in upcoming books. With the Moving Blade you can tell that part of the back story is missing. The author provides just enough details that you get the general idea of a back story and the gist of what happened, along with Hiroshi’s relationship with his fellow detectives, but there is still a big part of the story missing. My assumption is that the missing details can be found in the first book of the series. The Moving Blade follows the story of the death of Bernard Matteson. The story opens with a burglary and leads you to believe that he was killed by accident during an earlier burglary. Bernard’s daughter Jamie, who left Japan with her mother to live in America, is on a quest for answers to her father’s death. She turns to several different people, some good and some with some pretty bad intentions. After the break in during her father’s funeral, Jamie meets Detective Hiroshi, who is brought into the case against his will. Hiroshi has plans to leave the police force in Japan, but cannot tell his friends and his superiors no. During the course of the investigation Jamie is looking for the most important thing her father left behind, but something that nobody can find. Bernard Mattson was highly respected and helped form the original agreements between Japan and America in regards to the military bases located on the island. Missing are a speech and a book he has been rumored to write. It seems that everybody wants to find this speech and book, but for a variety of different reasons. To find out if Jamie along with Hiroshi and his friends are successful you will need to read The Moving Blade for yourself. Trust me you won’t be disappointed. As you dive deeper into the story you will be quickly turning the pages to find out what happens next!
RaeCapri 12 months ago
In "The Moving Blade," author Michael Pronko provides such a mysterious plot that would leave his readers on the edges of their seats, wanting to know what happens next. An action-packed scene sets the scene for the start of the book. We begin by bearing witness to a homicide over two USB thumb drives, stolen from the famous Bernard Mattson’s home, a wealthy and world diplomat seeking answers about the government to write a book. Unfortunately, due to his actions, someone took it upon themselves to put out a hit on him and his family. Detectives on the investigation believed it wasn’t a traditional suicide ritual, but more of a cold an evil homicide. As a reader, we follow along from several perspectives, in particular, Hiroshi Shimizu, the lead detective of this investigation and Jamie Mattson, daughter of the late Bernard Mattson. Mixed with politics and controversial topics, one can only imagine what’s to become of the characters in this book. It sets an eerie tone of “no one is safe” due to not knowing exactly who is behind the brutal murder of Bernard. Throughout the investigation, you’ll develop a bond with both main characters due to the well-written work of the author. Such vivid scenarios, the description of crime scenes, and the background stories of these important characters just allow you to feel empathy towards them. There were moments that left me jaw-dropped as I couldn’t believe people are just that cruel. I’ve caught myself hoping Jamie would see right through the conniving ways of Pamela Carica and Trey Gladius, who were just eager and borderline desperate to get their hands on her father’s manuscript. With the naivety of Jamie’s understanding that she’s surrounded by friends of her father, I find it sad that she hasn’t picked up on any red flags, based on their behaviors toward her about her father’s manuscript. I believe this book taught me a lot about the Japanese culture and what Bernard Mattson hoped to accomplish as a Japanese-American wanting the best for everyone. I’ve also gained the opportunity to learn new Japanese words and what they mean in American English, which by the way, I truly have a fascination for their ways of life. Overall, you’ll be hooked on finding out what really happened and uncover just what secrets or surprise that was worth Bernard losing his life over. I highly recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a great mystery homicide, while learning about the Japanese culture in the process.
Anonymous 12 months ago
The Moving Blade is a murder mystery novel written by Michael Pronko. This book is the second in the detective Hiroshi series. It takes place in Japan where it unfolds the drama surrounding the murder of an unidentified man. More excitement follows the murder, unraveling government conspiracy, corruption, and much conflict. The malfeasance runs deep, and it is up to detective Hiroshi and his colleagues to solve the case. Add in expertise, a cop who does his own thing, a beautiful woman, and a whole lot of intrigue and violence, and it is the perfect recipe for a thrilling novel. Reading this book was like having an action-packed thriller play inside my head. I absolutely loved it! This book has the basic ingredients for a murder mystery thriller, with intrigue, murder, cover-ups, beautiful women, and a lot of red tape for procedures. What this book did not have was predictability. I was always suspecting one character of one crime, but not all of them. Even then, I went back and forth and could not decide if it was truly them or not. The book included so many turns it was frustrating because I could not figure out exactly what was going to happen next, which is not something I am used to. As a result, The Moving Blade was frustrating in the best way. The beginning of the novel really drew me in and I was hooked from the first sentence. I had a hard time putting the book down, which is how you know it is a fantastic book. What I really loved about the book was that it took place in Japan. I think the fact that it took place in Japan, following Japanese customs, it made the book that much more thrilling. I kept thinking about how different the book would have been if they had guns. It added to the uncertainty and guesswork of what will happen as it usually unfolds in a very typical way when things are set in the United States with guns. I also loved that it was bilingual in its writing and that it covered many Japanese customs and traditions. While the book was not heavy with references of sexualizing Jamie, the woman whose father was murdered, I could have done without them. Obviously, with a thriller of this type, there is a beautiful woman who is sexualized in some way. However, Pronko did it so rarely in his work, and it was not done in an overly sexual way as other books, and movies, tend to do. It was not enough to take away from my love and enjoyment of the book. Overall, it is a sensational read! I would recommend this book to anyone who loves murder mystery thriller books. It is just enough to try to figure out who did what and if they will get caught. I felt the book was realistic in its portrayal of crimes and their outcomes. The writing style is engaging as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Moving Blade is a fast-paced detective/ murder mystery series based in Tokyo. Hiroshi, the detective, is a man that likes to stick to himself, but when he gets pulled into yet another crime, he leaps to the rescue. From the very beginning of the book I was invested in the characters, especially when you find out who keeps getting murdered, this is an on your toes thriller. To say that this book is suspenseful would be an understatement. The story and the characters will leave you on the edge of your seat, you'll be wondering which way the story will go the entire time, and that's one of the best parts. I love when a story is unpredictable but still keeps on task with the plot. There is nothing worse than getting invested in a story and it winds up being cliche or drab in the end. This book definitely gives you a really good time, it’ll keep you occupied for hours, you won’t want to put it down. I enjoyed this book, from the mystery behind the American diplomate Bernhard Mattson, who is killed in Tokyo, to the thriller aspect of the book that happens when more people end up murdered. I haven’t read the first book in this series, which seemed to be fine because I was able to follow the plot and characters successfully with out getting confused or overwhelmed. The book is a continuation of the previous book, so I may have to go back and read the first book. If it’s as suspenseful as this one, I’m sure I won’t regret it. This was a heart racing book from start to finish. One of the most captivating parts of this book, is that the author is very informative about the area of Tokyo. He takes his time to discuss the scenes, which brings the book to life even more. Every character and every scene is accurate, and leaps off of the page. I love the fact that the author tries his best to make each character unique, and there are definitely a lively cast of characters in this book, like an ex sumo wrestler for example. I will be looking forward to reading the next book in this series soon. If this author has written any other books, I will be checking them out as well. His writing style is perfect for people who like to immerse themselves in the books that they read.
PylesofBooks More than 1 year ago
Thrillers come in stacks upon stacks and very few seem all that noteworthy, but Michael Pronko, author of The Moving Blade, wants to stand out and he manages to succeed. The second part of a series, following the engaging The Last Train, the reader continues to follow Detective Hiroshi Shimizu as he is swept up in a Pacific region in turmoil after the US diplomat to Japan is murdered. The daughter of the diplomat, Jamie Mattson looks up Hiroshi and drags him from his office into the thick of a huge mystery. When the body count starts to rise, it will be up to him and his new friend, ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi to solve this before another body joins the rest. Pronko is clearly well traveled by how authentically he paints the scenes in both Tokyo and beyond. The politics are real and frustrating and keep the story grounded in the realities of culture that fill this work to the brim. The mystery is thick and keeps the reader teased throughout, so many pages were turned eagerly to finish and find out what happened. The prose is relatively tight and keeps the action moving. The plot itself is complex as any political thriller even if the dwelling on some of these externals can be a bit much for a reader. Hiroshi himself is a fun character to follow and seems to grow somewhat from the previous book as well, which shows Pronko’s attention to character. As a detective, Hiroshi checks all the boxes and Jamie also somewhat fits the female fatale as well, so Pronko isn’t reinventing the wheel with this series, but chooses to give us a new setting and feel for the typical political thriller. There are even bits of noir here and there that some readers may pick up from older, more classic mystreries, but Pronko regrettably does a good job covering these bits with international politics and other plot clutter. The Moving Blade is a fun, complex mystery that will surely please any reader who enjoys such works. Pronko is a competent writer and if he continues to develop Hiroshi as such, then he should have a character to rival Hemmet or Harry Dresden in the genre of mystery.
Reader_Views More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (08/18) “The Moving Blade” is an intriguing murder mystery and the second book in the Detective Hiroshi series by Michael Pronko. Jamie Mattson planned a reunion with her father Bernard Mattson in Japan, where he was an American diplomat. Plans go awry after he is murdered, and she finds herself taking care of his funeral arrangements and handling his estate instead of the reunion. Her father’s home was also broken into and another murder has occurred which appears to be related. Jamie soon discovers that she is also a target. Her predators are obviously seeking her father’s research, a missing manuscript and a key note speech that is expected to have a huge impact on Japanese decisions regarding American military bases on their land. Detective Hiroshi Shimizu takes on this case and soon discovers how deeply the murders are entrenched in politics. He has to carefully route his search for information around high level people in Japan and the people at the US military base who aren’t being too helpful. Trying to help Jamie, a very independent woman, stay alive adds to his challenges. I really enjoyed reading “The Moving Blade.” Set in Japan, the added elements of Japanese culture, traditions and politics really make this story unique. Descriptive details of the martial arts in Japan included both the techniques used and descriptions of the weaponry. The characters are very realistic and have depth. Michael Pronko does an excellent job of taking us inside the protagonists’ minds so that we can understand them better, even if we don’t always agree with their choices. Pronko brought this story to life so much that I found myself hoping that none of the negative aspects could possibly be true. Having passed through Japan on my way to Okinawa, I had a brief chance to see this country. Reading “The Moving Blade” brought Japan back to life for me and also made me think about things that I hadn’t considered before, such as how our American military presence is viewed over there. The novel also gave me a reminder of how much of an impact their nuclear disaster has greatly affected lives on the Pacific Rim. I highly recommend “The Moving Blade” by Michael Pronko for people who enjoy intrigue and suspense.
Tangen More than 1 year ago
thriller, law-enforcement, international-crime-and-mystery, PTSD, Japan, cultural-exploration, theft, murder A fascinating look at the differences and similarities of cops and the countries/populations they serve. Homicide Det. Hiroshi in Tokyo has hidden himself away in his office as he remains unable to deal with the problems begun a year ago when he very nearly died on a case that caused many problems for the men in his department. Now he's forced into a very messy case involving diplomats, people murdered horribly with ritual blades, the Americans, and multiple thefts of sensitive materials. All this and the diplomat's beautiful Japanese American daughter from New York. A very compelling mystery thriller! I requested and received a free ebook copy from Raked Gravel Press via NetGalley. Thank you!
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Readers hit the ground running, right from the very first chapter, when we are whisked through the streets of Tokyo by a man who has stolen critically important files and is on the run, adeptly moving towards his ultimate destination. Meanwhile, readers are taken inside a Japanese funeral hall where we are witness to the memorial service and cremation of Bernard Mattson, a highly influential and respected American diplomat in Japan, who was murdered in his home. His beautiful daughter from New York, Jamie Mattson, who was recently attempting to rekindle a long lost relationship with her father, is his only living relative and returns to Japan, after decades apart, for his funeral. Unfortunately, instead of the mutually dreamed of happy reunion, Jamie is not only forced to mourn the loss of her father, but she is suddenly thrust into an exceedingly complicated political world left by her father’s lifetime of work and research, involving Japanese and American relations. Jamie is unable to simply and cleanly put her father’s estate in order and quickly return home, because she too becomes the target and prey of the unknown predator who will do anything within their power to get their hands on what is inside Bernard Mattson’s home. Originally called upon as a translator, detective Hiroshi Shmizu, who is working happily in the safety of his office, and is once again a bit banged up, this time physically from his previous work-related horrifying encounter, is tasked with a new complicated job. Not only must he discover Bernard’s killer, recover missing files, and piece together other recent, possibly related murders, but most importantly, he must protect Jamie, who continues to put herself into harm’s way despite being encouraged to seek immediate safety back in the US. So, together with his coworker, Sakaguchi the ex-sumo wrestler, Hiroshi searches for the answers. They scour the gritty streets and government offices of Tokyo, meeting some interesting characters along the way, while also attempting to overcome the resistance being set up by the officers at a US military base. But will detective Hiroshi be able to navigate the increasingly tangled, political web in time to uncover the answers, and recover the missing files, or will he be too late, and Jamie suffer a similar fate as her father? The Moving Blade, the author’s sophomore novel, is as strong, engaging and vividly described as was his debut novel, The Last Train. Where the last novel exposed its readers to Tokyo’s nightlife and hostess clubs, this time Pronko skillfully takes readers in a different, but equally compelling direction, towards Tokyo’s political world and its continued involvement with the United States and their agreement to keep a military base stationed on Japanese soil. This subject matter gives readers an abundant amount of food for thought, all while an intense murder mystery is unfolding, and is sure to please from beginning until end. It should be noted though that sometimes this reader became a bit lost in the storyline and was confused with the identity of some of the characters, perhaps because of an unfamiliarity with Japanese surnames, and not necessarily as a consequence of the author having too many characters. However, with that said, readers are enthusiastically encouraged to read The Moving Blade, so get prepared to be immersed in suspense, culture, and political intrigue - you will not be disappointed!