Book Review of the Week: Baudelaire’s Revenge

Baudelaire’s Revenge

Bob Van Laerhoven

Format: Kindle Edition

★★★★★ 5 stars

Dark and Compelling Tale of Mystery and Murder

In the world of 1870s Paris, wars are being fought on many fronts – France versus Prussia, the aristocracy versus the underprivileged, the police versus criminals felonious and petty. Police commissioner Lefevre seeks his respite in the arms of ladies of the night, and in one such venture, stumbles upon a murder that for Lefevre, commences a war against the forces of darkness and his own sanity.
At the heart of the story is the poet Charles Baudelaire, three years dead, a controversial figure for rejecting romanticism and influencing a generation of French poets. The murder Lefevre happens upon is linked to the dead poet. It’s an investigation that takes Lefevre and the reader on a unforgettable journey.
Baudelaire’s Revenge is a beautifully dark tale of many threads of history, philosophy, gastronomy and crime expertly interwoven. The author’s gift of vivid imagery expertly told transports the reader to Africa, the Orient and back to Paris’ mansions and gutters. Mysticism, idealism, incest, fraud and murder abound. It is a rich, gritty, novel ablaze with historic and literary detail that keeps the reader guessing, and entertained, to the last.

Joseph Mark Brewer is the author of the Shig Sato Mystery series. You’re invited to visit www.josephmarkbrewer.com and his page at Goodreads

B.B. King and Me

I don’t know B.B. King, I’ve never seen him in concert. I’ve listened to his music off and on since the mid-70s. I may have heard it earlier, but I can say with absolute certainty I became aware of his music during my stint as a music student in Kansas. I won a scholarship. I’m not  very musical. But I met musicians I admire, studied theory and composition, andBBKING__v1 heard lots of good live music of all stripes. At the time, many a guitar student was descending on Wichita State because guitar genius Jerry Hahn was teaching jazz guitar. I met some of these great student guitarists. They turned me on to B.B. King.

My creativity was born during that time. It later, withe time and experience, came to fruition, and I know that like pillars and beams, music and art are the pillars upon which my writing rests. Monet and Picasso and many others are the artists in on one beam. B.B. King is among the giants in the other.

I believe all art comes down to telling a story. In some cases it’s not so obvious what the ‘story’ might be. What is the story of Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’? Everything is open to interpretation. A book written hundreds of  years ago, read by thousands if not millions generation after generation, is reinterpreted from one age to another. In B.B. King’s case, what I heard was not music but a musician telling a story with notes: bending, crying, wailing, popping, staccato, meandering notes from his beloved Lucille.

In the years to come I would learn the craft of writing, work in journalism, and try my hand at fiction. Music and art continue to instruct and inspire. Some artists remain in my heart as teachers I can rely on to guide me through my art and my life. B.B. King is one such teacher. Music is the foundation of my creative process and Mr King a pillar. Always was. Always will be.

Joseph Mark Brewer is a journalist and author of the Shig Sato Mystery series. To get a copy of  The Gangster’s Son click here . To get a copy of  Shig Sato Book 2 The Thief’s Mistake visit www.josephmarkbrewer.com.

photo: universalfreepress.com

Book Review of the Week: Random Lucidity

RandomLucidity

Random Lucidty

Dave Adair

Format: Kindle Edition

★★★★★ 5 stars

Clever and Entertaining

Reggie Hatcher has a dream and is working hard to make it real – if only everyone in his life would cooperate. His dad, his girlfriend, the strange man he wants to mentor, the crazy woman who upsets everything, Reggie’s attempt to start his own literary agency and have a long-lasting relationship with the woman of his dreams becomes the stuff of David Adair’s Random Lucidity. And it is a literary thriller. Crazy characters, clever plot twists, impressive storytelling – Adair has it all in a very satisfying read.

What are you reading this weekend? Give this clever and entertaining story a try. Just click here.

Joseph Mark Brewer is the author of the Shig Sato Mystery series. To order his books and sign up for his newsletter, just visit www.josephmarkbrewer.com 

AUTHOR 2 AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Authors Mark Fine & Pamela Crane Reveal their Lives in Pursuit of the Art of Writing.

Joseph Mark Brewer:

Pursue the art. Never give up. I like what Mark and Pamela have to say.

Originally posted on Mark Fine | Ruminations:

The Pamela Crane & Mark Fine Interview

Find out what secrets each author reveals in this author-on-author interview between Mark Fine, author of the romantic historical drama The Zebra Affaire, and Pamela Crane, thriller writer of the best-selling The Admirer’s Secret.

Each an admirer of the other’s work, here are pictures of Pamela and Mark “presenting” each others respective novels:

Pamela Crane with Tinkerbell_Zebra copy          Mark Fine admiring Admirers Secret

A coin is flipped and Pamela agrees to be first questioned by Mark…

View original 1,580 more words

Shig Has Gone From Here to There

Hello Everyone!

For some time I’ve been thinking about Brave New Deadline and the role it plays in my writing life. I have always been a writer split between fiction and non-ficition. I cannot see having one without the other; that’s just how I am. My yin and my yang, as it were.

Brave New Deadline began life as a place on blogspot for random thoughts, essays and rants. As I developed an interest in publishing my stories and going the indie route, I knew I had a home for launching the adventure.

But now I’ve come to realize that the fiction and the non-fiction need their own homes. Separate bedrooms.  Whatever.

My good friend Shig Sato and his world, and all my other fiction – mystery, history, short, flash, and whatever is in between – can now be found at josephmarkbrewer.wordpress.com. Brave New Deadline will remain a place for comments, questions, concerns, essays, and other non-fiction scribbles. For the Shig Sato Mystery series, and another project in the pipeline for 2016 (!) please catch up on all the news at josephmarkbrewer.wordpress.com.

Thanks!

Joseph Mark Brewer is a journalist and author of the Shig Sato Mystery series. To get a copy of  The Gangster’s Son click here . To get a copy of  Shig Sato Book 2 The Thief’s Mistake visit his Smashwords page or Kindle page or visit his website www.josephmarkbrewer.com.

 

The World of Shig Sato: Women and Medicine in Japan

In the world of Shig Sato in 1991, our hero is dealing with the loss of his beloved police career due to forced retirement at age 60, But more importantly, he is mourning the death of his beloved wife, Miki, a physician who specialized in gerontology. Shig and Miki’s love was built on mutual respect, admiration, and dedication to serving others. Miki’s desire to become a doctor was born in the war years of the 1940s when as a young teen she helped out her uncle, a doctor, and aunt, a nurse, caring for wounded in the aftermath of the air raids in Nagoya and surrounding areas in her home prefecture of Aichi.Ginko Ogino

But was it a realistic goal for a young woman in the 1940s? Perhaps. The story of women in medicine Japan dates back as far as the ancient healers and midwives. Changes to modern Japan came after it opened itself to the West in the 1850s – the modern world came to Japan’s shores. This led to opportunities for determined women.  Ginko Ogino (pictured) was the first licensed and practicing woman physician in Japan in the 1880s, practicing obstetrics and gynecology. Kei Okama was the first Japanese woman to earn a degree in Western medicine, having studied at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania while she and her husband were in the United States. She graduated in 1889 and upon her return to Japan she worked at the Jikei University School of Medicine hospital and opened her own clinic. Like Ogino, Okama was married to a Japanese Christian.

Educational opportunities for women expanded in postwar Japan, but old traditions die hard. A young woman with intelligence, determination and drive faced a daunting academic and practical education in order to be a practicing physician. Prevailing misogynistic attitudes were always a challenge to overcome. And family pressures to marry and have children prevailed. Perhaps Miki Sato was born at the right time – when she began her medical studies in the early 1950s, fewer barriers existed than during the time of Ogino and Okama. Perhaps she met the right man: Shig Sato came from a family of strong women he respected and admired. Still, the economic boom that helped lead Japan to the join Western democracies was still decades away. Miki, and her country, were finding their way in the modern world.

To get a copy of  The Gangster’s Son click here . To get a copy of  Shig Sato Book 2 The Thief’s Mistake visit my Smashwords page or Kindle page or visit my website www.josephmarkbrewer.com — and don’t forget to sign up for my monthly newsletter.  See you soon!

The World of Shig Sato: Ses Fujimori and the yakuza

Yakuza.

In some countries it’s called tong, triad, mafia, la cosa nostra — in Japan it’s yakuza. Organized crime. As an institution, it is a part of the fabric of Japanese life. For an individual, yakuza means many things: outcast, criminal, brother, compatriot.

But what is yakuza? Our hero Shig Sato’s closest childhood friend is Ses Fujimori, boss of a powerful yakuza clan, a position not just inherited from his father, Key Fujimori, but earned by Ses’s ruthlessness and business acumen. The Japanese police, and media by request of the police, call yakuza “bōryokudan” – violence groups – degenerate, violent gangsters with no sense of tradition or honor. Yakuza consider this an insult. They refer to themselves as “ninkyō dantai” – chivalrous organizations. Members often have elaborate tattoos, sometimes covering most of their body.yak

These organizations – often called clans, or families – in the Tokyo of 1991 view themselves much as Ses Fujimori does in the fictitious Shig Sato mysteries: legitimate businesses and charitable organizations, motivated by nothing but concern for the public good. The yakuza response to the 2011 tsunami and the 1995 Kobe earthquake are well documented. But so are the criminal aspects: Extortion, loan-sharking, day-labor contracting, drug-trafficking and blackmail all fall under the various clans’ control. It is gambling that is at the root of yakuza – the name comes from the worst hand possible in a card game (a reflection of the low opinion society views the men and the organizations).

Some say yakuza dates back to the 17th century and ronin – masterless samurai. Authorities knew roving bands of the “kabuki-mono” – crazy ones – were troublesome and were intensely loyal to one another. Some say the men viewed themselves as honorable, Robin Hood-like characters who protected towns and citizens. These gangs of men, among them some gamblers and some peddlers, gradually organized into clans, or families, adopting roles of  leader/father and follower/child. Gambling, prostitution – legal and sometimes encouraged from time to time by the government of the day – were businesses the yakuza controlled. In the Shig Sato series, gambling is the activity that built the Fujimori empire, from its humble beginnings in Kawasaki in the late 1800s to its nearly untouchable status as a quasi-legitimate business empire 100 years later.

Shig Sato’s  sense of giri – obligation – is central to who he is. This includes honoring his relationship with yakuza kingpins Key and Ses Fujimori. And Sato must reckon with this situation as he begins his new life as a reluctant P.I.

Next time: Miki Sato and women in medicine in Japan

To get a copy of  The Gangster’s Son click here . To get a copy of  Shig Sato Book 2 The Thief’s Mistake visit my Smashwords page or Kindle page or visit my website www.josephmarkbrewer.com — and don’t forget to sign up for my monthly newsletter.  See you soon!

The World of Shig Sato: Japan Inc.

Tokyo, 1991.

Our hero Shig Sato suffers a double whammy that summer. When he closes the file on the murder of Kimi Yamada, he never returns to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. He accepts his forced retirement, but that is an afterthought as he tends to his beloved wife Miki during her final days. Her death and his retirement wounds Sato in ways he has yet to work out as Book 2, The Thief’s Mistake, begins.

And for Japan: 1991 is the beginning of the end of the Bubble Economy. Before long, the country will change from high times to The Lost Decade.

What happened? It helps to know a little something about Japan Inc.

Japan Inc.

Tokyo-picsIt’s no secret that Japanese business and government work hand-in-hand to help bring prosperity to the island nation, especially back during the post-war recovery years. The Ministry of Finance, which sets monetary police and indirectly controls the Bank of Japan, and the (then) Ministry of Industrial Trade and Industry, are key partners. Chief among the business organizations is the Keidanren.

Monetary policy going back to 1985 set in motion land speculation, and the Nikkei stock market soared – from 13,000 in late 1985 to a historic high of 38,957 in late 1989. But within a year, the stock market lost 35% of its value, land prices stagnated, and a strong yen and tight money controls became the norm. Political scandals rocked the long-established political elite, and a new generation of business and social leaders demanded to be heard. In the years to come, what the world knows as Japan Inc. lost much of its luster.

As the Shig Sato series begins, forty-plus years after the end of WWII, Japan has a new emperor and the nation has a new vision of the future. But change is an awesome thing. For some, prosperity ended and their lives shifted to uncertainty. For Shig Sato, will his new life as a reluctant P.I. match the lost decade to come?

Next time: Ses Fujimoiri and the yakuza

To get a copy of  The Gangster’s Son click here . To get a copy of  Shig Sato Book 2 The Thief’s Mistake visit my Smashwords page or Kindle page or visit my website  www.josephmarkbrewer.com — and don’t forget to sign up for my monthly newsletter.  See you soon!

 

The World of Shig Sato

Do you remember where you were in 1991? Some of you do, of course, and some of you don’t. And one of the great thrills of reading is being taken to a time and place you may never have been: Paris, 1870; Dublin, 1904; Rome, 30 A.D.; A galaxy far far away — stories take us to memorable places with people and creatures that entertain us for hours.

View_of_Tokyo_Roppongi_Hills_downtown_from_Mori_TowerIn the Shig Sato Mystery series, the reader enters the world of Tokyo, 1991. A world capital, a center for government, entertainment, industry, diplomacy, a cavalcade of characters from the world over stepped onto the shores of the Land of the Rising Sun. It was a time of Japan Inc., riding an economic boom, the nation making its mark as an industrial leader. A city and a nation with a new emperor, a new vision for the future.

japan_imperial_palace_217304The world of Shig Sato was unique: a long-serving, highly respected police inspector, Sato returned to Azabu Police Station after two years of diplomatic security detail and security assignments for the Imperial Household Agency. Sato’s world was heart of Tokyo – the Imperial Palace, Roppongi, the embassy districts, and Sato knows every inch of it.

Roppongi: served by Sato’s beloved Azabu Police Station, isn’t so different now than it was in 1991. And Sato knew that among many of the foreigners out for a good time in that nightclub district were American servicemen, including some stationed with the U.S. Navy and Marine forces in Yokosuka, 37 miles down the coast. In the Shig Sato mystery The Gangster’s Son, Kimi Yamada’s beloved Cpl. Charlie Parker Jones is a Marine stationed on a American ship at the Navy base.

Sato’s return to Azabu Police station, the murder of Kimi Yamada, and his journey to finding the truth about her killer and himself make The Gangster’s Son “A highly readable murder novel with authentic Japanese flavor and a fresh, intelligent plot,” “Unique,” “Gritty. ”

Next time: Tokyo Inc.

To get a copy of my ebook mystery The Gangster’s Son click here . To get the latest news on Shig Sato Book 2 visit my website  www.josephmarkbrewer.com — and sign up for my monthly newsletter.  See you soon!