I fell in love with Rei Shimura and her world with the first book in the series. The Kizuna Coast is the eleventh book, and it's been six years since the last one. Welcome back, Rei!
The story plays out against the immediate aftermath of the 2011 March 11 Great Eastern Kanto Earthquake and massive tidal wave. The tsunami caused massive flooding, explosions, and fires in a nuclear power plant and a refinery. Almost 16,000 people died and another 2,000 were never found.
Most people would want to leave or never go to such a devastated area. In typical Rei fashion, she heads towards the area, and so, by another route, does her new husband, Michael. For Michael, it's his job; for Rei, she is desperate to learn if her elderly mentor, Yasushi Ishida, has survived. Her search for him leads to a non-earthquake related death almost buried in tsunami debris.
Where in the world do you start recovering from such devastation? Rei starts by chopping yams and onions to make hot soup for two hundred people. Massey brings this almost incomprehensible tragedy down to details like a toddler's flashing shoes and survivors being served their first cup of hot green tea.
Massey says in her introduction that though the usual mystery elements are here, this will be a different kind of book, and it is. All of Rei's wonderful relatives are here though more at a distance, frequently over cell phones or by text messages. Yes, this book is a little different from her other Rei books, but I don't find that a drawback. Read this one, and if you like Rei as much as I do, go back and read the other ten books.
Sujata Massey was born in England to parents from India and Germany. She earned her BA from the Johns Hopkins University. Her Rei Shimura mystery series came out of the time she lived in Japan. It has collected many mystery award nominations, including the Edgar, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark awards, and has won the Agatha and Macavity prizes for traditional mystery fiction. She also writes a Daughters of Bengal series, set in India. Visit her website.
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