Friday, July 25, 2014

HFVBT: Susan Spann's Blade of the Samurai - Review


My thoughts
This mystery was intricately planned out and executed and to set it in 16th century Japan with such mastery of the time period is amazing. The reader is transported. As I'm reading, I'm seeing in my mind's eye the Shogunate, the town, Hiro and Father Mateo's house. It's this excellent imagery that really brings one into the story. And there are elements of surprise...and even whimsy. Case in point - the foreshadowing in this scene I will share here had me thinking that something alarming was about to happen. And low and behold...

The attack came from behind and without warning. A dozen tiny daggers punctured Hiro's shoulder and upper back. He grunted with surprise and pain and tried to twist away, but the effort made Gato sink her claws even deeper into his flesh. Her free paw batted his hand and grabbed at the saying tail of hair. 

"Ow!" Hiro grabbed Gato, determined to pry the kitten away before her efforts ruined his hair completely.

See! Hiro is attacked not by a human, but none other than his own kitten. A fine example of suspense transitioning to whimsy. Quite clever.

Not to say that the book doesn't have its moments of sheer suspense because it does. There is a murder and sinister doings afoot. Watching as Hiro and Father Mateo navigate the stringent customs of the Japanese Samurai while trying to solve the murder was indeed entertaining and interesting.

This author has a true talent in writing not only mysteries, but also capturing an entire culture in the pages. I can't wait to go back and read the first book in the Shinobi Mysteries, Claws of the Cat, and I look forward to her next offering, Flask of the Drunken Master.

About the book
Publication Date: July 15, 2014
Minotaur Books
Formats: eBook, Hardcover

Series: Shinobi Mystery
Genre: Historical Mystery

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READ AN EXCERPT.

June, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori receives a pre-dawn visit from Kazu, a fellow shinobi working undercover at the shogunate. Hours before, the Shogun’s cousin, Saburo, was stabbed to death in the Shogun’s palace. The murder weapon: Kazu’s personal dagger. Kazu says he’s innocent, and begs for Hiro’s help, but his story gives Hiro reason to doubt the young shinobi’s claims.

When the Shogun summons Hiro and Father Mateo, the Jesuit priest under Hiro’s protection, to find the killer, Hiro finds himself forced to choose between friendship and personal honor.

The investigation reveals a plot to assassinate the Shogun and overthrow the ruling Ashikaga clan. With Lord Oda’s enemy forces approaching Kyoto, and the murderer poised to strike again, Hiro must use his assassin’s skills to reveal the killer’s identity and protect the Shogun at any cost. Kazu, now trapped in the city, still refuses to explain his whereabouts at the time of the murder. But a suspicious shogunate maid, Saburo’s wife, and the Shogun’s stable master also had reasons to want Saburo dead. With the Shogun demanding the murderer’s head before Lord Oda reaches the city, Hiro and Father Mateo must produce the killer in time … or die in his place.

Blade of the Samurai is a complex mystery that will transport readers to a thrilling and unforgettable adventure in 16th century Japan.

Book One of the Shinobi Mysteries series, Claws of the Cat, was released in 2013.

Praise for Blast of the Samurai

“The second Hiro Hattori mystery (after 2013’s Claws of the Cat) finds the sixteenth-century ninja—and unofficial investigator—presented with an interesting problem…A strong second entry in a very promising series.”—Booklist

“Hiro and Father Mateo’s second adventure (Claws of the Cat, 2013) combines enlightenment on 16th-century Japanese life with a sharp and well-integrated mystery.”—Kirkus Reveiws

About the Author
Susan Spann acquired her love of books and reading during her preschool days in Santa Monica, California. As a child she read everything from National Geographic to Agatha Christie. In high school, she once turned a short-story assignment into a full-length fantasy novel (which, fortunately, will never see the light of day).

A yearning to experience different cultures sent Susan to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan. After earning an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, Susan diverted to law school. She returned to California to practice law, where her continuing love of books has led her to specialize in intellectual property, business and publishing contracts.

Susan’s interest in Japanese history, martial arts, and mystery inspired her to write the Shinobi Mystery series featuring Hiro Hattori, a sixteenth-century ninja who brings murderers to justice with the help of Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest. When not writing or representing clients, Susan enjoys traditional archery, martial arts, horseback riding, online gaming, and raising seahorses and rare corals in her highly distracting marine aquarium. Susan lives in Sacramento with her husband, son, three cats, one bird, and a multitude of assorted aquatic creatures.

For more information please visit Susan Spann’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.


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Twitter Hashtag: #BladeoftheSamuraiBlogTour #HFVBTBlogTour #HistNov #HistFic #HistoricalMystery
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @SusanSpann @MinotaurBooks

A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.

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1 comment:

I apologize for word verification, but I turned it off and had close to 50 spam comments within 12 hours (nobody has time for that) so I had to turn it back on. Sorry!

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  1. I have this one coming up for review early next month.

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