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Mystery
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Independent Press Award 

2024 winner

Shitamachi Scam

Michael Pronko

In Tokyo, there isn't always respect for the aged. Sometimes, it's the opposite.After the suspicious deaths of a seventy-something woman and a student recluse, Detective Hiroshi tracks down a gang of scammers who target retirees, robbing them of their life savings. Hiroshi teams up with Detective Ishii, who's been running a women's crime task force. Together, they find out who has been ripping off the pensions, retirement accounts, and even the deeds to homes. The gang focused on shitamachi, the older, eastern side of the city, a place just waiting for urban renewal. With his personal life on hold (almost), Hiroshi finds out how complex the traditional life of Tokyo still is. With old-school Detective Takamatsu and ex-sumo wrestler Chief Sakaguchi watching his back, Hiroshi searches for who's behind the scams--and who's behind the scammers.

Shitamachi Scam
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