A MASK OF DESTRUCTION
Detective Sergeant Mariko Oshiro has been promoted to Japan’s elite Narcotics unit—and with this promotion comes a new partner, a new case, and new danger. The underboss of a powerful yakuza crime syndicate has put a price on her head, and he’ll lift the bounty only if she retrieves an ancient iron demon mask that was stolen from him in a daring raid. However, Mariko has no idea of the tumultuous past carried within the mask—or of its deadly link with the famed Inazuma blade she wields.
The secret of this mask originated hundreds of years before Mariko was born, and over time the mask’s power has evolved to bend its owner toward destruction, stopping at nothing to obtain Inazuma steel. Mariko’s fallen sensei knew much of the mask’s hypnotic power and of its mysterious link to a murderous cult. Now Mariko must use his notes to find the mask before the cult can bring Tokyo to its knees—and before the underboss decides her time is up....
Year of the Demon starts off where Daughter of the Sword left off, following Detective Sergeant Mariko Oshiro, recently being promoted to the Narcotics unit. What starts off as a typical drug raid turns out to be anything but normal. A mysterious iron demon mask is stolen from an underboss of a powerful yakuza crime syndicate.
Kamaguchi Hanzo “hires” Mariko to get the mask back with the catch, if she does he will remove the hit that was put out on her (Daughter of the Sword explains why there is a hit on her). Along with doing this search for the mask, Mariko also needs to do a search for her recently stolen sword “Glorious Victory Unsought”. Little does Mariko know that both the mask and sword have a dark history.
This book like the first one follows multiple stories at the same time. The breakdown is very easy to follow.
Heisei Era, the Year 22 (2010 CE) follows Mariko and what is going on in her part of the story.
Azuchi-Momoyama Period, the Year 21 (1588 CE) follows the story of Daigoro Okuma, the Lord of House Okuma, at this point in time he is the owner of “Glorious Victory Unsought”
Muromachi Era, the Year 148 (1484 CE) follows the story of Kaida who is an ama (traditional Japanese free diver, best known for diving for pearls) and her connection to the cult “The Divine Wind” and the iron mask.
There were a few parts of the book that felt extremely slow when it came to getting to the point of what was going on. Other than this one small snafu, I had a great time reading about the history and finding out more about Daigoro and the introduction of Kaida.
One interesting side note I did notice about the 3 main characters in their respective time lines is that each has been dealing with how to live their lives and overcome their obvious handicaps, while facing the naysayers on a daily basis.
This is a great series to check out if you are a fan of Urban Fantasy with a touch of Japanese history and the way of the Samurai.