Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Code Name "Akiko" on Kindle

THE LONELINESS OF THE BLUE-EYED ASSASSIN has now sold about a thousand copies as an e-book on Amazon/Kindle.

Also, sales are picking up for the three other "Akiko" e-books:  a short story and two novellas that, linked together, add up to a complete novel arc. Here is what I wrote about the first novel, when it was still titled AKIKO'S FURY and I was querying agents (Allan Guthrie ended up representing it in the UK, calling it a work of "genius"):

Deadly “Akiko” retires from killing to restore a Zen temple on a remote island off Japan. But violent people won’t let her alone.

AKIKO’S FURY is the first in a planned series of crime thrillers dealing with the life of a half-Japanese half-American young woman who also happens to be a highly paid assassin code-named Akiko.

Born in Okinawa to a heroin-addicted American ex-Marine and a Japanese bar girl, the blue-eyed, black-haired Molly Vance grew up in San Francisco until age nine, when her father died mysteriously. She was then brought to Tokyo and raised by her father’s friend, a yakuza gangster.

As a teenager, she was trained in martial arts by the head of an ancient cult of tattooed female assassins called the Habu Kurage, or Medusas. Following her adopted father’s death in a yakuza war, Molly went on a bloody rampage, destroying the entire rival yakuza clan.

Still later, after more intensive training by the head of the Medusas, she began working worldwide for a shadowy group known only as the Organization, and quickly gained renown as the deadliest woman alive.

But, after glimpsing an underlying pattern and suddenly realizing the Organization’s motives behind the “hits” she is assigned, Akiko risks it all to help one of her targets escape.

She then disappears from view, going to live in an abandoned mountain temple on a remote island off the coast of Japan.

Both the Organization and the Medusas are now determined to find Akiko — and kill her. Even worse, they have found a way to get to Molly through people in her past. To save their lives and her own, she must unleash all her fury.


In this novel Molly Vance, living under a false name, is busy restoring the ruined Zen temple as a way of purging her dark karma. At the same time she is falling in love with the remote island’s only policeman, a young man named Jiro Takagi, whom she begins to train in the sword.

One day she gets a letter from her adopted father’s former mistress. The woman’s teenage daughter was kidnapped by Chinese gangsters on a trip to San Francisco and is being forced to work as a prostitute in a sleazy massage parlor.

Akiko travels to San Francisco to get the girl back and soon finds herself fighting for her life against a hired kung fu master. Though Akiko survives almost unscathed, retrieves the girl and returns to her island, the head of the Medusas has now gotten word of her whereabouts, and sends assassins.

After Takagi is badly hurt trying to save her life, Akiko realizes that she cannot run away any longer — that she must face her former teacher in a combat to the death.

“Akiko” is like a female Jason Bourne, James Bond, or Nicolai Hel (the reluctant assassin hero of Trevanian’s SHIBUMI). Each novel in the series is fast paced, cleanly written, and structured as cleanly as a Simenon mystery or an Ian Fleming Bond novel.

Though Akiko is the central character we get immersed in many other characters, places and situations, so each novel has its own mood and “feel,” and stands on its own.

This opening novel gives us Akiko’s painful backstory, shows her fighting like a fury to save her friends, and at the end launches her on a completely unexpected path.

A damaged but appealing protagonist whom I hope everybody will want to cheer on as she fights impossible odds using only her finely honed skills and wits, plenty of sharp martial arts action reminiscent of samurai and yakuza movies (including Tarantino’s KILL BILL 1 and 2 and just about anything by Takashi Mike), exotic settings, and strong, evocative, sensual writing. That’s about it.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

What's Happening with Molly Vance?

THE LONELINESS OF THE BLUE EYED ASSASSIN Kindle e-book has now sold a few hundred copies. At first I thought it was just my friends buying it but I don't have that many friends.

After my last agent (noted Scottish crime writer and agent Allan Guthrie) couldn't get a publisher to pick up this novel, I put it away sadly, resigned to nobody ever reading it. I am glad that some people are now reading and enjoying it.

I've continued the "Akiko" saga in three more short e-books also to be found on my Amazon Author's Page. And I am writing more.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Jacket Copy

A deadly half-Japanese half-American woman ex-assassin tries to atone for her dark past by rebuilding a Zen temple on a remote island. But violent people won't let her alone.

Orphaned at nine, the blue-eyed and black-haired Molly Vance is brought up in Tokyo by a taciturn yakuza gangster and trained thoroughly in the martial arts by the head of an ancient cult of woman assassins who all wear the tattoo of a Habu Kurage (the poisonous stinging Medusa jellyfish). At 18, she avenges her adoptive father's death in a bloody rampage that destroys an entire rival yakuza clan. She then becomes a feared international assassin working for an ultra-mysterious criminal group known only as "the Organization." But upon realizing the true motives behind the killings she is assigned, the beautiful and deadly"Akiko" quits the business and retires under a false identity to a remote island in the Sea of Japan, where she begins singlehandedly rebuilding a Zen temple to expunge her dark karma. Now the Organization has found a way to get at Molly through people in her past. To save their lives and her own, she will have to unleash all her fury.

Some Readers Respond

(These short reviews of THE LONELINESS OF THE BLUE-EYED ASSASSIN are from the Web site Authonomy.com)

"I got caught up with this at work . . . didn't want to stop reading . . . I love your style of writing . . . it is smooth and easy to read and I found myself so quickly immersed in the story and the haunting, descriptive way in which you write it. I am already fixating on Akiko (Molly) . . . framing her image in my mind . . . deadly, I know. Another complete story that I will read to the end. Many thanks for sharing this powerful piece of writing."

"Epic, classic, forged in the blast-oven of unflinching honesty. These characters live knowingly in the shadow cast by death, neither afraid to face their fate nor the exit point, and so live totally in the moment given. Beautiful, spare, direct prose, conveying understanding and acceptance of the ancient credo: Live by the sword, die by the sword, honor is the dying man's greatest possession; honor life and respect those about to die, for they tread a path we all shall tread. Cinematic, in the great tradition of Shawscope movies from the 70's. The scene of Ogata and Jack Vance in the bar and on the dock is riveting, real, mythic."

"This was just amazing to read. Such an interesting story and then so beautifully written! Your unusual approach to dialogue only added to the story in that it furthered it in being a story that felt foreign and rich."

"Not my usual genre, but it is extremely fast paced, and a thrilling read. Your characters are fascinating, as is the original storyline."

"This is a fascinating story - fast and sassy, with incredible action. Extremely well written and a real page turner."

"What a fascinating ride. A roller-coaster which no sooner slows down than it races away again. Excellent work and very hard to put down."

"You've constructed an engaging thriller. The characters shine and have depth. The insightful narrative glows. Crisp descriptions of settings and scenes. Strong structure. Adept writing. A captivating read."

"This is lyrical, sophisticated writing. Literary is a word I don't often use, but I think it can be truly applied to your work. And I call it a 'work' rather than a book, because it seems to me it's a kind of masterpiece - something which, like an early Renaissance oil painting, takes painstaking brush strokes, time and skill to produce."

The First Novel in the "Akiko" Series

For fans of James Bond, Jason Bourne, Nicolai Hel -- and Nikita.

A deadly half-Japanese half-American woman ex-assassin tries to atone for her dark past by rebuilding a Zen temple on a remote island. But violent people won't let her alone.

THE LONELINESS OF THE BLUE-EYED ASSASSIN is now a low-priced Amazon/Kindle e-book!

"Okamoto deftly avoids the usual pitfalls that bedevil the action genre and has created something original, exciting, and totally unexpected." *****

"An extraordinary razor-honed orgy of Asian mysticism, bloodshed and sex."

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