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.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 1997

ISBN: 0-385-48552-2

Page Count: 488

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1997

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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