Shanghai Story by the great Alexa Kang is a historical epic in the vein of such classics as The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. Whereas those books concentrated on the well-represented European Theater of World War II, Kang’s trilogy will focus on the lesser-known Sino-Japanese War.
In modern-day Tokyo, an American businessman meets a grisly end underneath an oncoming subway train. But it was no accident. He was pushed, and furthermore, we know who did it. Michiko Suzuki, a seriously damaged young woman, is the murderer, but why did she do it? So begins The Last Train by Michael Pronko.
Calcutta, 1919 – In the sweltering Indian heat, a British civil servant is found brutally murdered with a note shoved in his mouth. The note is a warning to the British – quit India or else. Thus begins A Rising Man, a historical murder mystery and the first in the Sam Wyndham series by Abir Mukherjee.
1931 was an important year in Japanese history. Casual research of this era will have a brief overview of the invasion of Manchuria in September, and vague references to a coup d’état which put the Army in charge. In truth, there was no armed coup d’état in 1931, at least none that were successful. However, the March Incident (Sangatsu Jiken 三月事件) came close.
Sex Slaves of the Dragon Tong. With a title as lurid as that, how can you not be interested?
Tokyo Black by Andrew Warren has everything that thriller readers like. A burned ex-CIA operative hiding out in exile. High-stakes geopolitical tension. A gang of villains ready to kill anyone to bring out their plans. And most importantly, lots of action.
The Revolt 動乱 (Doran) is a Japanese movie from 1980 that seems like it was specifically made for me. It’s a sweeping historical drama set in 1930s Japan that deals with the internal politics of the Imperial Army and the two famous coup d’é tat attempts of 1932 and 1936.
As previously mentioned, I love San Francisco, noir, and the 1920s. Speakeasies, gangsters, and flappers – these might be clichés of the era but they’re what I love best about it. Wherever they appear, I’ll spend my money. Artist and writer Dan Cooney must have read my mind and created the Tommy Gun Dolls, a new graphic novel trilogy.
Edogawa Ranpo has become synonymous with Japanese horror and mystery fiction. Using a pen name based off of Edgar Allen Poe, (try saying it three times fast), the author Taro Hirai wrote many short stories and novels as Edogawa Ranpo (sometimes Romanized as Rampo). Like his namesake, Ranpo wrote mostly horror and mystery stories, basically introducing the genres into Japanese literature. While Ranpo has a plethora of material to choose from, here are my recommendations on where to start with his writing and films based off his work.