Tokyo Vice is a crime thriller series currently on HBO Max and based on the memoirs by Jake Adelstein. Set in 1999 Japan, it follows an American reporter working for a Japanese newspaper as he delves deep into Tokyo’s seedy underworld and the criminal kingdom of the yakuza.
All She Was Worth is a 1992 noir mystery written by Miyuki Miyabe, one of Japan’s most famous genre writers, including crime fiction. Taking place in the early 1990s, the novel captures the zeitgeist of the Bubble Economy of the 80s/early 90s, which would soon pop and led to the infamous “Lost Decade.”
Film noir is a tricky thing to define, and some still question whether it’s just a style relying on distinct lighting and shadow play or if it’s a genre unto its own. The term derived from French critic Nino Frank who, in 1946, saw many American crime movies like The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Double Indemnity (1944) for the first time, and dubbed them film noir – black films, both for their heavy use of shadows and dark subject matter.
A hardboiled detective seeks to unravel a noir mystery set against a cyberpunk, futuristic Los Angeles. The description conjures up images of Blade Runner, but it’s actually Dome City Blues by Jeff Edwards.
In 1928 Shanghai, a Chinese family named the Lees is brutally murdered while a disabled girl watches in horror, before falling victim herself. It’s up to Inspector Danilov and his sidekick Strachan to unravel this bizarre mystery. [Read more…] about City of Shadows Review & MJ Lee Interview
1930s Shanghai has long captivated people for its lurid underworld, usually presented in the form of the notorious Green Gang. However, there was a brief period in Old Shanghai where a new batch of gangsters rose to prominence, and their story is told in Paul French’s City of Devils.
Babylon Berlin returns for a third season, taking us back to the hectic and hedonistic days of 1929 Berlin. This season (or series as the Brits say; staffel fur die Deutschen) follows Detective Gereon Rath and his assistant/sidekick Charlotte Ritter as they investigate the strange murders on a movie set, committed by a mysterious and nightmarish Phantom. With them are enough side characters and subplots to give Deadwood a run for its money.
Moscow Investigator Arkady Renko is back for his ninth and possibly last book, The Siberian Dilemma by Martin Cruz Smith. As with all Arkady Renko books, it’s filled with murder, intrigue, and wry Russian humor.
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.