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Susan Spann Books In Order

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Publication Order of Shinobi Mystery Books

Claws of the Cat (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blade of the Samurai (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Flask of the Drunken Master (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ninja's Daughter (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Betrayal at Iga (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Trial on Mount Koya (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ghost of the Bamboo Road (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fires of Edo (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Climb: Leaving Safe and Finding Strength on 100 Summits in Japan (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Susan Spann is an American author that writes historical fiction with an Asian Setting.


Susan Spann is best known for the Shinobi Mystery series, a collection of books that follow the exploits of an assassin whose new role as a bodyguard drives him to put his sleuthing skills to good use.

Spann has been telling stories since she was a child. She remembers being six years old and making up stories to keep her mind occupied as she did chores with her mother.

The author was an avid reader even back then. And her imagination was fueled by the fact that she read everything. It wasn’t just fantasy, science fiction and mystery novels that drew her interest but National Geographic and other forms of nonfiction.

By the time Susan Spann got to high school, her writing and storytelling abilities had begun to manifest prominently. She went so far as to take a short-story assignment for her class and turned it into an actual fantasy novel.

Spann has no intention of ever letting that novel see the light of day. She knows it wasn’t particularly good. But it showed her that writing a novel was possible. She also realized that she had a lot to learn.

Spann’s eventual publishing success was not only driven by the early manifestation of her storytelling abilities but also the fact that she had a thirst for different cultures. The author always wanted to explore what lay beyond her country’s borders and the people she knew.

Spann yearned to immerse herself in new traditions, cultures, and groups of people. That might explain why she poured so much of her effort into pursuing the history and cultures of China and Japan when she enrolled at Tufts University in Boston.

At the time, Spann had no idea how her passion for Asian history would impact her publishing future. She simply loved China and Japan and she was willing to expend effort to pursue those passions.

Following the acquisition of her degree in Asian Studies, though, the author saw fit to go to law school. And unlike many an author that have pursued degrees only to cast them aside in favor of writing and publishing, once Susan Spann graduated, she went on to actually practice law in California.

And the fact that she was such an avid reader eventually drove her to go into the publishing arena, primarily working on publishing contracts and dealing with matters related to intellectual property.

When the author finally decided to put pen to paper, she produced her series of mystery novels about a ninja from the 16th century who solves murders. The first book in the series earned Susan Spann plenty of recognition and accolades, this including being a finalist for the Silver Falchion Award.

The author has since become commonplace in mystery circles. Spann intrigues readers because her novels are so unique in their determination to approach the mystery genre through the lens of 16th century Japan.

There have been numerous historical mysteries produced over the years, but few have featured ninja assassins from the annals of Japan’s history. Spann rests easy knowing that she operates within a niche sub-genre.

Besides entertaining her readers, Spann also believes that her books educate them about the Japanese culture.

Susan Spann doesn’t spend all her time writing or even reading. When she isn’t producing more novels in the Shinobi series, she is practicing law. The author’s hobbies include martial arts, archery, and horseback riding.

Spann has a husband, a son, and a number of pets.

+Literary Career

Even though Susan Spann has been making up stories since she was six-years-old, it wasn’t until 2004 that she got serious about writing and publishing. Spann attended the Maui Writer’s Conference and it rejuvenated her interest in the business of fiction writing.

So she made it a point to write every single day. She even produced entire manuscripts which she quickly attempted to get published. The results were not that positive at the start.

But Spann wasn’t especially discouraged because she knew her skills were lacking. She also knew that with each manuscript, her writing abilities improved. So she just kept writing.

The author’s big break came in 2011. Spann’s first few manuscripts were basic historical fiction. It wasn’t until 2011 that the author decided to add some mystery into the mix. She remembers crafting her protagonist, a character called ‘Hiro Hattori’, first.

She was in her bathroom in 2011 when the idea of a ninja solving murders committed by other ninjas came to her. She wrote the first book and it got her a publishing contract.

Susan Spann does extensive research for her books. She mostly relies on her considerable collection of literary material on Asian culture.

She also knows a tour guide from Kyoto who helps her figure aspects of her story out. Spann works hard to walk that fine line between fact and fiction. Her protagonists are made up and so is the mystery of each book.

However, the events that surround each mystery actually happened. Spann doesn’t stray too far from historical occurrences. She wants her readers to garner educational information about Japanese culture from reading her books.

+Claws of the Cat

Hiro Hattori is a master ninja assassin with a problem. Hiro has pledged to protect a Jesuit priest by the names of Father Mateo. However, Father Mateo has seen fit to stand up for a beautiful geisha accused of murder.

A samurai was found dead in a Kyoto teahouse. His passing was not gentle and the samurai’s son is hell-bent on killing both the geisha who was found with his body and the priest standing up for her.

But Hiro can prevent further violence if he can investigate the murder and find the real killer. But Hiro has only three days to deliver results before the vengeful son takes action. Things are further complicated by all the suspects that begin to emerge, all of them with notable reasons for wanting the Samurai dead.

+Blade of the Samurai

When the Shogun’s cousin is stabbed to death in the Shogun’s palace, Kazu, the man whose personal dagger was used to commit the crime, runs to Hiro Hattori for help.

Hiro is a master ninja that has sworn to protect a Jesuit Priest by the names of Father Mateo. Both Hiro and Mateo are drawn into a hunt for a murderer who they must find before Kazu suffers the consequences for a crime he did not commit.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Susan Spann

3 Responses to “Susan Spann”

  1. s ruffman: 5 months ago

    Please keep writing Shinobi Mysteries! I’ve read the first 8 and hope for Many more. GREAT fun to be in Japan in that era,& with a cat named Gato. thx for the reading pleasure.

  2. E. L. Spann: 8 months ago

    This is one of the most interesting and exciting book series i have ever read. Can’t wait for the next book.
    I’m gonna guess that some of the reason i enjoy the series so much is because I had the privilege of actually having visited Japan. Spent a year there in the beginning of my Marine Corps career (1961-62). I loved everything about it. Please, just keep them coming.

  3. Wilma Dibelka: 2 years ago

    Have read all the Shinobi Mystery books availble to me, so far. Will read all those to come as soon as they are available (please keep on writing and I’ll continue reading as long as I last . I’m 92). Local small County library doesn’t yet have “Fires of Edo”, but I have suggested its purchase and all subsequent books in the series. They make me want to vist Japan, but only in the era of Hiro and Fr. Mateo. Thank you.


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