Tuesday, 29 November 2016


Image result for painted doll by jonelle patrick
Advanced Review: Painted Doll An Only in Tokyo Mystery
Author: Jonelle Patrick
Publisher: Bancroft and Greene
Pages: 348
ISBN 10:0997570938
Rating: *****
Release Date: 5/12/2016
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes

When Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura's phone rings with the news that his mother's death ten years ago wasn't an accident, his world begins to unravel. New evidence links her to a young woman, whose body was found dolled up like a movie star and tossed in the gutter like an abandoned plaything. With the help of part-time English translator Yumi Hata, Kenji begins to piece together what really happened the night his mother died. But the closer he gets to discovering who killed the Painted Doll, the more he fears that the truth will destroy all that's left of his fractured family.

At the end of Idolmaker, Yumi Hata found out she is now a free woman through her former intended's serious indiscretions. She can pursue a relationship with Kenji and she has already spent the night with him. Kenji should be happy, but a phone call from his father reminds him of what happened the day his mother had died.

Yumi has her own problems after she leaves Kenji - her mother isn't pleased she didn't answer her calls and even less impressed that sh has been seen with Kenji, who she wholly disapproves of even though Yumi is now a free agent. Despite her mother's disapproval, Yumi and Kenji over the course of three novels have got closer and there is scope for more, and I can imagine Yumi having to tell her mother what she feels for him. This sounds great, yet the attention has shifted from being about Yumi's situation of being married off to a man she doesn't know, to concentrating on Kenji whose mother's death is shrouded in mystery. And this is a mystery his father is keeping secret.

Painted Doll sees Kenji's father being told he will have to be interviewed about his wife's death and will no doubt have to answer the same questions he was asked ten years ago. This time Kenji intends to be at the interview with his dad to find out what had really gone on even if he has no idea what he will discover. He might not like what he does find out though as Kenji suspects his father is hiding something about his mother's death as there is the issue of a blue suitcase that was found connected to a Chinese immigrant. There is a great deal of unrest within Kenji's family he doesn't know that his father also hides. Another of his sons, Takeo had left to be a part of a prestigious restaurant and not returned to visit his family since.

For those who have been reading the whole Only in Tokyo Mystery novel series, there are a couple of characters from the last novel, Coco being the first and after finding a man at the hostess club she works at who wanted to persuade her to go to an expensive restaurant with him, she tells Yumi she agreed to and find out the most awful news. Feeling she has been a fool, Coco decides that both Yumi and her should try out a professional matchmaking agency where girls can find the perfect rich guy to marry - but Yumi doesn't tell her she's still got Kenji. Hoshi is also hinted at and helps readers remember his story and how Yumi was nearly trapped in a loveles arranged marriage in Idolmaker.

As the plot thickens for Kenji, we find out from Inspector Mori that the unsolved case was the Painted Doll murder where a Chinese prostitute could cause more trouble for Kenji's family than his father first thought.

All the while Kenji ponders why his father would keep the truth of his mother's death from him for so long. The problem is, if something had happened and it turned out to be bad for the family, will Kenji feel the same about his father once he does know the truth? Yumi has her own ordeals to deal with as Coco feels the need to try and dominate her love life even though Yumi is happy with Kenji, Coco thinks he isn't good enough for her and can't take the hint she doesn't want her controlling her decisions.

For Kenji, trying to piece together what happened before the final hours of his mother's death can prove to be harder than he thought as all the leads point to human traffickers who lure Chinese women into the less than nice places of Japan to work and the unscrupulous men who use these women. I liked the interplay between Kenji and the men he works with and Yumi and Coco as there could be something in what Coco says about getting with rich men at the dating agency. Like the other three novels, this crime thriller comes highly recommended.