Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Last Train (Detective Hiroshi, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Last Train (Detective Hiroshi, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Last Train

(Detective Hiroshi #1)

by
4.06  ·  Rating details ·  172 ratings  ·  59 reviews
THE LAST TRAIN is the gripping new Tokyo-based mystery by multi-award-winning author Michael Pronko

Detective Hiroshi Shimizu investigates white collar crime in Tokyo. He’s lost his girlfriend and still dreams of his time studying in America, but with a stable job, his own office and a half-empty apartment, he’s settled in.

When an American businessman turns up dead, his men
...more
Paperback, 335 pages
Published 2017 by Raked Gravel Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Last Train, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Michael Pronko Well, I grew up in the States, so I'd say it affected me deeply, and by extension the writing of the novel. I've tried to maintain an American point…moreWell, I grew up in the States, so I'd say it affected me deeply, and by extension the writing of the novel. I've tried to maintain an American point of view with many experiences in Japan, though of course, living here really affects me, too, so it gets a bit jumbled together. Growing up in the States means that most things here remain very fascinating. I try to keep that 'beginner's mind' in place, though of course, not get stuck there. (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  172 ratings  ·  59 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Matt
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
There are times when accidental finds prove to be the best book reading experiences. This was one of those, as I picked-up Michael Pronko’s series debut to fulfil a reading challenge. When an American man falls before a speeding commuter train in Tokyo, it does not garner that much shock in the Japanese capital, as suicide by rail is a common occurrence. However, Detective Hiroshi Shimizu is summoned to help with the investigation, more because of his knowledge of English than because anyone que ...more
Cathy
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
When I interviewed Michael on my blog last year, he described The Last Train as ‘more whydunit than whodunit’ and having now read the book I can certainly understood why he said that. Much of the excitement of the book comes from following detective Hiroshi Shimizu in his attempts to identify and track down the mysterious woman who committed the murder. The trail leads Hiroshi from the flashy malls and smart high-rise buildings to the decidedly seedier world of hostess clubs and bars. As the aut ...more
Bill Jr.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thrilling, enthralling mystery

The Last Train is a sensational mystery that reveals an underside of Tokyo few people see. A suspensful page turner, The Last Train is filled with rich, complex characters. As the mystery unfolds, you feel like you're walking in Detective Hiroshi Shimizu's shoes, as he works to unravel not just the who, but why of the murders he's investigating. 


The Last Train captures Tokyo life with crisp prose: "Out of the underpass, toward the station, people walked briskly in o
...more
Richard
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a unique story we are treated to in The Last Train. Great title incidentally and beautifully told with passion and pathos.
We quickly learn who is the murderer but we don’t get the why they kill other than an implied motive of financial gain.
The homicide department desperately needs the services of an English speaker as the case involves foreigners and Hiroshi fits the bill. He has not been out much in recent weeks mopping about in his special office all by himself, pleaded not to mix after
...more
Patrick Sherriff
What ingredients do you need to cook up an engaging police procedural set in Tokyo? I’d say you ought to have a conflicted detective not sure what the hell he was doing. Perhaps he's reeling from a relationship gone sour, possibly on the verge of alcoholism, and wondering if he still could cut the mustard personally and professionally. You ought to have a victim that English-language readers could readily identify with, say an American businessman finding himself out of his depth in a strange fo ...more
Mehreen Ahmed
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Last Train by Michael Pronko will keep the readers on edge. A gripping thriller, it is full of suspense that will hit several emotions at once, nervousness, excitement, fear, hope and glee, as the genre is meant to be. However, what sets it apart is its linguistic eloquence. Yet, it is not another cheap thrill full of clichéd rhetoric, but a sophisticated Le Carre type. Set in Japan, it is a detective story in element. Tokyo lights up to nightclubs full of pizzazz. Murder takes place in its ...more
Karen
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a huge fan of Japanese crime fiction I admit to being particularly intrigued by THE LAST TRAIN. Set in Tokyo the viewpoint of this novel, written by an ex-pat American professor of American Literature at Meiji Gakuin University who has now lived in that city for twenty years, was a large part of this appeal.

Whatever elements there are that feed into THE LAST TRAIN, they have combined to create a fascinating police procedural / serial killer with a reason novel interwoven with aspects of J
...more
Joyce
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 and 1 / 2 stars

Detective Hiroshi Shimizu is fluent in English and is a white collar crime specialist in part of the murder squad but Hiroshi has never investigated a crime per se. He is more familiar with spreadsheets and graphs. But he is very smart and determined and the other police officers like him. When his friend Lieutenant Takamatsu asks for his assistance on a puzzling case involving and English-speaker, Hiroshi reluctantly goes along.

American Steve Devaux is found dead in Tokyo. He w
...more
Paul Franco
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Hiroshi is a forensic accountant for the Tokyo police, who gets more than he bargains for when he helps out an old friend on an investigation. Did that American throw himself in front of the train, or was he pushed?
Well plotted, with good flashbacks showing the villain’s motivation. The protagonist is also fleshed out well, with lots of light humorous touches because he doesn’t take himself too seriously. His new assistant and the sumo cops add to the small bites of hilarity, although some of th
...more
Bandit
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's kind of awesome and kind of daunting at the same time to be the first person to review a book. Pronko is my go to guy for all things Japanese. I've read 3 books of his nonfiction essays about Japan, so a majority of what I know about the country and its traditions comes from him. And now...more of the same, but in fictional form, a thrillingly fictional form. So it was easy to like and, of course, nice to see an author making such an easy transition from one genre to another. I do prefer my ...more
Bella
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set in Tokyo, this exotic crime thriller is a lightning-fast chase to the finish line that you won’t soon forget.

Mystery novels are known for far-flung locations, but Tokyo isn’t often on the map. With The Last Train, Michael Pronko takes his adopted hometown and uses it as the setting for this unconventional take on the whodunit, which turns the genre on its ear and focuses not on the who, but the lightning-fast chase to the finish line.

Check out the rest of my review at BestThrillers.com.

James Baquet
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to James by: Robert
Shelves: fluff
This Dan-Brownish book isn't bad for a first effort (#2 in the series is infinitely better!), despite some wonky English, some poorly-edited lines, and a less-than-satisfying climax.

Having lived nearly five years in Tokyo, I found the descriptions familiar, though it seems Mr. Pronko's grasp of Japanese religion is a little wobbly (he describes shaved-headed "monks" and an "abbot" counting beads in a Shinto shrine, though these are all clearly facets of Buddhism).

Anyway, I'm now well into #2 (Th
...more
Maria Beltrami
Bel thriller molto giapponese, anche se scritto da un americano, che però in Giappone da anni vive e lavora, e di quel paese conosce vita morte e miracoli. In una Tokio da Blade Runner, come effettivamente è Tokio, uomini facoltosi legati all'ambiente della finanza si suicidano gettandosi sotto al treno. Niente di strano, in un paese che non ha, nei confronti del suicidio, le preclusioni che abbiamo noi occidentali, se non fosse che molti di questi suicidi sono proprio occidentali. Uno stralunat ...more
Lynne
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good police procedural set in Tokyo in which the author excels in creating a vivid slice of Japanese life.

Hiroshi Shimizu is called upon to investigate the murder of an American businessman who appears to have been pushed to his death beneath a speeding train. He's captured on security camera, very drunk, with a beautiful Japanese woman. Hiroshi and partner Takamatsu are drawn in to the seedy world of hostess clubs in the search for the woman and the motive for the man's gruesome
...more
Jean Kolinofsky
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unlike many mysteries, Michael Pronko opens his book with a murder being committed and the murderer is immediately revealed. I was not sure where he would take it from there but I was not disappointed. This first book in what I hope will be a long series introduces Hiroshi Shimizu. Investigating white collar crime, Hiroshi spends time in his cramped office reviewing numbers and working with the police in other countries. Now he has been called on to assist with the murder investigation because h ...more
Elaine Tomasso
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would like to thank Netgalley and Smith Publicity for an advance copy of The Last Train, a police procedural set in Tokyo.

When Steve Devaux is found under the wheels of an express train no one is sure if it is murder or suicide but they do know it will mean pressure. Lieutenant Takamatsu ropes in Hiroshi Shimizu, a white collar crime detective and fluent in English, to help with the investigation. The police are quickly aware that they are hunting a woman while the reader knows she is called M
...more
Carlos
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We all know that everybody in Japan is from another galaxy. Different time frame and maybe They are in contact with aliens from what I know.
I stand in awe every time my brother Hector explain to me the different customs that He has to follow because He has been living in Japan for almost 20 years.
If You want to get a glimpse of modern Tokyo this is your book and in the meantime there's a murder, or two, or three to investigate and let Detective Hiroshi to be your guide. The trip that awaits You
...more
Susan
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
Excellent ! Captured my attention and imagination from almost the first page. A good thriller and extremely interesting picture of today’s Tokyo (somewhere I have never been). Much better than other novels I have read about contemporary Japan.
Also as a journalist I just want to say that this book is very well edited— which I greatly appreciate! No typos and no stumbling syntax to throw off the reader’s concentration.
Srijata
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
This book was engaging enough to keep me turning the pages, but never enough to genuinely make me care about the characters and what was happening to them. There are a number of plot devices used as a shorthand for actual character development - broken relationships, corrupt cops, lascivious men ready to take advantage of hostesses, and the unpardonable sexual assault as character development for the female character. They do not fit well together into the whole and I was constantly taken out of ...more
Grady
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘Hiroshi had been lucky to land a job where he could use his English and skip most meetings.’

American ex-pat Michael Pronko graduated from Brown University earning a degree in philosophy and a Master's in Education, and then took a teaching position in Beijing. For two years, he taught English, traveled China and wrote. After more traveling and two more degrees, another M.A. in Comparative Literature in Madison, Wisconsin and a PhD in English at the University of Kent at Canterbury he now lives
...more
Renae Lucas-Hall
Pronko plunges you directly into the murky world of crime, hostess bars, police life, suicide and homicide in his debut novel set in Tokyo. His characters really come to life and the story captivates your attention as you follow Hiroshi and his fellow detectives in their pursuit of a murderer, a woman with a disturbing past called Michiko Suzuki. I’ve lived and worked in Japan and I’ve read Pronko’s non-fiction collection of Japan-related essays ‘Motions and Moments’ so I knew this book was goin ...more
victor
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Last Train is a very entertaining murder mystery by award-winning writer Michael Pronko. He won a few awards for his non-fiction works and the reception for his first fiction release was very warm. I spent a few hours every day this week with Detective Hiroshi and I can say that I enjoyed his company very much. Below, you’ll find a short, spoiler free, review for this great story.

In The Last Train the story follows Detective Hiroshi Shimizu of the Tokyo Police Department as he is pulled fro
...more
Billy Buttons
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought:
Title: The Last Train
Author: Michael Pronko

Star Rating: 5 Stars
Number of Readers: 18
Stats
Editing: 9/10
Writing Style: 9/10
Content: 9/10
Cover: 7/10
Of the 18 readers:
17 would read another book by this author.
14 thought the cover was good or excellent.
18 felt it was easy to follow.
17 would recommend this story to another reader to try.
10 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘plotting a story’.
8 felt the author’
...more
M
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting But Sometimes Dispiriting Read

Warning: Some Spoilers Ahead

Fast paced, complex plot about a Tokyo police detective—financial crimes specialist—who finds himself transferred to a homicide squad to investigate a serial murder. Readers discover in the first chapter that the killer is a woman, which is extremely unusual in a male-dominated country like Japan. Since whodunnit is revealed, readers must discover why she’s killing, what the inciting event was and who she’ll target next.

Happ
...more
Breakaway Reviewers
Enlightening read about Tokyo’s busy life and a good thriller

The book starts with a pretty, sober woman and a drunken foreigner in Tokyo’s Tamachi Station. As he disappears beneath an express train, did he jump or was he pushed?

Detective Hiroshi Shimizu has been taking care of white collar crime and he is good at it. However, his personal life is a bit of a mess. His American ex-girlfriend has returned to America and he is not finding it easy to move on. When his drinking companion and colleague
...more
Bella Reads and Reviews
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Michael Pronko writes mysteries set in Tokyo, making this book not only a fast-paced thriller but a close look at a city where holy temples rub shoulders with hostess clubs and high-speed trains provide a means for homicide.

Hiroshi Shimitzu is a Tokyo police detective who normally deals with white collar crime, but because he speaks English well, he is pulled into the investigation of an American businessman’s death by train. Insider trading, high-stakes real estate deals, and a mysterious ex-ho
...more
Nancy Kilpatrick
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery readers of like slow
I thought there were some interesting parts to this. I liked the glimpses into Japanese culture. But somehow, the main character Hiroshi, seemed incredibly bland to me. The main partner was a huge stereotype and I felt badly that the former Sumo wrestlers were just there for their body sizes and wrestling skills but were never developed and I couldn't tell one from the others. The girls who work in the clubs are stereotypes and the one female antagonist, the murderer, seems quite surreal--too mu ...more
Mille Hansen
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I entered the world of this book's narative with a slight precaution, as I normally find books or movies set in Japan challenging. The Japanese culture, the people, the mindset - they are all so distant, so different and so exotic, that I tend t feel alienated in this unfathomable world.
And yet I could not stop listening. The story sucked me in. The devil is in the detail - and Michael Pronko's writing provides rich detail that all make the story so vibrant that it becomes alive. I almost felt t
...more
Marshall
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it
This mystery book places its emphasis on character and place rather than on detection, as the clues unfold seamlessly to the story's resolution. On the plus side, Pronko creates a vivid picture of Tokyo, from the quiet grace of the temples to the seedy underside of Roppongi. The detective banter is decent. The main detective, Hiroshi Shimizi, has a special place in the Tokyo police department because of his English proficiency. He is a slightly flawed man coming off a broken love affair, with no ...more
Mehreen Ahmed
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Last Train by Michael Pronko will keep the readers on edge. A gripping thriller, it is full of suspense that will hit several emotions at once, nervousness, excitement, fear, hope and glee, as the genre is meant to be. However, what sets it apart is its linguistic eloquence. Yet, it is not another cheap thrill full of clichéd rhetoric, but a sophisticated Le Carre type. Set in Japan, it is a detective story in element. Tokyo lights up to nightclubs full of pizzazz. Murder takes place in its ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: add awards for me? 10 85 Mar 23, 2019 12:10AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Memori Project (Josh Heller #1)
  • Diana Christmas: Blackmail, Death and a British Film Star
  • Marlborough Man
  • Signal Loss (Inspector Challis, #7)
  • The Better Angels (Paul Christopher #4)
  • Righteous Assassin (Mike Stoneman #1)
  • Spawn (Markov Series #1)
  • Thumbprint
  • Pulled by a Dream (The Matthews Brothers Trilogy #1)
  • Hard Whispers
  • The Dagger (Kat Delaney, #1)
  • The Dying Trade (Cliff Hardy, #1)
  • Mistress Mine (Louise Saint-Quentin, #1)
  • The Trouble with Murder (Gourmet Cat Mystery #1)
  • The Onesies: Winter (Totlandia, #2)
  • The Joona Linna Thrillers 3-Book Bundle: The Hypnotist; The Nightmare; The Fire Witness
  • Coyote Alibi (Naomi Manymules mysteries Book 1)
  • Nights of Awe
See similar books…
104 followers
Michael Pronko is an award-winning, Tokyo-based writer of murder, memoir and music. His writings on Tokyo life and his taut character-driven mysteries have won critics’ awards and five-star reviews. Kirkus Reviews called his second novel, The Moving Blade, “An elegant balance of Japanese customs with American-style hard-boiled procedural” and selected it for their Best Books of 2018.

Michael also
...more

Other books in the series

Detective Hiroshi (2 books)
  • The Moving Blade (Detective Hiroshi, #2)