Naomi Hirahara

Hirahara is the author of the Edgar Award-winning Mas Arai mystery series, which features a Kibei Nisei gardener and atomic-bomb survivor who solves crimes. Her new mystery series with a female hapa bicycle cop was launched in April 2014 with the publication of Murder on Bamboo Lane. The second in the series, Grave on Grand Avenue, is available now. She authored a 12-part serial for Discover Nikkei titled “The Nihongo Papers” and “Baishakunin, Inc.”

Updated June 2015

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Killer Roll

Chapter Twelve — Family Ties

“Just give it to me, Maki.” I hear Carrie’s voice behind me. I’m so relieved that she, Som, and Crowe have arrived. She walks and stands in front of me, her blue eyes laser focused on my face and I know that she means business. I have a government-issued gun in my trembling hands and I almost drop it. Luckily she has good reflexes and catches it.

Agent Neela Bronstein is still yelling obscenities related to her palm wound. Blood is dripping onto the linoleum floor of the Bhalla family kitchen. Som throws her a roll of gauze ...

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Killer Roll

Chapter Eleven — How to Sharpen a Knife

One of the first things Yudai, my boss at the sushi bar, taught me was how to properly sharpen my knife.

He uses the traditional Japanese method of mizunoushi, or literally water stones. They are rectangular stones that look like the Japanese confection yokan. After soaking them in water for 12 hours, you remove the stones and sharpen your blade with them, scraping the blade against the stone’s surface at a 15 degree angle.

Here in Carrie’s car, we don’t have the luxury of using water stones, and rely on the next best thing—Crowe’s sharpening ...

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Killer Roll

Chapter Ten — Double Crosser

“What do you mean Yudai was behind this?” I can hardly get the words out of my mouth. Yudai is like my Japanese brother—only many times more because while my own blood relatives have stomped on my dream, Yudai made it possible for me to be a sushi chef. And Som, my coworker, is saying that our beloved boss may be trying to destroy us.

“You’re out of your mind, Som,” Carrie says as she steers her car onto El Camino. Gridlock as usual. Welcome to Silicon Valley.

Som peels off the duct tape from his wrists, wincing ...

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Killer Roll

Chapter Nine — Where’s Som?

On my dead husband’s laptop is only one document, a letter addressed to me.

Carrie glances at me and I nod. She double clicks on the “For Maki” file and a Microsoft Word document opens.

Dear Maki:

If you are reading this, I’m probably dead and you’ve been smart enough to stay alive.

I’m so sorry that I’ve put you in such a terrible position. I wish I had some good advice for you, but you’ve seen where I’ve ended up.

Just know that I left you not because I didn’t care ...

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Killer Roll

Chapter Eight — Try Tamago

I wait for Crowe to threaten to publicly expose my lies. I picture being kicked out of the dorm and being on the front page of the Stanford Daily: middle-aged Japanese sushi chef impersonating a graduate student. 

Anago feast,” he says, sharpening his kitchen knife with a steel rod.

“Excuse me?” I find a wire-mesh strainer and pour my broth into a plastic container. I’ll use the dashi for another purpose.

“You mean that you prepared an anago feast for another customer besides me?”

I blink and focus on his hazel eyes. The hair is different but the face ...

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