Of all the summer projects I chose to tackle after relocating to Austin, Texas, the most challenging – and most fun! – was writing my first Shig Sato novella, Tokyo Summer. But it is available only to my email list subscribers. So don’t miss out. Click here to sign up for all the Shig Sato news and this Shig prequel, Tokyo Summer, available Sept. 28.
Here’s a sneak peek:
Junichi Ohto was a 30-year veteran of the Tokyo Metropolitan police. Thin and bald and with a smoker’s hack, he would never admit that being a detective at such a small outfit like Tsukishima Police Station was as good as his spotty career would get.
There had been days when he still had his hopes. At first, catching the Usami case that late June evening had given him hope that a good murder would put him right with his boss. But within minutes of taking in all the details he knew it was suicide. Typical domestic turmoil, husband some sort of mid-level big shot at the Bank of Japan. Wife a typical “education mama” who lived for her kids passing their college entrance exams. Why she swallowed a vial of valium was anyone’s guess.
“If she wanted to kill herself she could have jumped into the Sumida River and saved us all a lot of trouble,” he said to his partner, a detective so young and green he barely spoke a word other than “yes” and “excuse me.”
It didn’t take long for them to wrap up their interviews and file that case away.
“All we need are the toxicology reports,” Ohto told his station chief. “Not gonna get anything from them, either, I bet.”
Then, a few weeks later, Ohto’s boss said, “That Usami case? Murder.”
It hadn’t been a pleasant morning. Admonished like a rookie, scorned for being old and useless, Ohto knew the toxicology report made everyone in the station look bad.
Ohto lit a Seven Star cigarette and coughed for a minute after inhaling the delicious smoke. He wondered how quickly he was going to get demoted behind once Division took over the case. His boss had said that Sato asked for Ohto. By name.
He heard that the detectives picking up the case at Division were Ken Abe and Mo Kato, two officers he knew and resented for being the types the higher-ups liked. Kato could wait out a glacier for one key clue. And Abe. Ohto had seen for himself how Abe’s strange sense of smell had led to the arrest of a cross-dresser simply by identifying perfumes, lotions and body secretions no self-respecting man would know the first thing about.
But Inspector Shig Sato. He knew then that he was in trouble. Sato left no stone unturned. Ohto knew he was bound to be grilled like a tuna.
He smoked the cigarette down to the paper filter in 27 seconds then lit another before hitching a ride to Chuo. Ohto made it into the station with what little dignity he could muster, his eyes focused on what was in front of him as he quickly walked to Criminal Investigations.
After the usual greetings Ohto took a seat by Sato’s desk. He wasn’t prepared for Sato’s tactics. A junior police officer brought tea Ohto didn’t want, but recognized the gesture for what it was, nodded his thanks, and resisted the urge to light up a cigarette.
“Ohto, I’m sure you did your best with the information you had when you were handed this Usami case.”
Ohto tilted his head to one side, admitting nothing.
“Here’s how it is. I don’t care what happened then. I care about now. Now it’s a murder investigation. Now we have to start as if it’s hour one.”
Sato saw that Ohto did not see.
To get your copy of Tokyo Summer, just click and you’ll be reading in no time.