In his second outing, Tokyo p.i. Kazuo Mori (Silent Thunder, 1992) unwittingly takes on some of modern Japan's most powerful constituencies: organized crime, the shadowy figures who move in- country securities markets, and cultists. When asked by a casual friend to investigate the mysterious death of his daughter, Mori gets appreciably more than he bargained for. The trail soon leads him to a quasi-religious sect called Peace Technology, whose charismatic but unstable sansei is known only as Ono. In search of answers, the stubbornly independent detective (who was expelled from a prestigious university 25 years earlier for his radicalism) infiltrates the group. At the same time, Rick Mitchell, an ambitious young Yorkshireman working as a junior analyst in the Tokyo branch of an American brokerage firm, is ordered by his flamboyant boss Terumasa Yazawa to draft an upbeat report on Otaman Corp., a down-at-the-heels trading house that's about to float a megabuck bond issue. Worried, Mitch checks more closely on the uncommunicative company. What he doesn't learn until almost too late is that the fast-fading mini-conglomerate has effectively been taken over by the Yakuza (Dai Nihon's Mafia), which is using it as cover for the manufacture of a designer drug dubbed ``Buddha Kiss.'' Ono is in on the deal as well, using the hallucinogenic downer as a means of keeping his followers in line. Mitch, getting too close to the truth with his independent inquiries, is abducted and spirited to Oshima, an island in the Sagami Sea where Mori is undergoing indoctrination with other Peace Technology recruits. Marked for liquidation, Mori and Mitchell join forces at the eleventh hour to escape the clutches of their captors and liberate the brainwashed cultists. Another engrossing and illuminating thriller from Tasker, an expatriate British securities executive who understands that the world's most homogeneous and obedient society has a rather full measure of outlaws.