Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Date Published: June, 2011
Reviewed by Lynne
Obtained via publisher.
Kenneth Harris grew up in Japan. Called a gaijin by the Japanese, he is considered ugly, with his thin frame, big nose, blond hair, and round, mismatched eyes. A popular children’s book illustrator, he has made a name for himself over the years. Fluent in Japanese, he is also well-skilled in the art of suburi, the traditional fencing training that uses a wooden sword.
One evening, Ken’s close childhood friend, Nishimura Ryu, heir to the Nishimura Construction Company fortune, convinces him to attend a Japanese wedding reception, where he meets the sexy and dangerous Shigure Matsunaga, captain of the Shinayawa-gumi, one of the most powerful gangs in Tokyo. Shigure, a man having been born on the wrong side of the tracks, fought his way to wealth and power as a Yakuza boss and soon finds himself attracted to Harris’s unique beauty. Determined to have Harris at all costs, he sets about doing just that, never realizing that one of his own would soon come between them, threatening their blooming romance.
When Harris is kidnapped and tortured by a vindictive staff member, the yakuza is beside himself and does everything at his disposal to find his precious gaijin. Despite all odds, Harris demonstrates his amazing inner strength, surviving to earn the respect of Shigure and his gang members, and to secure the everlasting affection of the powerful yakuza he adores.
YAKUZA PRIDE by H. J. Brues is an awesome read. Brues’ skill at putting the reader through every emotion - worry, fear, anger, romance, excitement, and more - is not to be missed. Her writing talents are wonderful. Her plotting is exceptional, and her use of descriptions and narrative as well.
I did get a bit tired, however, of so many love scenes in this story. Although they were well-written, I felt like I had to keep pausing as during a commercial until I got to the beefier parts of the story. They were graphic and spicy, but I didn’t feel they were necessary because the relationship between the yakuza and the gaijin had already been well established. The story was so good, I just didn’t feel that so many such scenes were necessary to hold the reader’s interest.
Brues does an excellent job of drawing the reader into the unique Japanese world, however, through the use of language and variety of culture. Taking the reader into the Japanese underworld is an exciting and wonderful adventure that few get to experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
The differences between the American gaijin and the Japanese yakuza were clearly shown and well-written. Suspense came in droves as you suffer with the poor gaijin who is abused and tortured in an act of sheer vengeance. Brues does a fabulous job in keeping you on the edge of your seat as you wonder what will happen next.
I liked the ending of this story and would love to see a sequel to this brilliant tale, perhaps set in America this time.
YAKUZA PRIDE by H. J. Brues is an exceptional read, and I give it five wows.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.