DAUGHTER OF THE SWORD
Part police procedural and part historical fantasy, Bein’s impressive debut is a contemporary crime story studded with intermittent flashbacks of samurai history that reveal how each of the Inazuma swords’ owners were haunted by their cursed weapons. Bein’s breadth of knowledge about Japanese culture and history makes this story believable and will satisfy anyone looking for a fast-paced mystery with a fantasy edge.
Tokyo police officer Mariko Oshiro has it rough as one of the city’s only female detectives. When her sexist commanding officer moves her from narcotics to a mundane crime theft case, Mariko is stuck investigating an elderly man’s attempted sword theft. She discovers that the artifact’s owner is one of Japan’s most respected senseis, who insists that his prized possession is one of three ancient blades created by the great Master Inazuma many centuries ago — each of which holds a dangerous curse. Mariko uncovers a link between the attempted theft and a vicious yakuza heading a massive drug ring — who will kill to get all three of the Inazumas. (ROC, Oct., 480 pp., $16.00)