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“Girl in a Box ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 11/10/2007

Girl in a Box
Sujata Massey
Harper, Oct 30 2007, $13.95
ISBN: 9780060765156

Underemployed Japanese-American sleuth Rei Shimura needs work so she accepts a job with some nebulous alphabet soup federal agency that is either a rival to the CIA and NSA or somehow connected to one of them. To know requires a top secret need to know clearance.

Her superior Michael Hendricks assigns Rei to go undercover as a clerk at a Tokyo department store whose profits are mind-boggling to learn how that can be. Besides struggling with why the Feds would care, she likes the assignment as she can purchase the latest in fashion using her employee discount. However, besides sexual harassment, Rei overhears the store's top manager make a death threat, which she reports to Michael. Worried about her as he is attracted to her, Michael rushes to Tokyo to allegedly protect her back. As Rei bungles with hiding her identity until she is exposed as either a CIA or espionage agent, Michael arrives in time to share a kiss.

This is a terrific espionage thriller as Rei changes occupations from sleuth to spy. Readers will enjoy her antics as she takes Tokyo like a typhoon hitting the city. Rei provides a strong anchor to the wild story line as an assimilated American struggling to adapt in her ancestors' homeland as a spy who to a degree is in the cold. The support cast is as good as they get whether it is store management harassing her naval, her agency boss kissing her, her store peers cursing her (and the customers) and the city as a whole. GIRL IN A BOX is a terrific fresh entry in this top rate Japanese American detective series.

Harriet Klausner

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