Title: Yakuza Courage
Series: The Way of the Yakuza #2
Author: H.J. Brues
Genre: Contemporary/ Military/Interracial
Length: Novel (336 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 1st, 2014)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts
Blurb: Sequel to Yakuza Pride
Ex-Navy SEAL Brendan O’Farrihy enrolls in kendo classes to investigate a Honolulu dojo acting as a front for a Yakuza syndicate. Or at least that’s what Brendan’s client, Senator Harris, believes.
Through his kendo instructor, the cocky, short-fused, gorgeous Kinosuke Yonekawa, Brendan learns the criminals who are supposedly using the senator’s son, Kenneth, to expand their activities into the US, seem to have severed any Yakuza connections. The jaded, soul-scarred former soldier is captivated by the loyalty these gangsters show each other and the way they protect Ken like a tight military unit. Brendan wonders why the senator lied to him, and what the Yakuza are shielding Ken from.
When Ken disappears, Brendan suspects foul play and decides to help the man he is falling for, Kinosuke, and his friends, find Ken. But when Kinosuke discovers Brendan has been on the senator’s payroll, all bets are off.
Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5277
Review: Kuso, this book was awesome! What’s even more awesome is that I learned to swear in yet another language and I know it’s going to stick with me forever. Silliness aside, Yakuza Courage is a mix of everything I love in a book.
Funny, smart-assed characters? Check!
Proud and honest Yakuza? Hot and troubled navy SEALS? A good plot? Check, check and check!
This was the second book in The Way of the Yakuza series and it picks up no long after the end of the first book. I strongly recommend to start with book one if you want to completely understand the plot in Yakuza Courage. The guys are all in the US now and working hard to become legal residents. I loved all of them in the first book and I really enjoyed learning more about them. This is told from three points of view throughout the book and it alternates between Kinosuke, Brendan, and Kotaro; let me tell you their unique ways of thinking and of perceiving the mix of cultures in Hawaii is extremely funny and interesting.
Kinosuke Yonekawa and the rest of his friends and ex members of the Yakuza family have recently moved to the US of A and are working at the dojo owned by Kenshin-san. This book is not as dark as the first one but it doesn’t lack in action. In fact, this book was so action packed it constantly kept me on my toes. The author does an incredible job at showing the differences between the American and Japanese cultures.
It’s very difficult for the guys to integrate into the American society and their struggles are real and, for people like me who had to go through it all, sometimes very hard to read. Kinosuke, as an ex-Yakuza, has a very hard time figuring out who he is now. All he’s known since he was young was how to be a Yakuza, and now that he gave that up, he feels that without the Yakuza name he is nothing. He lacks self-confidence and at times, it was very hard for me to read the way he perceives himself; I just wanted to give him a hug…
“Fuck if he knew why he was so stupid, but he’d never been bright to begin with, and nobody said that moving from Japan to Hawaii was supposed to make you smarter. He wasn’t intelligent like the boss—or even Kitahara—he wasn’t as tough as Shinya, or as good a marksman as Tachibana. He was just a wild card, more or less like Kotaro, very good to be used as a gofer if he got step-by-step instructions and, in his case, very convenient for a holiday fling, easy to leave behind before moving on to more serious engagements in the mainland. “
Kotaro is the youngster, the little “brother,” whom Shigure has been raising since he was a child. All Kotaro has ever wanted was to be old enough to become one of the much respected Yakuza, so now that this is no longer an option, he feels lost. He tried hard to integrate and belong with the rest of the teenagers at the school in Hawaii he now attends, but he is treated badly. He joins the bullies, becomes part of their group, and does anything he needs to in order to feel like he belongs.
Kinosuke is frustrated with him because Kotaro ignores his responsibilities at the dojo and often leaves to do one thing he truly enjoys: surfing. But hanging out with the bad boys means he needs to prove he’s one of them and Kotaro soon learns that every action has consequences and that he can involuntarily hurt those, he loves the most.
Brendan is an ex-navy SEAL who is hired by Senator Harris to gather as much information as possible on the Yakuza family. He enrolls in kendo classes in order to investigate the dojo and his sensei is none other than the beautiful Kinosuke. The chemistry between those two is off the charts and I really enjoyed the progress of their relationship.
The cultural differences between the two make things complicated and it’s a real delight to watch them learn more about each other. The elegance and finesse of the Japanese culture made Brendan seem like an elephant crashing his way through the new territory. The relationship that forms between these two is short-lived because the truth always finds a way to come out. When Brendan’s real motivations for getting close to Kinosuke in the beginning are found out, Brendan finds that he has a lot of groveling to do if he wants to win Kinosuke back.
When Kenshin-san is kidnapped, the Yakuza and the SEALS must learn to work together and most of all, respect and trust each other, if they want to be successful. The constant banter between the characters is hilarious and their sarcasm is spot on. I especially liked how hard Kinosuke fought his attraction towards Brendan, it made me laugh the way he was trying to convince himself and others that there’s nothing about Brendan he likes.
His eyes felt about to pop out of their sockets. “But, Boss, he’s not even handsome. He’s just this pasty-faced, freckled redhead!”
“You don’t like his blue eyes?”
“Green. They’re green.” Kinosuke understood his mistake as soon as he closed his big mouth—he didn’t need Matsunaga’s knowing smile to confirm it.
“So you’ve noticed the color of his eyes,” the bastard said. “And his freckles.”
“I teach him every Wednesday and Friday, I can’t help seeing his fucking face.”
The only complaints I have is that maybe the book was a bit too long. If it were 50 pages less, it would have been truly perfect. Also, the way the transition was made between scenes wasn’t ideal. One moment they’re trying to escape and fight for their lives, the next it’s all over and they’re in the hospital. Ummm, no, that’s not good enough. I want to read the whole thing; I don’t want to imagine how it happened.
I recommend this to every reader that enjoys an action packed book, cultural clashes between amazing characters, banter, and sarcasm throughout the book that will entertain and amuse you until the end.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through https://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *