Rating: 5 stars out of 5
An unproven alliance. A broken promise. A mafia boss must shed blood to secure peace…
Nao Murata is on the verge of brokering peace between his syndicate and the rival Mafufgumi mob. To seal the deal, he’ll need to pick up Russian prostitutes to appease his newest ally. When the exchange goes sour, both sides draw blades and Nao has no choice but to care for a blood-soaked enemy. If the man doesn’t make it through the night, Nao and his crew will pay with their lives.
Outnumbered and stranded in enemy territory, Nao is forced to fight his way out before the Mafufgumi Godfather takes the deal off the table. As his wounded enemy’s heartbeat slows, Nao must act fast or condemn his syndicate to a brutal war.
The Yakuza Path: The Deafening Silence is the third book in a series of Japanese mafia thrillers. If you like twisty action, authentic settings, and a touch of gay romance, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s pulse-pounding series.
Since my first introduction to Nao Murata in the bloody and absolutely brilliant first story in this series, Blood Stained Tea, I’m almost confounded by my deep emotional involvement in the welfare of someone who is admittedly a murderous psychopath, one who’s barely contained rages have seen him want to spill the blood of dozens, often by his bare hands or any implement nearby.
But this is Japan, centuries old with ancient traditions and a culture to match. All built with such subtle nuances and layers that can shield or hide behind. Just as its many characters demonstrate with their personalities. Tasukada clearly loves and understands Japan in all it’s natural and historic beauty to the gritty darkness of the Yakuza underworld. It has all figured in greatly in this series as both the foundation, setting, and emotional framework for it’s characters. Kyoto, Nao’s personal passion can stand in as another character all its own.
All those layers are built into the labyrinth personality of Nao as well. Part of the reason for his murderous rages and psychotic breaks? That can be found in the horrendous death of his first lover, perhaps his only love, at the hands of a rival gang boss. It broke him, and whatever way he mended was not rational. Of course, it doesn’t help that he was the son of the rival Yakuza gang and was already familiar with a brutal way of life. But the dichotomy here is that the author shows us repeatedly another man. One who loves his cat, and his tea, and who once wanted only to flee with his lover….
That is the one still seen occasionally, one the reader is still privy to his thoughts, when the rages are quiet. Nao is a narrative tour de force. Scary, memorable, everchanging, especially since he become the head of the family. He needs to navigate the Korean crime families constant infiltration of Kyoto, manage his Yakuza’s many businesses and shaky alliances, all while reporting to the very top of the Yakuza boss who doesn’t trust him. All while his mind seethes and surges like a red tide within him calling him to kill.
And at his side is another character who has shown incredible growth over the series,Aki Hisona, Nao’s personal secretary. Aki loves Nao, a terrible fate as everyone who has cared for Nao has died, horribly. The reverse has also held true. Everyone Nao has loved has died as well. Nao has become convinced that the city of Kyoto has killed them. A jealous mistress indeed.
This is not a romance. Don’t even begin to look for one. This is a brutal, bloody, gritty tale of crime, murder, culture, and a Yakuza crime family you can’t turn away from, starting at the top.
Amy Tasukada writes so beautifully, so skillfully here that just a twitch, a slip in a conversation sets off an avalanche of foreboding. Everyone here is playing a game, some are merely good at it, some are masters, you have to read the story to find out who is playing the long game. There is betrayal, untold amounts of bloodshed, and complexities beyond belief. I expect nothing less from Nao and his gang and from this author.
I was astonished at Aki.
The author informs us at the end it will be a while until the next release as she wishes to “get it right”. She has never, ever, gotten it wrong yet. I would wait years for the next in this series if I had to. It’s troubling, brilliant, and there’s no way I can predict the path going forward. For any of them. So yes, I’m obsessed. So hopefully it won’t be terribly long for the next installment, maybe end of next year.
I absolutely recommend this story and all the others in the series but they must be read in the order they were written. Line them up like the narrative finds they are, and then devour them. Just don’t expect any romance, unless it’s Nao’s love for Kyoto and even that comes with it’s own layer of pain and angst.
Cover art by Natasha Snow. I’m in love with these covers. Simple, bloody, perfection.
Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Buy Link
The Yakuza Path Series
Book #1 – Blood Stained Tea – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Better Than Suicide – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – One Thousand Cranes – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Kindle Edition, 228 pages
Published December 1st 2018 by Macarons & Tea Publishing
Series The Yakuza Path #4 setting Hokkaido, 2015 (Japan