Freebie Weekend – The Gangster’s Son : A body identified

CanvaJBpicAmazLogoThe Gangster’s Son and The Thief’s Mistake are free Labor Day Weekend – it’s a great way to discover the world of Shig Sato. Just click here and then once more – or twice!  – for your copies – yep – for free. And be sure to look out for Shig Sato No. 3, Traitors & Lies, debuting this fall.

Here’s an excerpt from Shig Sato Mystery Book :1 The Gangster’s Son

(The parents of Kimi Yamada learn of their daughter’s death and must go identify her body.)

gangster3Mysterious knocking ended Yosh and Miyako Yamada’s summer slumber. Even as they tightened their robes as if to protect themselves from what the two policemen were saying, a slow ballet of shock and grief stirred in their hearts as they tried to comprehend words like “dead” and “Kimi” and “Roppongi” and “a short time ago” and “can you identify the body right away?” Time shifted to a meaningless state, and they took no notice of their actions or their surroundings as they fell into hell.

Before they realized what they were doing, Kimi Yamada’s parents found themselves driving from their home in the western suburbs through dimly lit, unfamiliar streets, looking for the place where the police said they could find their daughter. Searching kept their minds occupied as an incomprehensible torment squeezed their souls.

Eventually they found the building they were directed to go to, the building caped in the dark of night, surrounded by harsh streetlights. They parked their modest sedan as close to the shiny glass doors as possible, and it took some time before the couple was aware that a tall man chewing a toothpick was standing by the large glass doors.

As they approached the doors the man opened one and held it open for them as he said, “My name is Kato. I’m a police officer. Please follow me.”

Without saying anything, the Yamadas meekly followed Kato to where the unthinkable would become real.

Kato watched Kimi Yamada’s parents arrive to identify the body of their daughter in the small hours of that Saturday morning in June. He saw life extinguished from their eyes, their bodies bent, hands shaking, the mother clinging to the father.

They dutifully followed Kato down a hallway no different from any other building in Tokyo, but in their minds the Yamadas were now capturing each step they took, frame by frame  like a torturous slow-motion moving picture. They tried to will time to stop long enough for them to flee their fate, but no matter how hard they tried, they found themselves in that horrible place, following the tall man.

“Is she here?” Mrs. Yamada whispered as they walked down a corridor.


“Did she –”

“Come with me,” was all Kato said.

The silence became unbearable.

“She’s such a good girl,” Mr. Yamada whispered. “She’s such a good student. She plays the piano.”

“Yes,” Kato said.

“She is our only child,” the father whispered. “She never gives us any trouble.”

“Until she took that job…” the mother began, but fell silent.

“She speaks English. She wants to …” but words failed the father.

Kato said nothing as his solid footsteps pounded a beat on the linoleum under the Yamada’s hesitant shuffle, a miserable rhythm filling the corridor, punctuating the stillness sad government buildings inhabit.

The inevitable turned out to be quite simple: Kato pulled back the sheet covering Kimi Yamada’s face. Her parents took one horrible look and their mournful tears affirmed her identification.

Kato asked his question anyway.

“Is this Kimi Yamada?”

“Yes,” the father croaked, fighting a new wave of grief, but resolved not to look away.

“Her face,” her mother screamed in a hollow voice with no volume, no depth. “Did that man do that?”

“Which man?” Kato asked as he gently covered Kimi and led the pair to standard, hard plastic chairs meant for anything but comfort.

“The black foreigner,” the mother said, ashamed that she had to say the words out loud.

“We’re looking at everything, checking every fact,” Kato replied, wondering how the inspector was getting along with that.

The mother brushed back a strand of her hair, but kept her eyes on the floor, shame and anger in her words. “We insisted she break things off with that, that soldier. We insisted! I wouldn’t be surprised if he had something to do with this!”

“We’re looking into it.”

“He’s an American, just a common soldier,” she said, giving way to fresh anger. “She deserved better than him! She deserved better than …” But her grief swallowed her whole, and she dissolved into her husband’s arms.

“Mr. Yamada?”

The man looked at Kato.

“Do you have someplace you can go, other than your home?”


“Do you have someplace you can stay for a few days? Other than your home?”


“Sometime soon, reporters and photographers will find out who you are and where you live, and you don’t need that kind of bother right now. Do you have a relative or friend you can stay with for a few days?”

“I don’t know …”

“Mr. Yamada, your daughter was killed by someone. We’re working the case. Eventually people will find out that it was your daughter who was killed, and then they will come looking for you for a comment. Do you want that?”

“No!” Mrs. Yamada sat up, fierce and determined. “The jackals. Why can’t they leave us alone?”

“I have a sister …” Mr. Yamada began.

Kato said, “I suggest you go there, straight from here, and stay there for a day or two. Let things play out.”

“Why are you telling us this?” Mr. Yamada asked.

Kato knew if the GI did have something to do with the murder, pandemonium would fall on everyone, especially the Yamadas. Kato wanted them one step ahead of the television crews and newspaper photographers.

But all he said was, “Sometimes, things can only be made worse for you two at a time like this. Please don’t say anything to the press or anyone else until we have a chance to check our facts and find a suspect. I promise to call you when we have made an arrest. Okay?”

“Yes, yes,” the father said wearily. “We’ll go to my sister’s place. In Chiba.” As he wiped his tears, he said, “We have to make arrangements …”

Kato wrote down the several phone numbers the Yamadas recited. Then he escorted them out of the morgue and watched as they walked the way people do when leaving a terrible place. The woman’s last words to him rested uneasily on his mind.

“Find that man. He killed my Kimi.”

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Twisted Tales: Meet the Authors – an interview with Mark Fine

To paraphrase Forrest Gump (and his momma): “twisted is as twisted does”- so grab your free copy of Twisted Tales, a Readers’ Choice selection of short fiction from Readers’ Circle of Avenue Park. Literary lies, epic yarns – it’s an eclectic collection of 15 stories by authors from around the globe.
Twisted Tales 15LitLiesEpicYarnsFINAL

In today’s Meet the Authors series I’m delighted to welcome to the blog Mark Fine. Mark was a label chief for PolyGram records. He has written the critically acclaimed novel ‘The Zebra Affaire.’ As research for his ‘Karmic Odds’ story, Fine immigrated to America from South Africa, in an effort to better appreciate being a stronger in a strange land.

Your story ‘Karmic Odds’ appears in t he Readers’ Circle of Avenue Park’s recent anthology ‘Twisted Tales.’ What made you decide on that story?

When the Grand Poobahs of Readers’ Circle of Avenue Park invited me to write something for ‘Twisted Tales’ I was delighted. By the way ‘Karmic Odds’ is not autobiographical; though there’s some truth at the heart of the story.

As an immigrant to the USA I’ve been amused by the way folks respond to my accent; to them my South African speech patterns seem so, well, let us say ‘exotic.’ In turn, they assume I’m far more interesting than I really am.

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Mark Fine

Obviously, back in South Africa the way I speak is downright dull. So let’s be honest, it’s still the same dull me no matter where I live. This duality intrigued me and lent itself to some great irony within my story.

Did you find writing a short story easier or harder to write than what you’ve written in the past?

I’d had this short story circulating in my mind, and it wanted out.  This made the task relatively easy. I enjoy the efficiency of both writing and reading short stories so it was never about being easy or hard. Similar to a photograph that often looks better cropped, I felt a story can improve by being tightened.

Yet, I see songwriting as the ultimate short story. Consider the Rolling Stone’s ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ – two thousand years of human history is recited in rhythm and rhyme in only a few minutes. Now that’s what I consider to be truly difficult task.

Who has been an important influence on your journey as a writer?

I’m a fan of both O. Henry and Roald Dahl as masters of the short story, and relished the surprising sting-in-the-tail treats they provided us readers. As a homage to these two writers, I have a twist -in -the -tale, of sorts, lurking within ‘Karmic Odds.’

What is your next project?

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The Zebra Affaire

Sub-Saharan Africa continues to intrigue me as setting for my novels. Fortunately my historical fiction book (with it’s generous dollops of romance and suspense) called The Zebra Affaire   has been well received. Not a sequel, but continuing on the African theme, is a work I’ve tentatively titled The Hyena Axis. It’s set in 1978 Rhodesia as that country (now known as Zimbabwe) was being torn apart by  the Bush War, as a consequence of the liberation struggle.

Please share a little more of your writing background.

As a music business executive and record  producer I’ve always been a part of the creative process. As for books, my grandmother owned a library which elevated the value of the written word within our home. Growing up I had the honor of the legendary author, Alan Paton (‘Cry, the Beloved Country’) give a lecture to my high school English class.

Then, as friends of the family I was fortunate to know Wilbur Smith (I still have an autographed copy of his novel, Gold Mine, on my desk). His powerful historical fiction-based yarns of Africa have been a tremendous influence over the years. All this contributed to my love for writing, and reading.

Where can readers reach you?

Would welcome hearing from readers. Joe, as you well know writing is a “living process” and it’s vital as authors engage with the world at large. So the opinions of readers is crucial to the creation of better books, and to themes within our books. For example, I got a wonderful review from a reader. She applauded me for taking on the difficult subject of apartheid. But she chastised me for not confronting the issue of poaching–especially rhino and elephant.  Thanks to her I’m now including this vital wildlife conservation theme in my future writings, and my current promotional efforts under the theme #RhinoProtector and #ElephantProtector. So feedback does a great service to both an authors work and the greater community at large.

So please, reach out to me at:


Stay tuned for more Meet the Author interviews. If you like what you read in Twisted Tales you’re invited to leave a review on Amazon. Thanks!


cropped-cropped-fbcoverthisishow.jpgJoseph Mark Brewer writes the Shig Sato mysteries. Mix up some Holmes, Poirot, and Japan Noir and you have a new series set in the heart of Tokyo. Click for your copy of The Gangster’s SonThe Thief’s Mistake , or Traitors & Lies – and to read how it all began, download my prequel novella Tokyo Summer at

Twisted Tales: Meet the Authors – An interview with Jean Gill

To paraphrase Forrest Gump (and his mom): “twisted is as twisted does”- so grab your free copy of Twisted Tales, a Readers’ Choice selection of short fiction from Readers’ Circle of Avenue Park. Literary lies, epic yarns – it’s a collection of eclectic stories by authors from around the globe. Twisted Tales 15LitLiesEpicYarnsFINAL

In today’s Meet the Authors series I’m delighted to welcome to the blog Jean Gill, author of The 13th Sign in Twisted Tales, for a chat about her story and her writing life.  Jean is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with a big white dog, a scruffy black dog, a Nikon D750 and a man. Her claim to fame is that she was the first woman to be secondary Head Teacher in Carmarthenshire. She has published 18 books, and is mother or stepmother to five children, so life is hectic.

Your story ‘The 13th Sign’ appears in the Readers Circle of Avenue Park’s recent anthology Twisted Tales. What made you decide on that story?

I think ‘Twisted Tales’ will appeal to adventurous readers who want to be surprised and entertained so I submitted a story that I hope does both. Will a naïve but gutsy youngster complete his coming-of-age ritual and be given his rightful place in a parallel universe? When the youngster is the constellation Ophiuchus, and the twelve established zodiac signs are stacking the magical odds against him, nothing can be taken for granted.

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Jean Gill

I’ve always loved the idea that, astronomically speaking, there should be a thirteenth zodiac sign but astrologers didn’t like the number thirteen – or any change at all. My zodiac sign is in fact Ophiuchus the Serpent-bearer and 13 is of course my lucky number. My books are now published by my own Indie imprint ‘The 13th Sign.’

Comic fantasy gives endless opportunities to poke fun at the world we live in and the personalities of the various Zodiac Signs might remind you of people you know. My ambition with this story is to follow in the steps of the master, Terry Pratchett. As he said, ‘writing is the most fun you can have by yourself.’

Did you find writing a short story easier or harder to write than what you’ve written in the past?

I’ve written and published many short stories, and was even a double prize-winner one year with London Inc’ International Writing Competition. My collection ‘One Sixth of a Gill’, free to those who subscribe to my Newsletter contains poetry and shorts ‘to fit everyone’ and I enjoy the freedom of experimenting. I was first published as a poet and I like breaking rules in my work.

I was once part of a performance group of three writers in Wales, The West of Whitland Poets, and my friend, a short story author, was asked, ‘Do you think you’ll ever manage to write a novel?’ The idea that start with short stories and you write novels when you grow up as a writer is daft. What I’m after is the perfect marriage between content and form; I have hundreds of ideas and some have to be poems; some short stories; some novels; and I’ve written plays too.

Who has been an important influence on your journey as a writer?

I’ve been published every which-way, traditional and self-published, and have learned from many writers and editors over the years. Influences have been bad as well as good and I have my share of horror stories which put me off writing – but I always carried on and I’m so glad I did. You never forget your first acceptance from a publisher. Mine was when Outposts Poetry Journal published my poem Note from Guinevere to Lancelot. As poetry publishers get thousands of submissions each week, this was a big deal. My first editor and publisher (Johnathon Clifford of The National Poetry Foundation) was exceptional; he was one of those rare editors who can put their finger on what is wrong in a line of poetry and suggest an improvement. He encouraged me but was also fierce in rejection so I learned the three important lessons for any writer, from him: my work is good, it needs to be edited and improved, and rejections happen – get over it.

What’s your next project?

I’m researching Book IV of my 12th century Troubadours Quartet, historical fiction that tells the adventures of my fictional couple, Dragonetz and Estela, in the context of real events and characters in 1150 -1154. I’m feeling the pressure now because Book 1 won the Global Ebook for best Historical fiction and Book 3 is shortlisted for the Wishing Shelf Awards – the last book has to be good!

Book1, Song at Dawn is free so you can visit 12th century Provence and see whether you enjoy ‘Game of Thrones with real history.

Please share a little more of your background as a writer.

My writing had to run alongside my career in education, and my family, until 2003 and I’ve now published 18 books, including three translations (from the French). I write in many different genres, from modern family sagas, and historical novels to dog stories, poetry and a cookbook.

I never found a traditional publisher who loved all my work and it is both time-consuming and depressing to start submitting work afresh each new book so self-publishing suits me down to the ground. I do use a professional editor and cover-designer.

Where can readers reach you?

I love hearing from readers and anyone who reviews one of my books can send me a dog photo, with brief description, to go in my Readers’ Dogs Hall of Fame .


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IPPY Award for Best Author Website




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Stay tuned for more Meet the Author interviews. If you like what you read in Twisted Tales you’re invited to leave a review on Amazon. Thanks!


Joseph Mark Brewer writes the Shig Sato mysteries. Mix up some Kurt Wallander and Japan Noir and you have a new series set in the heart of Tokyo. Click for your copy of The Gangster’s Son and The Thief’s Mistake – and sign up for my monthly newsletter at

Writing: Love or Money

Not so long ago, Kahlen Aymes had an article appear in Indie Author News entitled Writing … for Money or Love?

Ah. That is the question.Woman-Pulling-Hair-out

Which writer hasn’t dreamed of writing that ONE book and thinking of it as a winning lottery ticket? I have.

Writing: the urge to write, the need to write, to tell a story, to express myself, flows through our veins. It’s part of our DNA. It’s what we live for.

And I’m not ashamed to say I want it to not just be profitable, but make me rich.

But is that a realistic expectation?

Kahlen says writing is hard and publishing is harder. How true. Who hasn’t spent years on their book, their baby, only to have it rejected by the gatekeepers of traditional publishing? I remember the day I said “I can do this myself.”

Boy, was I in for a surprise. The editing. The marketing. The social media. The business side of being an indie author. I wake up mornings knowing my book is ranked  about 1,200,000th on Amazon because I haven’t sold a single copy for over a week. Or a month.

Where is the love? Where is the money?

I believe it has to be inside you. I write because I love it. It’s as simple as that. Whatever anxiety I feel about the writing, or business of writing, the overwhelming need to be an indie entrepreneur when all I want to do is sit in my pajamas and drink tea and write — well, that’s life.

There are two sides to everything. For every moment writing, there is a moment of reckoning that comes down: if I want anyone to read this, if I want to have an audience, I have to do something about this. And that’s where art meets commerce.

Or as I like to call it, living on the corner of Creativity and Opportunity.

And that’s why to answer Kahlen, it’s both. Love and Money.

What about you? Which is it?


To get a copy of my latest ebook mystery “The Gangster’s Son” click here . To get the latest news on my Shig Sato Mystery series, visit my website and sign up for my monthly newsletter.  See you soon!