YEAR OF THE DEMON
What readers get in Bein’s second Fated Blades novel is not one, but three stories that alternate between different time periods. Bein excels beyond any history lover’s wildest imagination with exceptionally researched, vivid depictions of ancient Japan. Japanese social norms, both past and present, are broken down in order to deliver memorable protagonists that push against the boundaries of their eras.
After being promoted to Japan’s narcotics unit, Detective Sergeant Mariko Oshiro has more to prove as she’s sent to investigate a yakuza drug ring whose powerful, hypnotizing Inazuma mask, an artifact linked to Mariko’s own magical sword, has gone missing. She doesn’t know that the mask carries a past that spans centuries and has been in the hands of some very powerful, dangerous and brave people. When the mask is stolen by a cult determined to destroy Tokyo, Mariko must retrieve it before her time is up. (ROC, Oct., 480 pp., $16.00)