Review of Pacific Burn, by Barry Lancet

23492852Question: What do Japanese antiquities and an American-owned security company in Japan have in common? Answer: Jim Brodie.

In Barry Lancet’s murder-mystery- thriller, Pacific Burn, Jim Brodie is once again contracted by the San Francisco Police Department to assist in a murder investigation involving a Japanese national. Brodie is well-versed in all things Japanese, having lived in Japan, and now an antiques dealer in San Francisco specializing in Japanese antiquities and art.  But in addition to being an art dealer, Brodie inherited his father’s security company in Japan, which specializes in personal protection. When needed, Brodie puts on his PI hat and gets involved in protecting the clients of Brodie Security in Tokyo.

In Pacific Burn, Brodie is recruited to assist in the murder investigation of the son of a famous Japanese artist, a long-time family friend. But it appears someone is trying to eliminate the entire Nobuki family.  Can Brodie stop the assassination attempts?  Can he determine who is behind the murders, and why? Intertwined in the killings is a mysterious ninja-type character – the Steamwalker – who is as elusive as his name suggests.

The words were relayed in a whisper reminiscent of steam pushing itself loose from a covered pot. A low brooding hiss of a sound that was hot and moist on the back of my neck.

At first, I couldn’t comprehend how a Japanese antiquities dealer could also be a private detective who seems to frequently be in the middle of murder investigations.  However, Lancet has done an excellent job of assimilating two seemingly separate lives into a believable persona. Brodie is an expert on Japanese culture, art, and language, and because he lives in a city with a large Japanese population, it is logical that his expertise is called upon when a murder is committed involving the Japanese community. And after all, he worked with his father at Brodie Security when he was young; one’s past experience is always a part of him – it follows him everywhere.  And so it has for Jim Brodie.

I also liked the fact that Brodie is a vulnerable parent, trying to raise his six-year-old daughter by himself.

If you like a good murder mystery, with a believable hero trying his best to fit together the puzzle pieces of a crime, and especially if you like stories infused with Japanese culture, I recommend Pacific Burn.

Thank you Simon & Schuster for providing an Advance Reader’s Copy.

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