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Naomi Hirahara Books In Order

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Publication Order of Japantown Mystery Books

Publication Order of Leilani Santiago Hawai'i Mystery Books

Iced in Paradise (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
An Eternal Lei (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Mas Arai Books

Summer of the Big Bachi (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gasa-Gasa Girl (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Snakeskin Shamisen (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blood Hina (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Strawberry Yellow (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sayonara Slam (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hiroshima Boy (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Officer Ellie Rush Books

Murder on Bamboo Lane (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Grave on Grand Avenue (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Distinguished Asian American Business Leaders (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Life After Manzanar (With: Heather C. Lindquist,Art Hansen) (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Scent of Flowers (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
We Are Here (With: ILLI Ferandez) (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Darker Mask(2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder in La-La Land(2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Los Angeles Noir 2(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shaken: Stories for Japan(2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Writing Crime Fiction(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Writes of Passage(2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ladies' Night(2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Asian Pulp(2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Santa Cruz Noir(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gary Phillips' Hollis for Hire(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stop the World: Snapshots from a Pandemic(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Silver Waves of Summer(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Crime Hits Home(2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
South Central Noir(2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Black Cat Weekly #96(2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
Killin’ Time in San Diego: Bouchercon Anthology 2023(2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Naomi Hirahara is an award-winning American author of general fiction, history, children, and mystery books. She was born in Pasadena, California in 1962 and attended elementary school in Altadena, later on, graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in international relations with her focus being Africa. Hirahara has volunteered to work in Ghana, Africa during her early years under the YWCA. She currently resides in California with her husband.

The author has won a couple of awards such as the Edgar award in 2007 and the t. Jefferson Parker mystery award. She is credited with some publications among them journals, personal papers, and novels. Hirahara was awarded the Edgar Poe award for her third book in her Mas Aria series, Snakeskin Shamisen. Hirahara’s the second book in Officer Ellie Rush Mystery series won The T Jefferson Parker mystery award. Her writing has been based on creativity and originality as seen in her many publications from the start of her practice in this field.

Summer of the Big Bachi

Summer of Big Bachi is the first book in the Mas Arai mystery first published in 2004. The book has its setting during the Second World War period after the atomic bombing of Japan by the United States of America. Naomi Hirahara tries to have the reader see the culture that existed between the two states and more so the tension that was already there politically after the bombing instance.

Mas Arai comes to America in search of a better life in the chase for the American dream. Things, however, do not go as he has planned and this makes him very upset. The author uses the first part of this book to introduce the reader to her protagonist, Mas who is educated but refuses to find any decent work where instead he chooses to work as a gardener. Note that the character has some bitterness concerning his past life and seems to have a lot that he wants to keep away from the world.

He has a daughter though his wife died some years back, and he never meets with his daughter all through the book. The second part of this book introduced the mystery where it kicks off with the murder of Joji (Mas’s friend). This threatens Mas life due to something that happened earlier on Hiroshima in 1945. Mas is a secretive person and seems to have hidden a lot from the world as he tries to build a new life for himself.

As he tries to solve, the murder things turn soar as he discovers more sinister things such as stolen identities, greed and a couple of illegal activities which all point out to the Koreans. Hirahara tries to show the difficulty that existed for the Japanese in America trying to make a living against a past that was bitter. Though he seems to be running away from a vast and dark past, he is forced to go into it so that he can unravel the truth. Though he is seen to have done bad things in the past, his determination to make things right not only for his family but also for the victim gives the other side of his character. The author’s merging of these two sides of the cast is excellent and helps in identifying the struggles and more so giving you a clue of how post Second World War life was like and what it meant for the Japanese living in America.

Naomi Hirahara’s story puts more emphasis on the issues of family, work ethics, and concepts such as the Bachi which merely implies that what goes around comes around, and education. Summer of the Big Bachi is a book worth reading as it has a load of information on the post-war life and of course a mystery that creates suspense and curiosity for a reader.

Gasa-Gasa Girl

Gasa-Gasa Girl is the second book in the Mas Arai mystery series by Naomi Hirahara. It’s a book that focuses on family and mystery. Mas Arai the main character has a daughter Mari who he never has time for even though he was trying to find for them by concentrating on work.

He is called on by his relentless daughter, and it’s a phone call that makes him travel to New York where his daughter lives. Maneuvering in the city that he does not know, living with a sickly child, and trying to bond with her daughter’s husband are minor problems before he stumbles upon a body in a former koi pond’s rumble.

From his past such instances, Mas senses that there is more than the police can see concerning the death of this half-Japanese millionaire who is also `the boss of his daughter and her husband. However, despite knowing this, he decides to keep it to himself and only contribute when he is requested to do so. He chooses to help if this matter happens to touch on his daughter, Mari. With time he uncovers a dangerous secret concerning the case
The author has touched a lot regarding family and culture in this book where she points out the cultural difference that exists between the Americans and the Japanese. The story has an incredible flow where the reader has the chance to see the setting, characters, and events through the eyes of Arai. The story sets out a mystery that is solved slowly as you move along through the connection of events, characters, and functions.

The setting is one that is excellent giving an almost real-life situation about what has begotten Mas’s family and the events that surround the incidence. Naomi Hirahara has emphasized on family and the struggles that her protagonist goes through to ensure that he has found justice for the daughter who has been accused of the murder of her boss.

The investigative role that Mai plays helps in exposing a lot about what seems to be going on in America at that particular time. The characters in the story and the roles they play are so natural that one is curious to check into the book to uncover what is happening and many have pointed it as exciting and a worth reading piece.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Naomi Hirahara

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