After a top-tier manager in Japan's premier media company ends up dead in front of company headquarters, Detective Hiroshi enters the high-pressure, hard-driving world of Tokyo's large corporations. Hiroshi quickly finds out the manager fell from the roof at the exact same spot as an employee suicide three years before.
With little more to go on, Hiroshi can't tell if the manager's death was a guilt-ridden suicide, a careless accident, or a grisly personnel decision. The only certainty is that Japanese workplaces rely on "zangyo," unpaid overtime that drives employees to quit-or to kill.
Teaming up with his mentor Takamatasu, Hiroshi scours the off-record spending, lavish entertaining and unspoken agreements that keep Japan, Inc. running with brutal efficiency. Working overtime himself, Hiroshi probes the dark heart of Japanese business, a place he's tried to avoid all his life.
Michael Pronko is a Tokyo-based writer of murder, memoir and music. His writing about Tokyo life and his character-driven mysteries have won awards and five-star reviews. Kirkus Reviews selected his second novel, The Moving Blade for their Best Books of 2018. The Last Train won the Shelf Unbound Competition for Best Independently Published Book.
Michael also runs the website, Jazz in Japan, which covers the vibrant jazz scene in Tokyo and Yokohama. During his 20 years in Japan, he has written about Japanese culture, art, society and politics for Newsweek Japan, The Japan Times, and Artscape Japan. He has read his essays on NHK TV and done programs for Nippon Television based on his writings.
A philosophy major, Michael traveled for years, ducking in and out of graduate schools, before finishing his PhD on Charles Dickens and film. He finally settled in Tokyo as a professor of American Literature at Meiji Gakuin University. His seminars focus on contemporary novels, short stories and film adaptations.