5 March 2015

Review: THE KIZUNA COAST, Sujata Massey

  • first published 2014
  • e-book review copy kindly supplied by the author
  • available for Kindle from Amazon
  • #11 in the Rei Shimura series
  • author website
Synopsis (author website)

When a devastating earthquake rocks Japan’s northeast coast, a tsunami follows and Rei Shimura is swept into her most rugged adventure yet.

The mystery begins with an SOS from Rei’s friend, the antiques dealer Mr. Ishida, trapped among thousands of displaced and dead on the Tohoku coast. Rei rushes to Tokyo, where she discovers Ishida Antiques may have been burglarized. Rei takes Mr. Ishida’s abandoned dog, Hachiko, on a volunteer bus to the ravaged town of Sugihama.

But Mr. Ishida’s got more work for her, since he lost contact with his antiques apprentice Mayumi and is frantic with worry. He won’t leave Sugihama without knowing the fate of the troubled 19-year-old girl from a famous lacquer-making family.

My take

Sujata Massey says
    Because of the real framework of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, this book could probably qualify as a modern historical novel within the Rei mystery series.
As Rei Shimura ventures to the Tohoju coast in search of her mentor Ishida-san as a Helping Hand volunteer vivid description builds of the impact of the tsunami on coastal towns and villages, and of the way the Japanese community works together to rebuild lives. There is an authentic feel to the narrative which told me things about the tsunami that I had no way of knowing: the pervading smell of the rotting fish left behind as the water retreated, the stories of people who survived while those with them were washed away, the after shocks that continued for days, and so on.

Against this background Massey has woven the story of the search for Mayumi who disappeared after the earthquake, and then of Rei's search for justice.

It is always a delight to discover an author and enjoy your first read so much. It is like making a new friend.

My rating: 4.5

About the author

Sujata Massey was born in England to parents from India and Germany and grew up mostly in St. Paul, Minnesota. She holds a BA in Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University and started her working life as a features reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun. After leaving the newspaper, she moved to Japan, where she studied Japanese, taught English and began writing her first novel, The Salaryman’s Wife. This novel became the first of many in the Rei Shimura mystery series, which has won Agatha and Macavity awards and been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark awards. Her August 2013 release, The Sleeping Dictionary, is a trade paperback with Simon & Schuster’s Gallery line, and also an audiobook published by Dreamscape. It’s the first in a series of historical suspense novels featuring Bengali women who each play a role in making modern India.
Sujata’s books have been published in more than 18 countries, and if she could redo her youth, she would have double-majored in history and a foreign language and spent a gap year (or two) abroad. Currently, she’s based near Washington, D.C. and can be contacted through these Internet sites: Facebook, Togather, and sujatamassey.com.

1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

I can see why you liked this one, Kerrie. I think something like a tsunami is really best understood on that human level.


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