This is Book 2 in The Way of the Yakuza series
Title: Yakuza Courage
Author: H.J. Brues
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Ex-Navy SEAL Brendan O’Farrihy enrolls in kendo classes to investigate a Honolulu dojo acting as a front for a yakuza syndicate. Or at least that’s what Brendan’s client, Senator Harris, believes. Through his kendo instructor, the cocky, short-fused, gorgeous Kinosuke Yonekawa, Brendan learns the criminals who are supposedly using the senator’s son, Kenneth, to expand their activities into the US, seem to have severed any yakuza connections. The jaded, soul-scarred former soldier is captivated by the loyalty these gangsters show each other and the way they protect Ken like a tight military unit. Brendan wonders why the senator lied to him, and what the yakuza are shielding Ken from.
When Ken disappears, Brendan suspects foul play and decides to help the man he is falling for, Kinosuke, and his friends, find Ken. But when Kinosuke discovers Brendan has been on the senator’s payroll, all bets are off.
Love, love, loved this book. I started it one evening and couldn’t put it down. I don’t even know where to start!
Let’s begin with the culture. I am not an aficionado of Japanese culture by any means. I have picked up a few things here and there from yaoi and my daughter’s anime, but by and large I am (was) fairly ignorant. Yakuza Courage immerses you in Japanese culture and Hawaiian culture, helping to give you a real sense of place. I never felt like I was getting an info dump and yet never felt lost among the terms and customs either. The pride and honour that the Japanese people, and the yakuza in particular, carry is so different from our western culture. The transition from Japan to Hawaii was harder than they thought it would be.
Which brings us to our Kinosuke; he is such a fish out of water, you see him struggle and make mistakes and it makes him real. Brendan was such a great foil for him. I liked that even though Kinosuke had never been with a guy before, he didn’t agonize over his attraction to Brendan after he realized that was what it was. He struggled with the label, but it was more about privacy than homophobia or denying his attraction. Brendan was a full multidimensional character as well. Not perfect and recovering from his own past traumas and yet finding something Kinosuke that spoke to him.
The rest of the cast of characters were also rich and fully fleshed out. The mission they end up on worthy of a movie all its own. I found the story gripping and balanced; the pacing was perfect and the ending happy and hopeful with room for a third book.
I highly recommend!
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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