Tokyo Zangyo (Detective Hiroshi #4)

Michael Pronko
Narrator: Peter Berkrot

MYSTERY: A higher up from one of Japan’s leading media companies is found dead outside of the entrance to his corporate building. Detective Hiroshi is assigned the case and immediately notices the connection between the manager’s death and an employee’s suicide that happened three years prior. With a lot of questions and no answers, the one thing he’s certain about is that both deaths are related to Zangyo—a term used to describe a workplace norm where employees are overworked and underpaid to the point of being driven to quit… or kill. Through his investigations, he discovers a dark underbelly of the business world and can’t help but notice that he himself might be reaching his own breaking point.

Mr. Pronko’s “Tokyo Zangyo” is a page turning procedural mystery that will keep readers guessing from start to finish! He creates an intriguing parallel with the leading man, Detective Hiroshi Shimizu, and the corporate workforce that he’s investigating for his case. The whole book is full of depth such as this, and it truly packs a punch. His descriptions of Tokyo are rich and vivid, placing the reader there in the moment. Every so often, the story gets a little lost in all of the description, but it doesn’t stay that way for long.  Not only is Detective Shimizu well developed, but so are all of the supporting characters. This is a wonderfully well rounded novel. Despite being a part of a series, it can be read as a standalone.

Mr. Berkrot’s performance is perfection! He’s able to create just the right ambiance for his tone, both building the mystery and keeping the action going. His connection with the characters and their emotions is clear as each is passionate and real. Each character is easy to distinguish from the others despite his not changing his actual voice too much. All of it is done through subtle inflections of tone. It really makes the experience complete!

Chelsea Andersen