The Moving Blade by Michael Pronko – Book Review

The Moving Blade by Michael Pronko – Book Review

The Moving Blade by Michael Pronko

The Moving Blade

Author – Michael Pronko
Publisher – Raked Gravel Press
Pages – 320
Released – 30th August 2018
ISBN-13 – 978-1942410164
Format – ebook, paperback
Reviewer – Kerstin
Rating – 4 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
This post contains affiliate links.


When the top American diplomat in Tokyo, Bernard Mattson, is killed, he leaves more than a lifetime of successful Japan-American negotiations. He leaves a missing manuscript, boxes of research, a lost keynote speech and a tangled web of relations.

When his alluring daughter, Jamie, returns from America wanting answers, finding only threats, Detective Hiroshi Shimizu is dragged from the safe confines of his office into the street-level realities of Pacific Rim politics.

With help from ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi, Hiroshi searches for the killer from Tokyo’s back alley bars to government offices, through anti-nuke protests to the gates of an American naval base. When two more bodies turn up, Hiroshi must choose between desire and duty, violence or procedure, before the killer silences his next victim.

Review 2017

The Moving Blade begins with a murder in Tokyo, the victim is an American. Bernard Mattson was a well-known diplomat in the Japanese metropole and known for his knowledge in art and Japanese History. The murder happened only a few days before Mattson was due to make an important speech. His speech and the manuscript of a book he was about to publish have mysteriously vanished.

Police officer Hiroshi and his colleague, an ex-sumo wrestler named Sakaguchi, were assigned to the case and started searching for the killer and the missing documents. Mattson’s daughter Jamie returns from America for the funeral. After the house has been searched by robbers during the funeral and people telling her about her father’s missing manuscript and speech, Jamie is determined to find both to save his legacy.

Their investigation leads them from hidden bars in dirty back alleys to government offices. Who killed Bernard Mattson and why? What secrets was he about to publish with his book?

I have never read a book where the plot took place in Japan. So that was a first for me. Luckily, it was an exciting journey. The author knows how to build up tension. He is very good with words, which makes the book a fascinating read. I like how the story unfolds itself with every new chapter. Same with the characters, who are likeable and give you a realistic impression of Japanese culture and its mannerisms.

Detective Hiroshi comes across as a well-educated and friendly person without missing the odd characteristics that make us human.

This book is the second book in a series about Detective Hiroshi but you can read it as a stand-alone. Chances are good that you want to read more about Hiroshi and dive deep into the series which is hopefully growing with another book in the future. If you are into well-plotted and enthralling crime stories, you are going to enjoy this one.

Book Reviewer – Kerstin

Purchase online from:

About the Author

Michael Pronko The Moving Blade

Michael Pronko has lived in Tokyo for twenty years, but was born in Kansas City, a very different world. After graduating from Brown University in philosophy, he hit the road, traveling around the world for two years working odd jobs. He went back to school for a Master’s in Education, and then took a teaching position in Beijing. For two years, he taught English, traveled China and wrote.

After more traveling and two more degrees, another M.A. in Comparative Literature in Madison, Wisconsin and a PhD in English at the University of Kent at Canterbury, he finally settled in Tokyo as a professor of American Literature at Meiji Gakuin University.

Pronko has published three award-winning collections of essays: Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo (Raked Gravel Press 2015), Tokyo’s Mystery Deepens (Raked Gravel Press 2014), and Beauty and Chaos: Essays on Tokyo (Raked Gravel Press 2014).

He has published books in Japanese and two textbooks in both English and Japanese. Over the years in Tokyo, he has written regular columns for many publications: The Japan Times, Newsweek Japan, Jazznin, ST Shukan, Jazz Colo[u]rs, and Artscape Japan.

facebook new

Website blue

What did you think of the book? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links. All money received goes back into the blog and helps to keep it running. Thank you.

Like us on Facebook – Tweet us on Twitter – Pin us on Pinterest

If you enjoyed our post please feel free to share it using the social media links below.

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. Great review Kerstin, this is the first time I have heard or seen this book and it looks and sounds like a very intriguing and great book. I am really glad you fully enjoyed reading this book, thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.

  2. DJ Sakata says:

    I would have had a hard time getting pasted that cover to take the book seriously. I would have passed right by without your review

  3. Gemma says:

    That cover is pretty creepy but the premise sounds good. Thanks for the review.

  4. Robin Loves Reading says:

    Great review. That cover gave me a double take.