Samurai Boogie by Peter Tasker

I’ve lived in Japan, although not Tokyo, and the thing about this book was the way Japan was brought to life for me. Noodle and yakitori shops and creaky wooden buildings and foreign girls working in Hostess Bars. I don’t usually read crime novels, but this one was okay.

Mori, the main character is a hard boiled Private Eye, with more connections than a telephone exchange, chasing down and being chased down by Japanese gangsters, young wanna-be Private Eyes and some just weird characters.

But the one thing I did notice, like blues being played by a white man, is that it doesn’t have the soul or the real pathos I’ve read in Japanese (and Asian) writers. It is a good book and it has pathos, but something sneaking inside just tells me that it was a westerner in Japan who wrote the book (which it was.) Maybe it’s the descriptions of things that the author has seen through western eyes, and really wants to elaborate on that does it for me. For the non-Japan-lived reader, some of the quirky things may or may not make sense, but to me that’s what made the book good, but also over did it a bit.

It’s hard to explain, but I still liked it and it’ll go together with my other books in my Japanese book collection.

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