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“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

“Without question, the best book I have read all year.” —Susan Spann, author of the Hiro Hattori mysteries and CLIMB

“Absolute page-turner…the different storylines slowly converge in a profoundly satisfying way… What a marvelous ride.” —Katherine Catmull, author of Summer and Bird

The Last Tea Bowl Thief unfolds between modern-day Tokyo and the Edo Era, when samurai ruled Japan. Two women from opposite sides of the globe must choose between competing for the long-lost prize that will secure their futures, or working together to right an ancient wrong.

For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, indelibly altering the lives of those who possess it.

In modern-day Tokyo, Robin Swann’s life has sputtered to a stop. She’s stuck in a dead-end job testing antiquities for an auction house, but her true love is poetry, not pottery. Her stalled dissertation sits on her laptop, unopened in months, and she has no one to confide in but her goldfish.

On the other side of town, Nori Okuda sells rice bowls and tea cups to Tokyo restaurants, as her family has done for generations. But with her grandmother in the hospital, the family business is foundering. Nori knows if her luck doesn’t change soon, she’ll lose what little she has left.

With nothing in common, Nori and Robin suddenly find their futures inextricably linked to an ancient, elusive tea bowl. Glimpses of the past set the stage as they hunt for the lost masterpiece, uncovering long-buried secrets in their wake. As they get closer to the truth—and the tea bowl—the women must choose between seizing their dreams or righting the terrible wrong that has poisoned its legacy for centuries.

The Only in Tokyo mysteries



First in an all-new series of mysteries that could happen only in Tokyo…

A young woman is found dead in an abandoned car, with a pair of strangers old enough to be her parents. Their suicide note apologizes for a disaster that hasn’t yet happened. And someone is stalking the websites where lost souls go to make a date with death.

The more part-time English translator Yumi Hata learns about how her friend Rika died, the more she’s convinced it was murder, and she plans to camp on Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura’s doorstep until he agrees to help her hunt down the truth.

The evidence leads them deep into a maze of secret identities and underground clubs, where membership may have been the victims’ last mistake. As they cut through the layers of lies and illusion, the only thing that’s certain is that more will die unless they catch the killer who is targeting Tokyo’s most desperate misfits.


from Amazon US or from these online booksellers

Watch the book trailer (0:52)



Looking for love has never been more costly…or more deadly.

The #1 hostboy at Club Nova makes a handsome living, whispering sweet nothings in the ears of women who pay him a fortune for the privilege. But the party’s over when Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura is assigned to investigate the death of one of Hoshi’s customers, a young woman found dead after spending an evening with him.

While tracking down witnesses in Tokyo’s red light district, Kenji crosses paths with his childhood friend Yumi Hata, who is trying to rescue her best friend from a host club entanglement. Yumi agrees to slip behind closed doors – where no men are allowed – to help Kenji catch the predator who’s picking off Tokyo’s loneliest women, one by one.

As they follow the killer’s trail deep into a world where everyone has their price, they soon discover that everyone also has secrets they might kill to protect.


from Amazon US or from these online booksellers

Watch the book trailer (1:08)



Fans worshipped her. The tabloids loved her. Fame stalked her, even beyond the grave…

A Japanese pop star is swept away in the tsunami following a devastating earthquake, and her fans erupt in a frenzy of mourning. In the wake of the disaster, Detective Kenji Nakamura is sent to investigate a death at a local shrine, but amid the rubble he finds evidence that suggests the impossible: How could the head priest have been murdered by the dead idol?

It doesn’t help that the star’s body is still missing, and Kenji’s childhood friend Yumi Hata refuses to believe that her favorite artist is dead. She launches her own investigation to convince Kenji he’s on the wrong track. But by the time their race for the truth lands them backstage at a sold-out memorial concert for the dead guitarist, the one thing they’ve both learned is just how quickly the hunters can become the hunted.


from Amazon US or from these online booksellers

Watch the book trailer (0:59)


When Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura’s phone rings with the news that his mother’s death ten years ago wasn’t an accident, his world begins to unravel. New evidence links her more

Nine years. Nine death anniversaries. Tomorrow will be the tenth. He always comes to the graveyard early, so he won’t cross paths with her family.

 He always comes on the day he killed her.

When Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura’s phone rings with the news that his mother’s death ten years ago wasn’t an accident, his world begins to unravel. New evidence links her to a young woman, whose body was found dolled up like a movie star and tossed in the gutter like an abandoned plaything.

With the help of part-time English translator Yumi Hata, Kenji begins to piece together what really happened the night his mother died. But the closer he gets to discovering who killed the Painted Doll, the more he fears that the truth will destroy all that’s left of his fractured family.


Watch the book trailer (1:04)

10 thoughts on “Books Leave a comment

  1. Jonelle,

    I must say, this series is now one of my favourites. I would read them again and again, and I feel that I might find something new every time that I did. You’ve now gotten a life time fan, and I’m glad I’ve been able to get to know you better as well. =(^-^)=

    • The feeling is mutual! I’m so happy I wrote these books so I could meet people like you, and all the wonderful readers who share my love of quirky Japanese culture. Thank you so much for the kind words, and it makes me really happy to know you enjoyed reading Nightshade and Fallen Angel!

  2. i am living in japan right now and i love how well i can just laugh and agree with your pictures . i found this blog by accident and i am hooked. i’ll be buying your books as well .

    • Wow, thank you! You totally cheered me up tonight! Sometimes writing this blog feels like I’m laughing into a big black hole, but knowing you’re out there somewhere in Japan laughing along with me is a really nice feeling. Thanks for popping your head out of the vastness of the interwebs to send me some friendly words! (^O^☆♪

  3. Hello Jonelle!!
    I tried to look where to ask you a question and since I couldn’t find it I ended up here! You seem to have so much knowledge about Japan, I’d be superhappy if you have time and care to answer. I wonder if you know a good course (rather a course) or a program that offers to teach manga drawing, and computer skills within anime/manga. A website, who would be able to teach a foreign. I, myself am from Sweden, unfortunatly I do not understand Japanese, so English would be my best bet. Thank you so much for all the lovleyness you share!

    Best regards,

    • Hi Lovisa!

      I’m so glad you found me – I love meeting other people who love Japan and the never-ending surprises we find here!

      Are you looking for a serious school that you would pay for, or online tutorials? I have an Italian friend who got a university degree at Digital Hollywood University in Tokyo and she works as an anime character designer now. But sadly, she had to learn Japanese first.

      I’m sorry I don’t anyone who took an online course in English. You couldn’t find what you wanted on YouTube? There seem to be a lot of tutorials in English posted there, but I don’t know if anyone has a whole serious channel or not.

      I hope you find what you’re looking for and can follow your dream!

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