by Terrance Mc Arthur
Details on how to win a copy of Year of the Demon at the end of this post.
In Steve Bein’s Year of the Demon (a novel of the Fated Blades), American-raised Detective Sergeant Mariko Oshiro has new responsibilities in Japan’s Narcotics force, resentment from other law enforcement officers because she exposed corruption in a major precinct and a price on her head. A Yakuza Under-Lord will call off the assassins if she will retrieve a strange mask that was stolen during a drug raid on his office. The thieves have also taken her semi-magical, highly-principled sword, a weapon that can kill in defense but will not murder in anger.
Mariko follows police procedures and force-guided hunches through a maze of suicide cultists, snitches, terrorists, mystical journals of her late mentor and warriors who seem to penetrate walls and windows.
That is just the modern-day part of the second book in the series (after Daughter of the Sword). There are also chunks of historical intrigue not only in the past, but in the past of the past. There are samurai, ninjas, naked pearl-diving women, ronin (unattached samurai for hire), cripples (physical and spiritual), historical titans of Japanese history, sex and a mask and a sword–yes, that mask and that sword–that which seems have a connection beyond reality’s grasp, tempting the mask owners to possess swords made by a legendary maker of weapons.
I could go for an entire book about the one-handed diver and her struggle to break free from the village that stifles her and the step-sisters that torment her. The samurai noble’s efforts to achieve manhood and outwit a manipulative adversary who wants the respect that the warriors have, are fascinating mind games. Mariko’s quest for the thieves and her race to stop a terrorist reign of violence is worthy of concentration and study to find the links to the events of ages ago.
There is violence, torture, sex and casual cruelty. At times, you want to shout at the pages, “Hey! Isn’t this supposed to be a police procedural with paranormal elements? Enough with the samurai’s code of honor! Catch the bad guys, already!”
The unfamiliarity of the Japanese settings in all the time frames makes it interesting, and sets up the cultural conflicts of a modern woman in a land with ancient roots.
Check out more fantasy & horror book reviews in our fantasy and fangs section.
To enter to win a copy of Year of the Demon, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Demon,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 2, 2013. U.S. residents only.