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When the top American diplomat in Tokyo, Bernard Mattson, is killed, he leaves more than a lifetime of smoothly cultivated Japanese-American relations. He leaves a missing manuscript, an undelivered keynote speech and a tangled web of connections.
His estranged daughter, Jamie, returns from America for his funeral, but is almost killed when she starts uncovering her father’s past. She drags Detective Hiroshi Shimizu from the safe confines of his office into the interlocked realities of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, the American military bases, and Asian stability.
With help from ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi and his mentor Takamatsu, Hiroshi uncovers all too many reasons why the respected, longtime diplomat would have his stomach sliced open. After two more killings—back street, short-blade sword—Hiroshi tracks the killer through decrepit bars, the top echelons of Japan’s Diet, and the fading elegance of Tokyo’s westernized Asian-ness.
The status quo is more powerful in Japan than in any country in the world, but when the past erupts into the present, Hiroshi finds out just how dangerous the US-Japan relations can be. As the layers of corruption peel back, Hiroshi must choose between violence and procedure, between desire and duty, between the different sides of his own character.