Thursday, July 9, 2015

Flask of the Drunken Master by Susan Spann

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Susan Spann's latest Shinobi mystery, Flask of the Drunken Master.

A man has been murdered and Hiro's friend Ginjiro stands accused. The victim was a fellow brewer whose son racked up a hefty debt with Ginjiro. Witnesses reported the seeing the dead man and Ginjiro arguing over exactly that matter the night before the body is found in Ginjiro's alley. Some even say that Ginjiro was heard threatening the dead man! 

Nevertheless, the evidence seems highly circumstantial to Hiro and Father Mateo who are both certain their friend is no killer. Though Hiro is somewhat reluctant to cross the investigating yoriki, the samurai is well aware that the man is more interested in a quick arrest rather than real justice. And since that quick arrest means ruining the life of a friend, Hiro and Father Mateo can't possibly stand by without helping.

Sake politics, a city on high alert for possibly spies, and an investigation with twists galore - all set in sixteenth century Kyoto! This third in Spann's series is clever and intriguing. If you're new to Spann's work, Flask can most definitely work as a stand alone or introduction to the series. And as with any good series you'll want to go back and read the previous installments as well. There are a few references to Blade of the Samurai, but nothing too spoilery should you choose to start with Flask.

Spann is the perfect figurative juggler. This is not only an historic setting, but a time/place/culture that few American readers are familiar with in any way. And it's a mystery. So that means that Spann has to put together a great plot (done), while continuing to grow her series characters (also done), and set a believable tone and setting for her readers (done fabulously). What's more, as I noted with the previous review, Spann's attention to detail is seemingly impeccable.

I don't know of anyone else in the mystery world tackling such an intricate and unique setting right now. If you're a fan of historicals and fun mysteries, I definitely suggest giving this series a try. They're not quite cozy but are light enough to appeal to both cozy and darker fans.

Rating: 4/5

To see more stops on the tour, which also includes posts on both Claws of the Cat and Blade of the Samurai be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Susan Spann and her work, you can check out her website here. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Finally, if you're in the Denver area Susan will be at the LoDo Tattered Cover for a reading and signing on July 16 and will be attending the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Writer of the Year Announcement Party (she's one of the nominees!) at Denver's Bookbar on Saturday, July 18.

Flask of the Drunken Master officially hits shelves July 14.


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I've recently developed an interest in Japanese settings so this series definitely appeals to me. I'm glad you can recommend it so highly!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

Unknown said...

Hi - I was wondering about this one. Your review answered a lot of questions I had. Thanks!
@dino0726 from 
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