Samurai books Other books

Death in Little Tokyo is an Anthony Award and Macavity Award winner, and it was nominated for an Agatha Award. It is set in 1990’s Los Angeles but explores a crime with roots in World War II. Because of its scope, this book was used as a text in at least two University multicultural programs.

The Toyotomi Blades was the Internet Critics' Association Best Mystery of the Year for 1996. It is set in 1990’s Japan and reveals a centuries old mystery while Ken Tanaka explores his Japanese roots. Library Journal said: "... authentic detail, gripping action, and lurking danger abound. A most involving and highly entertaining work; highly recommended."

Death in Little Tokyo

Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author - At last!  Here's a fictional sleuth with an authentic Asian-American voice.  Forget Charlie Chan and all the other fake-Asian detectives.  With his novel, Death in Little Tokyo, author Dale Furutani introduces readers to amateur sleuth Ken Tanaka, whose uniquely Asian point of view offers a refreshing new voice to the mystery scene.

Michael Nava, Lamba Award winning writer of The Death of Friends and The Hidden Law - In Death in Little Tokyo, Dale Furutani introduces Ken Tanaka, the first Asian-American detective created by an Asian-American writer in a wittily-written, tightly constructed story that weaves together such disparate elements as strippers, armchair detectives and Japanese-American survivors of World War II internment camps. Holding them together is Tanaka, a down-sized computer programmer on the wrong side of 40 who manages to be naïve and nervy and utterly charming. Ken Tanaka is definitely a detective for the ‘90’s and Death in Little Tokyo is an auspicious debut.

Brian Niiya, former Curator, Japanese American National Museum, and editor of Japanese American History - In Death in Little Tokyo, Dale Furutani introduces Ken Tanaka, a Sansei mystery fan in the midst of a mid-life crisis who accidentally becomes a real detective as he becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. In the course of spinning this entertaining story, Furutani brings the reader into the Japanese American community of the 1990s, a community dealing with cultural negotiation, identity conflicts, and echoes of concentration camps. Funny, smart, and thoroughly entertaining, Death in Little Tokyo is a blast to read.

I recognized and identified with Ken Tanaka and his uniquely Sansei mid-life crisis of sorts that brings on the adventures to come. Being a lifetime Angelino, I greatly enjoyed the tours of 1990s Los Angeles and Little Tokyo described in the book. I liked the overall "Japanese American-ness" of the characters and how culture and history contribute to the solving of the crime. I laughed out loud at several passages, most notably the descriptions of the cultural games Ken plays with the two Nisei women he interacts with. And its nice to see a seemingly healthy, non-exoticized romantic relationship between two contemporary Asian Americans.

The Toyotomi Blades

Library Journal review - Unemployed computer programmer Ken Tanaka, whose last case (Death in Little Tokyo) received attention in Japan, flies to Tokyo to be interviewed on a TV talk show. There, he becomes fascinated by a series of international robberies and murders tied to a group of 17th century engraved swords--one of which he happens to own. Yakuza-connected thugs, a Hawaiian sumo wrestler, a James Dean emulator, and Ken's own LA girlfriend add color to the Tokyo scenery, where authentic detail, gripping action, and lurking danger abound.

A most involving and highly entertaining work; highly recommended.

Internet Writers Journal - Out of work computer programmer and amateur sleuth Ken Tanaka gets invited to Japan to appear on television to discuss a murder he solved. His excitement at appearing on TV quickly turns to apprehension as Ken lands smack in the middle of a new mystery involving an ancient samurai sword that he bought at a garage sale in L.A, a hidden treasure and the Japanese Mafia. Speaking no Japanese yet looking like a native, Ken feels out of place in his ancestral homeland. When his actress girlfriend Mariko joins him in Tokyo Ken is thrilled - until it looks like she may also be drawn into the danger surrounding the mystery of the ancient samurai sword right along with him.

The Toyotomi Blades is the second book in this entertaining new series by Furutani featuring the first Asian-American fictional amateur detective. Written with a clear prose style, this fast-paced story is a joy to read. As the story follows Ken through Tokyo and the surrounding environs in a search for a centuries-old treasure, you can't help but fall for this lovable amateur detective with his unassuming personality and wry sense of humor. This book is just as much fun as Furutani's first book, Death in Little Tokyo. The character of Ken Tanaka is a delight to get to know, the mystery is intriguing and the details of a Japanese American's first look at Japan are a fascinating part of the story. If you haven't been introduced to Dale Furutani's mysteries, you are missing a real treat.