In this exciting international thriller featuring Japanese antiques art dealer and PI Jim Brodie, a double-murder at the Kennedy Center forces Brodie into a dangerous game of espionage—putting him in the crosshairs of the Chinese, North Korean, and American governments.
Jim Brodie is an antiques dealer, Japan expert, and second-generation private investigator. When two theater friends are murdered backstage at a Kennedy Center performance in Washington, DC, he’s devastated—and determined to hunt down the killer. He’s not the only one.
After the attack, Brodie is summoned to the White House. The First Lady was the college roommate of one of the victims, and she enlists Brodie—off the books—to use his Japanese connections to track down the assassin. Homeland Security head Tom Swelley is furious that the White House is meddling and wants Brodie off the case. Why? For the same reason a master Chinese spy known only as Zhou, one of the most dangerous men alive, appears on the scene: Those murders were no random act of violence.
Brodie flies to Tokyo to attend the second of two funerals, when his friend’s daughter Anna is kidnapped during the ceremony. It is then Brodie realizes that the murders were simply bait to draw her out of hiding. Anna, it seems, is the key architect of a top-secret NSA program that gathers the personal secrets of America’s most influential leaders. Secrets so damaging that North Korea and China will stop at nothing to get them.
Publishers Weekly said, “Readers will want to see more of the talented Jim Brodie,” and The Spy Across the Table is an edge-of-your-seat thriller in Barry Lancet’s wildly popular and highly acclaimed series.
About 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.
Read an Excerpt
The Spy Across the Table
DAY 1, SUNDAY, 3:00 P.M.
THE KENNEDY CENTER, WASHINGTON, DC
MIKEY was shot because he begged me for a favor and I complied.
My old college buddy and I stood in the wings of the Kennedy Center’s Opera House theater, watching a Kabuki play unfold in front of a sold-out crowd. VIPs were abundant.
Mikey was starstruck. While everyone in the audience tracked the mesmerizing movements of the Japanese players in their colorful robes, Mikey focused on the bigger picture. Yes, he took in the artistry of the actors, but his expert eye also cataloged the exquisite details of the backdrops, the exotic sweep of the pageantry, and how each played off the other.
“Her costume and makeup are perfect,” Mikey said in a low voice. “Is that really a man under there?”
My friend’s emerald-green eyes sparkled as he soaked up the spectacle. Onstage, snowflakes wafted down. A woman in an elaborately embroidered kimono cooed plaintively for her lover. The expression of emotional turmoil on her face was sublimely complex, half-hopeful even as it plunged toward despair.
“Yes,” I said.
Early in seventeenth-century Japan, the shogun famously banned women from the Kabuki stage. The elegantly clad females proved too much of a temptation for aristocratic samurai, who were expected to set an example for the common people by staking out society’s moral high ground. Over time, the long-standing men-only policy evolved into a tradition that persists to this day.
Mikey remained incredulous. “Are you absolutely sure?”
“I’m certain of it.”
Kabuki troupes wasted no time in seeking men with the prowess to play women. Costumes were upgraded. Makeup was subtly altered. Gestures demure and flirtatious were endlessly practiced and refined, then perfected. The Kabuki experience reached new heights. Even today, Kabuki continued to win converts. Transfixed, Mikey was clearly another. Before him, an actor in snow-white makeup, coiffed wig, and ruby lips uttered a soft lament.
“What’d she say, Brodie?”
She. I told him.
“Brilliant,” he whispered. “The mood of the lighting and even the set itself echoes her sentiment.”
Michael C. Dillman was a production designer. He created sets for movies. Tonight he was a kid in a candy store. We’d run into each other at San Francisco State, where we shared the same artistic sensibilities. Mikey funneled his into set design. I channeled mine into a store selling Japanese art and antiquities out on Lombard, west of Van Ness Avenue.
“How is it you two never met?” I asked, a reference not to the “temptress” onstage but to Sayuri “Sharon” Tanaka.
My old college buddy blushed. “I . . . I just never found the time.”
I smiled at his transparent evasion.
Mikey was shier than shy, even with two Oscar nominations and one win under his belt. Sharon Tanaka was a famed Japanese designer for stage and screen and had been hired to create special backdrops for the Kennedy Center production.
“Did I thank you for getting me in to see her, Brodie?”
Mikey was a longtime admirer of Sharon Tanaka’s work.
“Yes. More times than I can count.”
Sharon and I were friends and frequented some of the same art circles in Tokyo. When Mikey had heard she would be traveling to Washington with the Kabuki troupe, he asked me to arrange a meeting.
“This is a dream. Thanks, man. I owe you.”
“No, you don’t,” I said.
From under a disheveled bush of auburn hair, his eyes glowed with a gratefulness I found embarrassing. I glanced away, recalling the first time I’d seen the look. We were college roommates for a while, sharing a near-campus apartment. I got a dose of the look when I gave him the larger bedroom, because even back then he was hauling around cumbersome stage paraphernalia.
Mikey checked his watch. “Time to go see the grand lady. Thanks again, man.”
“Stop saying that. Maybe one day you two can collaborate.”
Mikey grew wistful at the thought. “That would be nice. Wish me luck.”
“You don’t need any. Just enjoy the get-together.”
Turned out I was wrong.
He needed luck in the worst way—and didn’t get it.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book had me on the edge of my chair for the entire read. It is, perhaps, the finest book of this genre that I've read and I' ve read a lot of them. Cannot wait for the next in the series. Please hurry Mr Lancet!
A Plentiful feast of suspense, mystery and intrigue! While watching a play at the Kennedy center, two of Jim Brodie's friends are murdered. As an antiques dealer and private investigator, he's not only devastated at the loss -- he's determined to hunt down the killer at all costs. His determination is further bolstered when the first lady personally requests his help in solving the crime. But when one of the victims daughter -- a key architect of a top-secret NSA program is kidnapped during the second funeral, Jim will be thrust into a dangerous game of espionage. One that will ensnare him in the crosshairs of the Chinese, North Korean and American governments. Like a tornado, THE SPY ACROSS THE TABLE is an engrossing thriller that will suck you in to the deep underbelly of the espionage world. Full of street smarts and a snarky personality, Jim Brodie shines as an instant likable main character. A craftily plotted storyline accompanied by staccato paced action scenes explodes into a dynamic ending. A plentiful feast of suspense, mystery and intrigue! ~ Kris Miller, certified TopShelf Reviewer. TopShelf Magazine does not offer 'paid review services’ and TopShelf Reviewers are not compensated for their reviews
“A Thrill Ride A Minute.” Jim Brodie is in Washington DC visiting the Kennedy Center to watch his Japanese friend’s Kabuki performance when the Japanese designer and another friend are murdered. Afterwards, he is approached by the Secret Service and taken before the First Lady. The stage designer was also a college friend of hers, and she wants Brodie to investigate the murders (you would think the FBI would be called in) . No sooner does he take the case, than Homeland Security agents let by Tom Swelley begin harassing him and beats him up. The case gets more tangled in Japan when he brings the Brodie Detective Agency into the Japanese end of the case. Korean gangsters kidnap the daughter of the Japanese designer at the funeral, and Brodie discovers she is being transferred to North Korea. He must intercept the transfer, and heads to South Korea with a Marine combat squad to stop them from entering a tunnel on the DMZ. However, the team was spotted and the girl is moved to the border with China. Now Brodie must enter China, but tangles with the Chinese spy, Zhou, and is captured and turned over to Chinese torturers. This is all great stuff in movies and fiction. This was a nonstop thrill a minute ride, with political stumbling blocks along the way. It is a well-written yarn that kept me turning the pages. There were some things I didn’t like about it, mostly the portrayal of agents in our intelligence departments. Men like Tom Swelley would have been dismissed long before he got out of hand. Everyone has a boss, and heads roll when agents go amok. Another thing is our Ambassadors; they do not go against the President of the United States. They represent the president. The actions of the American Ambassador to Japan was beyond imbecilic. And finally, let’s look at torture. Yes, torture does exist, and it is horrible. But I can guarantee the Chinese would have obtained what they wanted from Brodie within hours without torture, they didn’t need to use physical torture to get the information they wanted. But Brodie goes through many days of torture. Now, what happens to a person after they have been tortured for days on end? They don’t get up and fight, or cross China in an automobile. They need physical and mental therapy for months before they can perform anything close to normal. I won’t even discuss the subject of a Chinese spy rescuing Brodie, except to say it wouldn’t happen. Still, with all these things I didn’t like with the story, this is a work of fiction, and as such, it is very entertaining, and I highly recommend it to readers.