Author: Susan Spann
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Autumn, 1565: After fleeing Kyoto, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo take refuge with Hiro's ninja clan in the mountains of Iga province. But when an ambassador from the rival Koga clan is murdered during peace negotiations, Hiro and Father Mateo must find the killer in time to prevent a war between the ninja clans.
With every suspect a trained assassin, and the evidence incriminating not only Hiro's commander, the infamous ninja Hattori Hanz, but also Hiro's mother and his former lover, the detectives must struggle to find the truth in a village where deceit is a cultivated art. As tensions rise, the killer strikes again, and Hiro finds himself forced to choose between his family and his honor.
Betrayal at IGA is a fantastic historical mystery that fans old and new are going to love. This is the fifth installment in the Shinobi Mystery series, but I don't think you really need to read any of the previous books to enjoy this one. I haven't read any of the other ones, but I had no problem keeping up with the characters and the plot. I would like to get to know the characters better and to see how their relationship began and grew to where they are at in the series. There are several great aspects to this novel and not much of any negatives for me. The only thing I want to mention is the author's use of the third person, which is not one of my favorite styles. It seemed to work well in this story though, and didn't really bother me once I got used to it. I definitely recommend this book for fans of historical fiction, mystery, suspense, and cultural fiction - specifically Japan.
Characters: The main characters - Hiro and Father Mateo - are wonderful and have a great dynamic. Each one has their strengths and weaknesses, but they seem to complement one another. I love that they are so different - Hiro is a master ninja from Japan and Father Mateo is a priest from Portugal, but they share a love of solving mysteries and crimes, getting to the bottom of things, and fighting for justice. Both are smart, strong, determined, brave, and attentive to detail. I liked watching their partnership and friendship deepen throughout the book.
Setting: The setting is 1565 Japan, which I found fascinating. I don't know much about Japan's history, so getting to learn about it from the story was great. I never would have thought I could "see" this interesting place, but the author managed to bring it to life in front of my eyes. There is such attention to detail - vivid imagery and descriptions - that I could easily picture myself beside Hiro and Father Mateo. This is a hard skill to master, but the author did it with ease and imagination.
Plot: Political intrigue, murder, and lots of suspects come together to create a suspenseful and thrilling mystery. I love the genre and always try to figure things out before the characters do, but I couldn't quite pin it down with this one. There were twists and turns I didn't see coming, which made things all the more confusing until the ending revealed the truth.
Susan Spann’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:Monday, July 10th: Suzy Approved – author guest post
Thursday, July 13th: Clues & Reviews
Monday, July 17th: Reading Reality
Tuesday, July 18th: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, July 19th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, July 20th: Buried Under Books
Monday, July 24th: Write Read Life
Tuesday, July 25th: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Wednesday, July 26th: Mama Vicky Says
Thursday, July 27th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Friday, July 28th: Hoser’s Blook
Monday, July 31st: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, August 1st: A Dream Within a Dream
Wednesday, August 2nd: Jathan & Heather
Thursday, August 3rd: Open Book Society
Friday, August 4th: Book Dilettante
TBD: In Bed With Books