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The Flask of the Drunken Master by Susan Spann Review & GIVEAWAY!

The Flask of the Drunken Master by Susan Spann Review & GIVEAWAY!

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.

The Flask of the Drunken Master by Susan Spann
Series: Shinobi Mysteries #3
Published by Minotaur Books
Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Genres: Drama, Fiction, Mystery or Thrillers, World or cultural
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Indie Bookstores | Amazon

The Flask of the Drunken Master by Susan Spann & GIVEAWAY (ends 8/24/15). 4* for this murder mystery set in samurai era Japan, rich in history & culture.Synopsis from Goodreads:

“Master ninja Hiro Hattori and his companion Father Mateo are once again pulled into a murder investigation when a rival artisan turns up dead outside of their friend Ginjiro’s sake brewery. They must find the killer before the magistrate executes Ginjiro, seizes the brewery, and renders his family destitute. All the evidence implicates the brewer, yet with Kyoto on alert in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, Ginjiro’s is not the only life at risk.

As tensions rise, Hiro investigates a missing merchant, a vicious debt collector, a moneylender and the victim’s spendthrift son. But when a drunken Buddhist monk insists on helping Hiro and Father Mateo solve the crime, the monk’s bumbling threatens to foil the investigation altogether. With time running out, Hiro once again gambles on a clandestine mission to find the truth. Except that this time, Hiro isn’t the only one with a secret mission to fulfill.

Flask of the Drunken Master is the latest entry in Susan Spann’s thrilling 16th century Japanese mystery series, sure to gain new fans and please old alike.”

My Thoughts:

It’s not often that the more I think I about a book, the more I liked it but such is the case with The Flask of the Drunken Master by Susan Spann. It should come as no surprise to my frequent readers that I love reading and learning about different countries and cultures. I am, after all, a co-host for the Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge.

When I select a book for our challenge, I hope it quenches my curiosity for the culture. Honestly, sometimes I’m disappointed when the book speaks little to the atmosphere, culture and customs of the country. However, The Flask of the Drunken Master was rich in imagery and culture, teaching me more about the life, expectations and etiquette of the samurai and shinobi and the class system during that period. I found the period fascinating and wanted to learn more about it.

If you saw the author’s guest post on my blog a few weeks back, you’ll see what inspired Susan to write this book and her amazing research trip to Japan. The pictures from her trip really helped me envision what was happening in the story. The book even had a dictionary of Japanese terms and a cast of characters reference guide to help keep the names straight (I would love if all books had a cast of characters, wouldn’t you?). 

I wondered how coming in at the third book of the series would go but thankfully, I was not lost or disconnected from the characters at all. I was able to pick up on Hiro and Father Mateo’s unique relationship. Hiro serves the Jesuit priest and their conversations about duty, honor and their religious and cultural beliefs are interesting. They are a clever team, often playing good cop, bad cop either on purpose or unwittingly to get the answers they sought.

This book reminded me of An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd. Both books are clean mysteries, the violence not too graphic and the story centered around solving a murder rather than the shock and awe of the crime and investigation. I will have to go back and read the other books in the series, Claws of the Cat and Blade of the SamuraiThe Flask of the Drunken Master is a book I would let my teen read and think he would enjoy learning about the samurai culture in Japan. 


Japan – qualifies for my Travel the World in Books Reading challenge goals

Tour Schedule:

tlc tour host

Tuesday, July 7th: Open Book Society Claws of the Cat
Thursday, July 9th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, July 13th: A Fantastical Librarian
Monday, July 13th: Griperang’s Bookmarks – Claws of the Cat
Wednesday, July 15th: Buried Under Books
Monday, July 20th: Book Dilettante
Tuesday, July 21st: Griperang’s Bookmarks – Blade of the Samurai
Wednesday, July 22nd: The Reader’s Hollow
Wednesday, July 22nd: 5 Minutes for Books
Wednesday, July 22nd: girlichef
Thursday, July 23rd: Book Nerd
Friday, July 24th: Mom’s Small Victories – guest post
Friday, July 24th: Book Dilettante – guest post
Monday, July 27th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, July 28th: Priscilla and Her Books
Wednesday, July 29th: Reading Reality
Thursday, July 30th: Open Book Society
Friday, July 31st: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, August 3rd: Luxury Reading
Friday, August 7th: Griperang’s Bookmarks
Monday, August 10th: Jorie Loves a Story
TBD: Bell, Book & Candle



TLC Book Tours is letting me give away one copy of this unique book! Open to US/Canada residents only, giveaway ends 8/24/15 at 11:59pm EST.

What books have you enjoyed that are set in Japan? Do you like mysteries or horror books? Give me your recommendations and let me know what you think about this book!


About Susan Spann

Susan Spann is a transactional publishing attorney and the author of the Shinobi Mysteries, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and his Portuguese Jesuit sidekick, Father Mateo. Her debut novel, CLAWS OF THE CAT (Minotaur Books, 2013), was named a Library Journal Mystery Debut of the Month. Susan has a degree in Asian Studies from Tufts University, where she studied Chinese and Japanese language, history, and culture. Her hobbies include cooking, traditional archery, martial arts, and horseback riding. She lives in northern California with her husband, son, two cats, and an aquarium full of seahorses


    1. You’re very welcome Susan, I really appreciate you sharing your experience in Japan, a corner of the world I have not yet visited. It really did bring a new level of enjoyment to me hearing about your experience beforehand. Thanks for sharing with us!

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