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The Moving Blade

(Detective Hiroshi #2)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  116 ratings  ·  43 reviews
When the top American diplomat in Tokyo, Bernard Mattson, is killed, he leaves more than a lifetime of successful Japan-American negotiations. He leaves a missing manuscript, boxes of research, a lost keynote speech and a tangled web of relations.

When his alluring daughter, Jamie, returns from America wanting answers, finding only threats, Detective Hiroshi Shimizu is dra
Kindle Edition, 339 pages
Published September 30th 2018 by Raked Gravel Press
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4.11  · 
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 ·  116 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
As I said about the series debut, sometimes the best books are those the reader stumbles upon by accident. Such is the case yet again with Michael Pronko’s second in this captivating series. After the death of Bernard Mattson, a high-ranking American in Japan, the authorities must determine what’s happened to him. A burglary at his home during the funeral only adds more mystery to the case, as well as a body left with obvious signs of a sword attack. Due to its foreign nature, Homicide Detective ...more
Whispering Stories
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book Reviewed on

The Moving Blade begins with a murder in Tokyo, the victim is an American. Bernard Mattson was a well-known diplomat in the Japanese metropole and known for his knowledge in art and Japanese History. The murder happened only a few days before Mattson was due to make an important speech. His speech and the manuscript of a book he was about to publish have mysteriously vanished.

Police officer Hiroshi and his colleague, an ex-sumo wrestler named Sakaguchi,
Patrick Sherriff
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan, crime-and-such
In the first book in the Detective Hiroshi series, Pronko lifted a rock from Japanese society and looked underneath to see what was squirming about. In this second, he stood on that rock to appraise dangers on the horizon. And what he found was American global power. Or, more specifically, the military bases that sit out of reach of the not-so-long arm of Japanese law. Did Pronko really go there? Sure, there was the obligatory spunky American victim whom English speaking readers could sympathise ...more
“A moving blade is unseen, hidden in the blur of motion, felt but not perceived.”

The Moving Blade is the second book in the Detective Hiroshi series, the sequel to The Last Train which I really enjoyed when I read it at the end of last year. I was thrilled to be offered an advance review copy of The Moving Blade by the author and I’m delighted to report that it was just as enjoyable as its predecessor.

What I really liked about The Last Train was the insight it gave the reader into Japanese cultu
Norm Goldman
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookpleasures
Author: Michael Pronko

Publisher: Raked Gravel Press 2018

ISBN: 978-1-9422410-16-4

With his recent tome, The Moving Blade: A Tokyo Mystery Michael Pronko has given his readers a great deal to chew on and digest. He has crafted a yarn that includes a well-respected American diplomat and expert on Japanese American relations, a corrupt member of Japan's bicameral legislature or as it is referred to as The National Diet, the transporting of nuclear waste as a result of the powerful earthquake and tsun
Reader Views
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (08/18)

“The Moving Blade” is an intriguing murder mystery and the second book in the Detective Hiroshi series by Michael Pronko.

Jamie Mattson planned a reunion with her father Bernard Mattson in Japan, where he was an American diplomat. Plans go awry after he is murdered, and she finds herself taking care of his funeral arrangements and handling his estate instead of the reunion. Her father’s home was also broken into and another murder has occurred whic
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, giveaways, asia
I won a free copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways.

Although it was slow at times, I liked the fact that this story explored Japan's present, how it relates to its WW2 past, and the effect the American occupation has on countries in the vicinity.
Billy Buttons
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5th September 2018
TITLE: The Moving Blade
AUTHOR: Michael Pronko
Star Rating: 5

‘A powerfully written crime novel; often stark and unsettling. Highly recommended!’

Firstly, I must say, I do enjoy a good murder/mystery novel, so I settled down with The Moving Blade (excellent title by the way) with high expectations of secretive characters, killings, and clever detective work. And, I’m happy to report, it was a most enjoyable novel.
The central premise is well-though
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What do a murdered American diplomat, a set of rare erotic Japanese wood block prints, and an agreement to keep American bases in Japan have in common?

That’s the question facing investigators in The Moving Blade, the second in Michael Pronko’s Detective Hiroshi series. The book opens with a break-in at the Tokyo home of diplomat Bernard Mattson during the victim’s own funeral. The experienced burglar quickly finds his target: two files from the deceased’s computer, which he downloads onto two US
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
The alive fish being eaten was just ew. I never knew people ate it like that. Learning new things every time I read the Author’s books.

I was surprised by Hiroshi attitude, he was really affected by what happened to him in the first book. You don’t need to read the first in the series, the second works as a standalone. You do get snippets here and there, referencing the first book.

Overall I am really enjoying this series. Be interesting to see where the Author takes it.

(Disclaimer: I received a f
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
‘“That’s why I want you over at Interpol. Use your brain, not your body.”

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 in Tokyo where he is
Paperback Paris
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, 4-star-ratings
When I'm perusing the bookstore, looking for the perfect read, let me tell you: I'm the last to choose anything in the mystery, crime and thriller section. I also knew absolutely nothing about Japanese culture or the dark underworld of Tokyo politics before this latest read. It's just never been my cup of tea… that is, until now. I was offered a chance to read Michael Pronko's The Moving Blade  and write a review with a bit of skepticism.

It is the second book in Pronko's Detective Hiroshi serie
Molly E.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This second book in the Detective Hiroshi series brings us back to Tokyo for a thrill ride hunt for a killer. The introverted and mildly hermit-like detective, Hiroshi Shimizu, is dragged out from behind his desk to hunt for the killer of an American in Tokyo. Hiroshi remains impacted by his previous case, where he nearly lost his life. Bernard Mattson is the United States’ diplomat to Japan with a successful career as well as some knowledge and secrets that may have led to his death. Mattson’s ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Moving Blade is a murder mystery novel written by Michael Pronko. This book is the second in the detective Hiroshi series. It takes place in Japan where it unfolds the drama surrounding the murder of an unidentified man. More excitement follows the murder, unraveling government conspiracy, corruption, and much conflict. The malfeasance runs deep, and it is up to detective Hiroshi and his colleagues to solve the case. Add in expertise, a cop who does his own thing, a beautiful woman, and a wh ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am an avid fan of murder mystery books and The Moving Blade by Michael Pronko didn’t disappoint. The book started off at a fast pace and kept me intrigued as I read through each page. Without coming out right away and saying it, the reader knows that the death of Bernard Mattson is anything but accidental or suicidal. The author does a great job in conveying the mystery of this death within the first two chapters of the book.

One thing that I found interesting with this book is that it is the s
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In "The Moving Blade," author Michael Pronko provides such a mysterious plot that would leave his readers on the edges of their seats, wanting to know what happens next. An action-packed scene sets the scene for the start of the book. We begin by bearing witness to a homicide over two USB thumb drives, stolen from the famous Bernard Mattson’s home, a wealthy and world diplomat seeking answers about the government to write a book. Unfortunately, due to his actions, someone took it upon themselves ...more
Alexander Pyles
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thrillers come in stacks upon stacks and very few seem all that noteworthy, but Michael Pronko, author of The Moving Blade, wants to stand out and he manages to succeed. The second part of a series, following the engaging The Last Train, the reader continues to follow Detective Hiroshi Shimizu as he is swept up in a Pacific region in turmoil after the US diplomat to Japan is murdered. The daughter of the diplomat, Jamie Mattson looks up Hiroshi and drags him from his office into the thick of a h ...more
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Moving Blade is a fast-paced detective/ murder mystery series based in Tokyo. Hiroshi, the detective, is a man that likes to stick to himself, but when he gets pulled into yet another crime, he leaps to the rescue. From the very beginning of the book I was invested in the characters, especially when you find out who keeps getting murdered, this is an on your toes thriller. To say that this book is suspenseful would be an understatement. The story and the characters will leave you on the edge ...more
Vigilant Reader
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Title – The Moving Blade
Author – Michael Pronko
Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Word Count 94,200
Rating 5 stars out of 5
No. 42 - 2018

My Impressions: Traditional Japanese culture, anti-American flavor. violent, fast paced.

Main Characters:
Bernard Mattson – Expert on Asian politics, lives in Tokyo
Jamie Mattson – Daughter of Bernard, lives in New York.
Det. Hiroshi Shimizu – Deals with international theft and scams. Lived in America.
Akiko – Hiroshi’s assistant.
Sakaquchi – Head of homicide,
Larry Piper
Jan 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This is part police procedural and part thriller. At least I think that's how one would characterize it. It's set in Japan. It seems someone, perhaps a derelict, was murdered in an alley with an expert slice of a samurai sword. Then a prominent American diplomat, Bernard Mattson was found dead in his house as a result of a sword cut. Perhaps, in Mattson's case, it was a suicide?

Mattson, it seems had spent many years living in Japan and had essentially become integrated in the daily life of the
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I didn't read the first book before this one. I was hoping I wouldn't be too lost coming in on the second book. This book stands well on it's own. I quickly got into the characters and story.

The main chracter, Detective Hiroshi, is a Japanese national who studied and lived in the U.S. for about 10 years. So he is comfortable dealing with Westerners and is pulled into a murder case which involves an American diplomat. This is a little out of his depth as
Paul Franco
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
In Tokyo a thief breaks into an American’s home during his funeral, stealing some computer files and adding some netsukes and money to his pocket. A tall foreigner follows him and takes him down with, of all things, a sword. That leads to a giant conspiracy of greed in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.
Found it difficult keeping the characters straight, as I am not used to Japanese surnames. That was a problem at the beginning, where everyone’s introduced, but also at the end, when Jam
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bravo, Michael Pronko!

Excellent sophomore entry in the Detective Hiroshi Shimizu series set in Tokyo—which is both a powerful character and the stage upon which human players perform. Happily, the protagonists are likable but flawed beings, each with weaknesses as well as strengths. I especially enjoyed the ex-Sumo wrestlers, Japanese swords expert, and the cunningly deadly murderer.

The fast-paced plot of this ambitious police procedural is complex and multilayered. The storyline includes grues
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the second book in the Hiroshi Shimizu series. The story centers around the detective as he investigates the death of an American diplomat.

Centered in Tokyo, this story gives us a feel for not only the city but how the cultural differences between U.S. culture and Japanese culture can be so different. For this reader, this is a great enjoyment to be immersed in the Japanese culture.

The only issue that I have with the story is that it slightly positions the U.S. military (and by extensio
A fascinating look at the differences and similarities of cops and the countries/populations they serve. Homicide Det. Hiroshi in Tokyo has hidden himself away in his office as he remains unable to deal with the problems begun a year ago when he very nearly died on a case that caused many problems for the men in his department. Now he's forced into a very messy case involving diplomats, people murdered horribly with ritual blades, the Americans, and multiple thefts of sensitive materials. All th ...more
James Baquet
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fluff
Although I gave this only four stars, it's much better than the first "Detective Hiroshi" book by the same author, which I rated the same. Pronko seems to have hit his stride: more complex plot, more rounded characters, and less Dan-Browny description getting in the way of the story. The only quibble is that, in both books in the series, the villain seems unstoppable--a little overdrawn.

Sadly, like the first book, the climax wasn't quite what I was hoping for. MILD SPOILER AHEAD. (view spoiler)
Jun 27, 2019 rated it liked it
This is generally a good story, but poorly written for the most part. There are far too many plot devices driving events. Not being a farce, the protagonists should not be making so many absolutely stupid decisions. To paraphrase an old saying, if you surprise attack me once, it's not my fault; surprise attack me over and over because of dumb decisions, well ...
Where are the analytic skills, wariness, memory of what happened in previous days (such as, um, murders)?
Having enjoyed Pronko's first H
Seth Sulkin
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it
OK for Japan mystery fans but could have been much better

The storyline was reasonably interesting and the writing wasn’t too bad but most of the book’s suspense is dependent on people doing stupid things or not doing what any reasonable people would do. Failing to answer the phone or return a call was responsible for much of the plot. This was way too lazy on the part of the author. He should fix these crutches and improve the story.
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, japan
A very good mystery. A little more violent than I was ready for, but fast paced and very engaging. It really had me on the edge of my seat. It did make me want to reread the first of this series. I didn't remember quite as well as I would have liked. I have always enjoyed Michael Pronko's essays about Japan. I'm delighted to find him branching out so successfully. I highly recommend.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Engaging mystery set in Tokyo

This book gives the reader a feel for Japanese customs and life as the mystery of why an American man living in Tokyo was murdered. It involves corruption and cover-ups at the highest levels of the government as well as the American military.
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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

Other books in the series

Detective Hiroshi (2 books)
  • The Last Train (Detective Hiroshi, #1)