Thursday, May 23, 2019

Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann

Hello, everyone! If you've followed the blog for long, then you know I'm a fan of Susan Spann's fabulous Hiro Hattori series. Today I get to do something super fun and introduce you to the first in the series, Claws of the Cat, which, has just recently been released in paperback with a gorgeous new cover treatment. (Book two, Blade of the Samurai, is also out next week in paperback and book three, Flask of the Drunken Master, is out in paperback June 11.)

It’s early morning when visitors arrive at Father Mateo’s home. Early enough that Hiro, the samurai tasked with protecting Father Mateo, is immediately on guard. And his caution is well placed. A samurai has been murdered and the accused murderer herself has requested Father Mateo.

The crime is a brutal one and the authorities, led by the son of the murdered samurai, are certain the girl accused of the crime is responsible. But Father Mateo is equally certain she cannot be. And the evidence, including the manner of death, seems to point to her innocence as well as far as Hiro is concerned. But solving crimes isn’t Hiro’s job. Nor is it Father Mateo’s, for that matter. And yet, solving the crime is the only way to save an innocent girl and that is something Father Mateo is rather intent on!

The duo are given just two days to prove the girl’s innocence and find the real killer. If they fail, the son of the dead man vows to kill both the girl and Father Mateo.

While I’m normally a staunch reader of series in exact order, I came to these books with book two. Which actually worked out ok. Spann does a wonderful job of plotting and writing each installment so that it stands completely on its own or as a great starting point to the series.

But there is a running mystery through the series and that is who hired Hiro and why. Also, starting from the very beginning gives you the benefit of seeing the relationship between Hiro and Father Mateo build and grow as the series continues.

So the re-release of the first three books, is the perfect opportunity for me to back track and see what I've been missing - the introduction of Hiro and Father Mateo and their very first mystery together!

I've sung Spann's praises here time and time again and I don't think I'll ever stop. She is passionate about her subject and so carefully plots and details these books so that 1. the mystery is compelling and 2. every detail is true to the time and setting of the stories. Threads are subtly placed to carry the series from one story to the next, even though (as I already mentioned) they each stand alone. And the characters are so well rounded and richly built that spending time with them in each new book is a true treat!

If you're a mystery fan, do yourself a favor and dive into this series as soon as possible!

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