Author: Susan Spann
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Part of a Series: Hiro Hattori Mysteries #5
Type of book: 1565. Shinobi clans, shinobi culture, Koga, Iga, deceit, murder, mystery, betrayal, believing not seeing, foreigner, religion, mute girl, family, high stakes, Japan, alliance, high stakes
Year it was published: 2017
Autumn, 1565: After fleeing Kyoto, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo take refuge with Hiro s ninja clan in the mountains of Iga province. But when an ambassador from the rival Koga clan is murdered during peace negotiations, Hiro and Father Mateo must find the killer in time to prevent a war between the ninja clans.
With every suspect a trained assassin, and the evidence incriminating not only Hiro s commander, the infamous ninja Hattori Hanz, but also Hiro s mother and his former lover, the detectives must struggle to find the truth in a village where deceit is a cultivated art. As tensions rise, the killer strikes again, and Hiro finds himself forced to choose between his family and his honor.
The main characters include Hiro and Father Mateo. Hiro comes from a Shinobi clan and has had a Shinobi upbringing. He is observant, calm within the storm and often trusts his own instincts over different evidence. He is also extremely knowledgeable and is seen as the best shinobi from Iga Ryu. Father Mateo is Hiro's charge and is from Portugal. Father Mateo has a big heart when it comes to accepting cases and in this book he is more of take charge rather than Hiro. While he is still struggling with culture shock, he often takes advantage of his being a foreigner and uses it for Hiro's benefit. Hiro's grandmother, mother and former lover also play big roles as well as his cousin who is the leader and the Koga Ryu emissaries and even a surprising mute girl.
Things are not what they seem
The story is in third person narrative from Hiro's point of view. This is a much stronger book than the previous four, and the characters are far better drawn out as well. The author has done a good job at creating a gripping read with a complex plot and wonderful characters. In here she isn't afraid to explore her characters and to conclude a tale from Hiro's past as well as introduce potential new characters in which I hope to see in the future installments.
(From the book)
Susan Spann is the author of four previous novels in the Shinobi Mystery series: Claws of the Cast, Blade of the Samurai, Flask of the Drunken Master, and THe Ninja's Daughter. She has a degree in Asian studies and a lifelong love of Japanese history and culture. When not writing or practicing law, she raises seahorses and rare corals in her marine aquarium.
Imagine: Peace negotiations between Koga and Iga shinobi clans who were previously rivals, a dinner set in enemy territory and a foreign priest with his shinobi helper who is part of Iga clan; what could possibly go wrong? Apparently, plenty, and murder and betrayal are the least of the detectives' problems. With each successive novel, the author gets better and better at character growth because I liked seeing how much Hiro and Father Mateo changed and grew from being around each other, and I also enjoyed seeing Father Mateo being more helpful, understanding and more in charge. I feel that previous mysteries put a lot of pressure on Hiro to solve the case, but in this mystery, both Hiro and Father Mateo are equals. I was thrilled as well to learn more about Hiro's past, and even finally understand why Hiro seems to detest women. I hope to see more of Kiku in future installments,and yes I am excited for 2018 and to learn about another cultural aspect of Japan.
This was given to me for an honest review
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)