Thursday, July 14, 2011

Yakuza Pride

Title: Yakuza Pride
Author:  H.J. Brues
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61581-953-9
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Suspense
Rating:  5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Although Ken is an American, the young artist spent many years in Japan as a child.  It only seemed natural to return to the place he loved the most when he needed some time to himself.  Ken never expected to meet, and fall for, someone like Shigure and soon he has more to worry about than ever. 

I absolutely loved Yakuza Pride.  The reader will find themselves drawn in by both the strongly written characters and the outstanding story line.  Ken has a lot of issues to overcome.  His powerful family has more or less disowned him for being gay and his sudden interest in Shigure throws him into a subculture that still looks down on gaijins.  Shigure saw the Yakuza as a way to rise above his meager standing in life.  Now, as an underboss, he has more power than he ever thought would come his way.  Shigure’s life, however, is heavily entrenched in honor and tradition and while Japan may not frown on same sex relationships, the same can not be said for the Yakuza. 

The attraction between Ken and Shigure is intense from the beginning, yet Ken’s need to love and be loved and Shigure’s pride causes more conflict for the men than Shigure’s position within the Yakuza.  The feelings the men are dealing with, every thing from attraction and lust to fear, come across believably, especially when it comes to Shigure, who is looking at the total destruction of his belief system.  They don’t only have to come to terms with their growing feelings for each other but, also the interference of outside forces.  It soon becomes clear that someone is up to no good and while it does not take long for the reader to narrow down the field of culprits, the author keeps the guessing game up for some time without boring the reader by giving the game away.  Readers should know that, while the author does not go into graphic detail, there are some torture scenes that may be a little difficult for some to read. 

I loved the way in which the author wraps Yakuza Pride up.  The moments of humor that can be found at the end of the story is a perfect counter balance to the much heavier scenes found earlier in the book.  If you have not yet given this author a try, Yakuza Pride would be an excellent first choice.

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