Traitors and Lies is the third in the Shig Sato mystery series. I’ve read all three and enjoy Sato’s investigative skills as well as author Joseph Mark Brewer’s grasp of Japanese culture. In this book Brewer combines Russian gangsters with the usual Japanese underworld characters. This makes for an action packed read. Coupled with the criminals and their activity is the mystery of a body floating in Tokyo Bay minus head and hands.
Beginning with the execution of a Russian spy by an assassin known as The Wolf and followed by the discovery of a headless and handless body the stage is set for a mysterious investigation. Shig Sato is preparing to leave Takatsu after a memorial service for his late wife when an old man from the village, Mori, arrives to tell of overhearing a conversation about the discovery of the corpse found in Tokyo Bay. Sato’s curiosity is peaked.
Then the story jumps to Daryl Bennett, a US Naval officer who is soon revealed to be in collusion with Russians, supplying them with information. En route to meet his “handler” he recalls how he became involved in his situation; a situation he has come to regret.
As the story unfolds the tangled skeins of the seemingly diverse occurrences begin to unwind under the skillful investigation of Shig Sato and his partner Ken Abe. Characters from earlier Sato mysteries return in full force adding to the mystery. The Kobayashi twins, police detective Mo Kato, the Fujimori’s, and even Kazuo Takahashi, a wealthy man who has Sato on retainer.
Separating these tangled relationships and laying them out in an exciting and complex story, Brewer captures the reader’s interest and holds it throughout. Following the elusive connections between the characters, from the US Embassy and Navy to Russian gangsters, and Japanese criminals, Sato manages to figure out what is happening, identifies the mutilated white corpse, and how these are all related.
You can almost hear the ticking of Sato’s brain as he puts the pieces of the puzzle together. He is a little Sherlock Holmes and a little Hercule Poirot. Add the unique world of the Japanese and you have a well plotted mystery.
There a few minor editing issues in the book but they in no way affected my enjoyment of the story. This is definitely a great book for any mystery lover.