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Down and out Japanese American gardener Mas Arai becomes a reluctant detective when the grandson of an old friend from Japan asks for help in tracking down his grand-uncle who disappeared after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. But now, a man living in Los Angeles has come forward claiming to be the missing man. But, Mas has secrets going back to the War that he does not want revealed as well and those secrets are coming back to bite.
The author has written several nonfiction books about Japanese Americans in California. Her deep knowledge and insight suffused this mystery with authenticity. This is the first book of a series which I hope to read more of.
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This is a good book, and it makes me want to read ones earlier in the series. Lots of great history of the Japanese in America, incarceration, marginailization, garden-making, Nissei, Issie, Kibei and intergenerational shifts and conflicts, wrapped in a compelling mystery . . . . But the book is relentlessly bleak. The detective's life has sunk past noir into irredeemable despair. It was hard to continue listening when it seemed nothing good could come of anything. I persevered because I'm interested, but it was in spite of the protagonist and his existential angst. I have heard that earlier episodes are far less bleak, so I'm going to check them out . . .