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Publisher's Summary

THE LAST TRAIN is the gripping new Tokyo-based mystery by multi-award-winning author Michael Pronko.

Detective Hiroshi Shimizu investigates white collar crime in Tokyo. He's lost his girlfriend and still dreams of his time studying in America, but with a stable job, his own office and a half-empty apartment, he's settled in.  

When an American businessman turns up dead, his mentor Takamatsu calls him out to the site of a grisly murder. A glimpse from a security camera video suggests the killer was a woman, but in Japan, that seems unlikely. Hiroshi quickly learns how close homicide and suicide can appear in a city full of high-speed trains just a step--or a push--away.  

Takamatsu drags Hiroshi out to the hostess clubs and skyscraper offices of Tokyo in search of the killer. She's trying to escape Japan for a new life by playing a high-stakes game of insider information. To find her, Hiroshi goes deeper and deeper into Tokyo's intricate, ominous market for buying and selling the most expensive land in the world.   

When Takamatsu inexplicably disappears, Hiroshi teams up with ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi. They scour Tokyo's sacred temples, corporate offices and industrial wastelands to find out where Takamatsu went, and why one woman would be driven to murder when she seems to have it all.  

After years in America and lost in neat, clean spreadsheets, Hiroshi confronts the stark realities of the biggest city in the world, where inside information can travel in a flash from the top investment firms to the bottom of the working world, where street-level punks and teenage hostesses sell their souls for a small cut of highly lucrative land deals.  

Hiroshi's determined to cut through Japan's ambiguities--and dangers--to find the murdering ex-hostess before she extracts her final revenge--which just might be him.

©2017 Michael Pronko (P)2018 Michael Pronko

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  • Victor @ theAudiobookBlog
  • 2018-08-12

Murder in Tokyo

The Last Train is a very entertaining murder mystery by award-winning writer Michael Pronko. He won a few awards for his non-fiction works and the reception for his first fiction release was very warm. I spent a few hours every day this week with Detective Hiroshi and I can say that I enjoyed his company very much. Below, you’ll find a short, spoiler free, review for this great story.
In The Last Train the story follows Detective Hiroshi Shimizu of the Tokyo Police Department as he is pulled from his, safe desk job into an investigation about the suspicious deaths of some very wealthy individuals, residents of Japan and even some foreigners. Working alongside his colleagues, he discovers that the victims are related and thinks they might have on their hands a case which won’t be easy to solve.

Filled with drama, murder, police work and even occasional comedy, The Last Train picks up speed from the intense begining and keeps the listener on the edge of his seat until the heartbreaking conclusion.


Michael Pronko is a Professor of literature at a prestigious Tokyo university and he is living in Japan for more than 20 years. I found his insights into the Japanese culture very interesting and it is evident how much he loves and respects their customs and beliefs. All of the above are reflected into a well written story of The Last Train, making the experience richer and completly immersive.

The audio version of The Last Train is brought to life, with talent and determination, by Robbie Belgrade and he does a good job with the characters and the story. As I understand it, this is Robbie‘s first performance as an audiobook narrator, but although he is new in the business, the end result is quite satisfying. I especially liked that he knows how to pronounce words and names in Japanese, giving an even more authentic narrative experience.

Fans of Murder Mysteries and of Police Procedurals should pick The Last Train up without hesitation. This first book in the Detective Hiroshi series reminded me of the earlier Harry Bosch novels by best-selling author Michael Connelly, but in place of the wellbitten streets of Los Angeles, United States, the action takes place in the exotic and mysterious city of Tokyo, Japan. Can’t wait for book #2!!!

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-05-21

I was rooting for the murderer all the way!

I enjoyed this Tokyo mystery novel very much. The story is engrossing ans fun, without a lot of explicit violence. The narrator, Robbie Belgrade, has a pleasant voice and good Japanese pronunciation. He does not give the characters distinctive voices, which works fine for me because I like his narrative style.

I hope Audible adds more titles in this series.

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  • Laura
  • 2018-11-29

So this was a pleasant change of scene.

I’ve never read any books about Japan, only watched movies. So this was a pleasant change of scene. I got to learn more about Japenese culture. I didn’t realize how common suicide was in Japan, the number of suicides by trains is insane. The story was really great. It left you guessing why the person was doing what they were doing. You knew the killer from the get-go which is also a nice change. You saw both sides of the story, the killer’s side and the police’s side.

I did have a little issue with keeping track with the names, but that is most likely just me with that issue.

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  • Mille
  • 2018-09-26

Enchanting!

I entered the world of this book's narative with a slight precaution, as I normally find books or movies set in Japan challenging. The Japanese culture, the people, the mindset - they are all so distant, so different and so exotic, that I tend t feel alienated in this unfathomable world.
And yet I could not stop listening. The story sucked me in. The devil is in the detail - and Michael Pronko's writing provides rich detail that all make the story so vibrant that it becomes alive. I almost felt the Tokyo rain on my shoulders, I could almost smell the food (having started the book on a day when I stayed home sick, I got pretty ravenous for hot broth while "seeing and smellng" the ramen Detective Hiroshi tastes) and hear the traffic of the busy Tokyo streets.
The story is compelling with it's focus on WHY instead of WHO, as you find out who-done-it in the very first pages.
Every sentence of the book is a testament to the great attachment the author holds to Tokyo and Japan. His love to this city and this country made a bridge for my cautious - at start - enthusiasm for this story, that grew on me with each chapter.
Can't wait for Detective Hiroshi, Volume 2!