Kazuo Mori
Created by Peter Tasker

KAZUO MORI is an old-fashioned private eye, prone to introspection and borderline poverty, willing to take on any job that pays, almost. He lives in a suitably shabby condo, his fourth-story office is in a seedy building, and his primary mode of transportation is a Honda motorcycle that has seen better days. Oh, yeah, and the mean streets he must go down aren't in Los Angeles, San Francisco or even New York. Nope, Kazuo calls Tokyo home.

That office building also houses a couple of yakuza extortionists, a shady import-export firm, and a sukiyaki dive where the waitresses turn tricks when they're not dishing out the daily specials. This series seems to have it all -- it's like a gonzo version of Chandler turned up to eleven. So far the series included the Yakuza, terrorists, geishas, drugs. karaoke, hookers, strippers, video games, manga, high finance, stock manipulation, political scanddals, international intrigue and death cults, plus the regulation P.l. dollops of sex, violence and crime. Something for everyone!

Mori even gets a partner of sorts -- in Samurai Boogie he takes on Uno, an idealistic young college student still wet behind the ears who plays nicely off Mori's been there, done that cynicism. Not that Mori's not fun in his own right -- his penchant for conning info out of suspects is a joy to read, as he comes off almost like an Asian version of Jim Rockford.

Even better, Tasker isn't afraid to get right down to it. Born in the UK, and now living in Tokyo, his background as a financial analyst and his intimate knowledge of the Far East and its hyperactive culture enable him to write authentic and intriguing thrillers that don't shy away from the dark corners of Japanese society.



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