Our story starts with our heroin, (Akira Sato – a classically trained Geisha) washing the blood, and other bodily fluids, off her body from the man she just assassinated, contemplating suicide to escape the predicament she now found herself. Her shower was interrupted by the body guards of the man she just killed, her 9th and 10th victim’s that she quickly dispatched with her katana blade, still naked.
In chapter two Akira is informed she can erase her obligation to Mitsui-san, a member of Zakura-kai Japan’s notorious yakuza family, if she does one more job on a cruise ship allowing her to live her life free, anywhere but Japan. The target or targets is or are Mr. and Mrs. Lyons, presumed responsible for Mitsui-san’s sister’s death. Akira has reservations as she has never killed a woman before. As well as not having any solid evidence of guilt.
Akira starts to believe that this assignment is to be her swan song in payment for her failed attempt on Mitsui-san’s life. She is given this assignment by Mitsui-san’s daughter in law, Yuki who described in Akira’s own words “this was the same ambitious archaeologist who had been dismissed from a drilling project in Mexico after attempting to sell artifacts on the Internet. The same woman who had castrated a lover for failing to please her, the same schemer who had a long history of blackmailing businessmen with illicit photos and had been shipped off to Thailand by Mitsui-san after stealing diamonds from a hidden tomb in the Sea of Japan.” And now she was sitting here insisting on the assassination of a British couple whose greatest mistake could turn out to be arguing with the wrong person at the wrong time. The book only gets better from here.
Once on the ship we are treated to a cast of characters with a great deal of drama going on and a bunch of mysterious disappearances. Akira becomes involved with the nephew of the suspect’s mostly to gain information, the suspect pool widens as the story moves on. All this serves to keep the reader guessing and on the edge of your seat. The love of food is threaded throughout this book. We are treated to small scenes of the cruise ship experience in the Caribbean throughout. The romance climbs at a steady pace and the love scenes are completely believable.
Cast of characters, nephew Devan Lyons broken hearted playboy and employee of his sisters company; Devan’s half-sister, Tamayo; Akira, a yakuza assassin; Akira’s pretend father, Takashi Hamada-san (co-assassin); Mitsui-san, the leader of the Yakuza; his sister Keiko Mitsui, whose death started this book; uncle Paul, a mild mannered husband; aunt Sara, who is truly detestable and has 3 dead husbands; and Sara’s psychiatrist Doctor Peter Bradshaw, who uses questionable practices; Doctor Ben Hoffman and his Fiancée Vivian Ward; Devan’s sister Rachel and husband Chase, owners of the ship the stargazer and a treasure hunting company; the ship’s Captain Brice a handsome womanizer; and the cruise director, morally depleted, Michel Donley; Yuki, Mitsui-san’s psychotic employee; Yuki’s bodyguard Cujo; and the watcher, read to the end to find out who this is.
All the characters live in that in-between land where you could love them or hate them, all dependent on what you don’t yet know about them. The author does a wonderful job of keeping you guessing who the villain is, never giving you quite enough information to solidify your decision. This book reminds me of murder on the orient express. A cast of truly interesting characters that morph before your eyes from detestable to admirable. You won’t be able to figure out who done it till the very end. Akira is quite skilled at manipulating her prey and uses her time well to find out who killed her benefactor’s sister. This cruise ship has 2500 rooms spread out over 12 decks so there is lots of room for adventure.
I loved reading this book because it held my attention, I am normally good at figuring out who did the deed, but this book had me stumped till the end, one twist after another, a really good page turner. The author of this book has had a life of adventure being a lifelong world traveler, I am sure this is what enabled her to write so well. I highly recommend this book. This book should appeal to people who like adventure also romance and murder mysteries. There are sexual scenes but they are romantic in nature rather than pornographic. All in all a well written and easy to read book.
Only mistake I found was a wrong word on page 230 chewing gun instead of chewing gum. Therefore I give this book 4 out of 4 stars