The Last Train

Detective Hiroshi, Volume 1

Fiction - Audiobook
Audio Book
Reviewed on 07/28/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

A Tokyo Mystery is the first book in the series The Last Train: Detective Hiroshi, Volume 1 by Michael Pronko. Detective Hiroshi Shimizu belongs to the homicide department but is a specialist in white-collar crimes, thanks to his English fluency and ability to sniff out scammers a mile away. There isn’t a case he can’t solve until his mentor Detective Takamatsu asks Hiroshi to come to Tamachi Station. They found the body of a foreigner on the train tracks, and he wants Hiroshi to investigate. At first, it appears to be a suicide, but they capture a woman on camera near the dead man before the incident happened. It can be suicide, or it can be murder. However, as they investigate the deceased, they find the same woman at a club he frequented. Who is the mysterious woman, and why is she everywhere they look? Could she be behind the other suicides at the train station?

The mystery and suspense in this story are incredible. Author Michael Pronko successfully describes real estate fraud and how it is almost an epidemic in Tokyo. As for the characters, Hiroshi stands out. He is the protagonist, but that is not why he is the center of attention. He is intelligent, attentive, and very clinical in his approach. As relatable as Hiroshi is, humanity is his finest quality. I love how the villain is not your typical businessman or wealthy company CEO. The author does a fantastic job of creating an antagonist with whom you can sympathize. The listeners already know what happened; the suspense comes from wondering how and what the villain will do next. The pace is perfect, and it does not crash or accelerate toward the finish. The author maintains the momentum and keeps the action alive until the end, ensuring the reader is not going anywhere!

Peter Berkrot is a fantastic narrator. He embodies the characters, feels the story, and then lays it all out for listeners to experience with him. Berkrot has a distinct style of narrating, especially when it comes to stories with strong protagonists. His articulation is perfect and allows listeners to lose themselves in the story.

Romuald Dzemo

The Last Train: Detective Hiroshi, Volume 1 by Michael Pronko starts with the gripping description of two people in the street who look like any couple after a night out in Tokyo. The man has a rambling walk which marks him as a foreigner and a very drunk one. The woman is steady and focused. When an American businessman is murdered, Detective Hiroshi Shimizu, who investigates Tokyo's white-collar crimes, is called in by his mentor, Takamatsu, to investigate the gruesome murder. In a city where crime is easily camouflaged as a suicide or an accident, Detective Hiroshi must go to various places, including hostess clubs, sacred temples, industrial establishments, and skyscraper offices in the fast-paced business environment of Tokyo in search of the killer. But why does an ex-hostess murder someone, and what is she going to do next?

The setting of this novel is enticingly depicted. The story world and backdrops are incredible and picturesque. The protagonist is a seasoned white-collar detective pursuing clues to expose a killer and the motive behind the killing. While this is a sleuth story, it explores the complexity of white-collar crime and presents a high-class business environment filled with complex deals. Ultimately, as the detective investigates the case, he finds his own life threatened by a woman with a tremendous grudge. It is fast-paced and riveting, punctuated by spellbinding descriptions, appealing characters, and vivid images that stay in the imagination long after putting the book down.

Masterfully narrated by Peter Berkrot, The Last Train is a hard-core thriller. His clear and mildly husky voice is compelling, and it captures emotions perfectly, allowing the drama to shine through the narration. Because The Last Train: Detective Hiroshi, Volume 1 is a professionally recorded audiobook, no one will have to pause to think about what the narrator said at any point in the story. It is an exciting and hugely entertaining novel.

Divine Zape

The Last Train: Detective Hiroshi, Volume 1 by Michael Pronko follows white-collar crime investigator Detective Hiroshi Shimizu in a case that is as baffling as it is intriguing. An American businessman is found murdered and Hiroshi’s mentor, Takamatsu, invites him on the case. Evidence shows that the killer could be a woman, but why will an ex-hostess murder an American businessman?

In this crime novel, the author takes readers on a ride through the sophisticated world of Tokyo, through the network that sells the most prized lands, to sacred temples, from high-rise condos to the industrial sections of the city. The characters are beautifully written and from the start of the story, readers are intrigued by the two characters, the seemingly drunk man and the lady who walks with him, steadily and with graceful steps. Michael Pronko’s descriptions are stunningly vivid, and whether it is an aspect of the setting, a character trait, or a scene that is being described, it is done in a way that readers can form an image of it in their minds. The plot is cunningly written, the narrative suspenseful, and the conflict deftly handled. It is packed with action and moments that are both psychologically and emotionally engaging.

The Last Train: Detective Hiroshi, Volume 1 is well-narrated by Peter Berkrot. The fast pace of the story is captured in the perfect punctuation, the tone of voice, and the narrator’s ability to convey the sense of urgency as the detective combs the city to locate the murderer. Once you start listening to this professionally recorded story, there is no stopping.