Reviewed by Becca
TITLE: Better Than Suicide
SERIES: The Yakuza Path #2
AUTHOR: Amy Tasukada
PUBLISHER: Macarons and Tea Publishing
LENGTH: 376 Pages
RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2017
A stash of drugs. A twisted cop. A mob on the verge of self-destruction…
Nao Murata is the new godfather of the Matsukawa syndicate. When Detective Yamada confronts Nao over a dead drug dealer, Nao knows his organization isn’t responsible. The Matsukawa doesn’t deal drugs… or does it?
When Nao discovers drugs in a locker owned by his syndicate, he no longer knows who to trust. With the police bearing down on the Matsukawa, Nao must make unlikely allies to find out the truth. Can he discover who is betraying him before time runs out, or will everyone suffer for a crime he didn’t commit?
In the underworld, only the strong survive. And in this series, we find out who the strong really is. In Kyoto, they are determined to keep tradition alive. Even if it means succumbing to the Yakuza to keep everything safe. This book, this series, is a trip into the underground, the belly of the Japanese mafia, and all that it entails. A trip of history, culture, blood and guts. I had been eyeing this series for a while and I’m glad I read it. The author has a way with words. You would not be disappointed.
If you haven’t read the first book, Blood Stained Tea, you need to stop and go read it first. You will definitely be lost if you don’t. If you have read it, then the story continues with Nao. Since Nao’s father, the former Matsuyama godfather, died, Nao has taken over. With the first pick as godfather in jail, Nao has assumed this role and takes it very seriously. He believes in a family that is in control with strong ties but still steeped in the history of the country. But someone is undermining him at every turn. He hates drugs and refuses to allow the family to ever be a part of that trade. But drugs are being sold under his nose and his is furious. On top of that, the police are closing in on Nao, trying to intimidate him into submission. And Nao refuses to let anyone take the fall for something they have not done. He isn’t sure who he can trust in his family anymore and digs to find out who is behind this treachery. As he looks into things, he finds the betrayals run deep and he is going to stop it. He is going to prove he can run this family and no one will underestimate him again.
Nao tried his best to leave the family and lead a normal life but he got pulled back in. Not only did he get pulled back in, but he’s the head of the family now. Plagued with nightmares and guilt and feelings of inadequacy, he does his best to lead. People in the family are underestimating him and he is fed up with being looked down on. I feel for Nao. Having lost the love of his life in deplorable circumstances, all he wanted was to be left alone and to run his tea shop. He still grieved after four years, and the loss was there every time he closed his eyes. He saw his lover in other people and it just kept bringing memories to the surface. All of them horrific. Added to that, finding his father’s eyes doesn’t help. All he feels is the walls closing in. Like he will never be good enough. What’s funny is Nao is such a compassionate person. He’s constantly taking care of those considered weaker. Or those who would be the underdog. He cares for his country and craves the beautiful traditions of old. He cares for the people in his country. Wanting to make sure they are thriving and not in deplorable situations. He can’t stand drugs and doesn’t tolerate anyone who tries to sell them. I admire him so much. Even being the head of a Yakuza, he still tries to do what’s right. That takes courage.
To see how Nao fights his way through all this adversity, you definitely need to read this book. You may not agree with everything he does, but he’s doing his best for everyone involved. And he’s proven himself so many times over. This book was so well written. You get such a look inside tradition and inside the underworld. Both of which are interesting and intriguing. The author has a way of pulling you inside of each world. A way of making you paint such a picture in your mind to see what she’s portraying. I can’t wait to see how it’s portrayed next.