Sujata Massey

Books: Mystery

Zen Attitude (1997)

Zen Attitude (1997)

It's not that this wasn't a good story–it was. And it's not that the characters weren't vivid–they were. And it's not like the writing wasn't strong–it was. But there was something I just can't put my finger on… missing from the story. Possibly the fact that the cover reads "A Novel of Suspense." It was an interesting story and a good mystery, but I didn't find it very suspensful.

Rei Shimura is a Japanese American antiques dealer currently living in Tokyo with her boyfriend Hugh, a Scottish businessman. When a simple purchase of an antique chest goes wrong. Rei ends up involved in a complex and confusing murder cases, and making friends with unlikely of individuals. The arrival of Hugh's brother serves only to make Rei's live more confusing.

However, this is the second book in the series, so what I may also have been missing is the character development that occurred in the first book. Which doesn't make this a bad book, it just makes it slightly less strong.

And there were plenty of strong points to the story. The setting in Japan was fascinating. The mystery was complex and the main characters were interesting. I particularly liked her mentor Mr. Ishada, and wish she would have spent more time with him than with Hugh and Angus.

But there were also weak points. Angus was very annoying, and I did not understand his relationship with Hugh. I have a sibling, so my feeling was that the story was written by someone who didn't, in fact, have a sibling. Additionally, Sujata Massey's use of pop references made the story feel more dated than it should have.

But despite those weaknesses, it was an interesting story, and an enjoyable one, even if I didn't find it as suspenseful as the cover intimated it would be. I'll most likely pick the next book in the series, though not right this second. I also don't think I'll suggest this for my grandmother, as there was a fair amount of boinking.

Rating: 6/10