On the death anniversary of a young office assistant’s suicide, the dead body of a top-tier manager working at Senden Central is found at the base of the company tower in Tokyo. Detective Hiroshi is introduced to the case to help determine if it was really a suicide or the possibility of an underlying drama. Onizuka, the dead manager, was chief of one of the largest departments of the company and was leading the international expansion of Senden. Everything seemed to have been moving on smoothly for the company, so why kill himself?
Zangyo, or what we call overtime, is what keeps the corporate world alive in Japan. Michael Pronko’s fourth novel in the Detective Hiroshi series delves into what’s at stake when it comes to success. Hiroshi chose to move to Boston years ago because he detested the intense work culture in Japan; the forced overtime, the excessive drinking late into the night, and the effects on personal relationships. In the hopes of avoiding it, he chose to investigate cryptocurrency fraud instead. However, ever since his return, he finds himself being sucked into the black hole of Japan’s toxic work culture once again. Along with his mentor, Sakaguchi, an ex-sumo wrestler, he unfolds the cause behind Onizuka’s death. As they try to get to the bottom of the mystery, they find out that Mayu Yanase was the young assistant who killed herself three years ago because of Onizuka’s incessant bullying. Their exploration of Onizuka’s life reveals his true personality, an unhappy family, a bondage mistress, and financial discrepancies.In Tokyo Zangyo, Michael Pronko has articulately presented Detective Hiroshi on the page; more so than in other books in the series. The immersive descriptions of the megacity paint a vivid picture for those who are yet to explore Tokyo for themselves. This mystery and crime thriller doesn’t let up in intrigue or intensity. It is an entry into the series that will fascinate readers, thanks to the author’s gift for plot and the deft sculpting of characters.