Top Suspense member Naomi Hirahara won an Edgar for Best Paperback Original for Snakeskin Shamisen, the third novel in her “reluctant” detective Mas Arai series, but that honor is only one of many in her literary career, which you can read more about here. The fourth entry in her series, BLOOD HINA, has just been released as a trade paperback and ebook.
Here’s the description:
Mas Arai’s best friend Haruo is getting married, and he has grudgingly agreed to serve as best man. But when an ancient Japanese doll display of Haruo’s fiancée goes missing, the wedding is called off with fingers pointed at Haruo. To solve the mystery to save Haruo’s life, Mas must untangle a web of secrecy, heart-breaking memories, and murder.
Naomi wrote the book, she says, because she “wanted to explore a number of topics. The most important one was love for the widowed and divorced in their twilight years. What does love the second time around look like in the circle of my older, crotchety Japanese gardener? In terms of setting, I wanted to take full advantage of a nonfiction book I had written on the history of the Southern California Flower Market in downtown Los Angeles. What I discovered was a tight-knit, nocturnal community that sold flowers underground while the rest of the world was sleeping. The contrast between the fragrant smell of the flowers versus the realities of industrial downtown L.A. is striking and rife with stories, especially crime-based ones. Last of all, I wanted to explore how people struggle with their addictions – gambling, substance abuse, and so on. This is such a reality for people of all walks of life, including those in Mas Arai’s world.”
Those goals have clearly resonated in BLOOD HINA, as praise continues to pour in from review magazines as well as authors who know the Asian community in the U.S.
“Edgar-winner Hirahara once again provides a sensitive insider’s view of the Japanese- American subculture in her fourth Mas Arai mystery.”—Publishers Weekly
“Written with heart and depth, and starring an Everyman for our time.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Mas Arai is a true original and one of my favorite characters in crime fiction. I love spending time in his world and I’m thrilled that he’s back—and at the top of his grumpy game.” —S.J. Rozan, Edgar-winning author of The Shanghai Moon
"Naomi Hirahara has done it again! It's wonderful to see reluctant detective Mas Arai back in action." —Lisa See, New York Times bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan