A Book Spy Review: ‘Pacific Burn’ By Barry Lancet

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When the mayor needs a headliner to serve as the liaison for his brand new Pacific Rim Friendship Program, he decides Jim Brodie–the man responsible for solving the Japantown murders in California–is the right guy for the job.

Brodie, a prominent Japanese antique dealer who takes the occasional private investigating job, doesn’t come alone. With him he brings Ken Nobuki, a semi-famous Japanese artist, whose son was recently murdered. Together, they meet with city officials in private. Things are going well initially, but the photo op that was to follow never happened.

Instead, a sniper lays waiting for both Brodie and Nobuki, and only Brodie manages to escape the attack unharmed.

Following the sniper attack, it becomes clear that other members of Nobuki’s family are being targeted. Likewise, Brodie himself is once again confronted by a man with lethal intentions, only to once again escape intact. Concerned for the safety of Ken’s daughter, Naomi, a reporter stationed in Washington D.C., Brodie flies east to check in on and protect her.

Eventually, as the story progresses, Brodie realizes that the Nobuki children are being targeted by a skilled Japanese assassin known only as the Shadow Walker. Heading back to his homeland to deal with things head-on, Brodie returns to Japan, where the plot really takes off.

The parts of the story set in Japan are the book’s best chapters, as author Barry Lancet–who has lived in Japan for two decades–explains Japanese culture and history better than anyone. The restaurants,  museums, and temples all come to life on the page as Lancet describes them with precise detail, but in a way that keeps the plot moving at a comfortable pace.

Most surprising is Lancet’s ability to deliver well-written fight scenes, which there are plenty of in this novel. Brodie isn’t your prototypical tough guy, but he can hold his own in a street fight, and Lancet understands how to choreograph an action sequence.

Overall, Brodie is a strong protagonist. In similar fashion to Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon (a world-renowned art restorer and legendary Israeli assassin), Brodie would much prefer to just sell rare Japanese antiques. However, his father left him Brodie Security, a small investigating firm in Japan. Reluctantly, Brodie keeps the business afloat by taking occasional cases, and, while it might not be his preferred way to earn a paycheck, he’s exceptionally good at what he does.

As Brodie continues searching for answers, he learns that Naomi has made enemies with people high inside the FBI, CIA, and Homeland Security. Getting to the bottom of why, though, proves to be a challenge.

While just the third novel in Barry Lancet’s series, he’s already delivered three high-quality thrillers. Pacific Burn, another thoroughly entertaining adventure, continues to build on the foundation from past novels, but it can also be read on its own.

Book Details

Author: Barry Lancet
Series: Jim Brodie #3
Pages: 352 (Paperback)
ISBN: 1476794898
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: February 28, 2017 (Order Now!)

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