Clark and Division

Soho Crime. Aug. 2021. 312p. ISBN 9781641292498. $27.95. M
The treatment of American citizens of Japanese descent during World War II comes to life in this mystery by Hirahara (“Mas Arai” series). The Ito family are uprooted from their life in California and sent to Manzanar, a concentration camp for Japanese Americans. At Manzanar, Aki, her older sister Rose, and their parents endure privation and suffering. When detainees who are not considered security risks are allowed to leave the camp, Rose is among them. She is relocated to Chicago, but it takes several more months before the rest of the family is allowed to join her. When they arrive in Chicago, they are greeted not by Rose but by news of her death. Everyone is calling it an accident—or worse, suicide. But Aki knows something terrible happened to her sister. Dogged in her pursuit of answers, Aki questions everyone she can find who knew Rose—roommates, friends, coworkers. She’s shocked and confused by what she learns, but pushes onward to discover the truth. In the course of the investigation, Aki confronts dangers, makes friends in unexpected places, falls in love, and finally finds the courage to be true to herself.
VERDICT Hirahara does a masterly job of incorporating extensive historical research into an emotionally compelling story. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy high-quality historical fiction with well-drawn characters and an engrossing plot.
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