Nikkei Detective

Private investigator Kevin “Kev” Shirota calls himself an OOCG, an Original Orange County Guy. The last place this Huntington Beach, California, native wants to be in is Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, but he finds himself there temporarily to operate his failing PI business. The only bonus is that his fourteen-year-old estranged daughter, Maddy, loves Little Tokyo, which can possibly bring the two closer together. But a series of vandalism and then the discovery of a dead body challenge not only Kev’s investigating skills, but maybe the relationships that are the most dear to him.

This is an original serialized story written for Discover Nikkei by award-winning mystery author Naomi Hirahara. A new chapter will be published on the fourth of every month from August 2014 through July 2015.

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Chapter Twelve—Keep on Shining

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We talk about bullying as if it’s a 21st century phenomenon. Boys bullying girls and boys who don’t fit in, the mean skinny girls bullying the dorky fat girls, and it goes on and on. But old farts like me know that unfortunately bullying is nothing new. It’s been around since the beginning of time and it was definitely part of my life in the Seventies.

In Orange County, I created a persona. I was the Hawaiian surfer dude with the puka shells who was always ready to party. It didn’t matter that ...

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Chapter Eleven—True Confessions

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We’re in my LAPD pal’s black-and-white. Officer Doug Brenner makes me sit in the back seat—it’s protocol—like I’m a common criminal, and unfortunately this isn’t the first time for me. You see, I’ve been under arrest in the past, but now I’m a concerned father. My 14-year-old daughter Maddy is missing and I’m going out of my mind trying to find her.

At least Doug has the siren on at full force as we speed down Wilshire Boulevard towards Hancock Park. Certainly beats the bus, which has ...

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Chapter Ten—Following the Doc Martens

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Some people, when faced with a crisis, go ballistic. They run around, their faces red and their voices bellowing. Others get stone cold. I’m in the latter category, which I guess is a good thing because I’m a PI. And right now on one of the hottest days in summer in Los Angeles, I’m freezing as if I was dropped in the middle of Antarctica.

My infuriating, Doc Martens-donning goth daughter, fourteen years old, is missing. And she’s without her cell phone, the anchor of any teenager—heck, any person these days. Maddy ...

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Chapter Nine—The Last Selfie

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“I’m a private investigator. Kevin Shirota,” I flash my license as if it really means something to a woman sitting behind a clear desk in the lobby of Fine Bank. This place is not like any financial institution I’ve ever been in. First of all, there are no tellers perched on high stools, but men and women dressed in high-tone suits that probably cost more than the SUV I had to sell to afford my defense attorney in my DUI case.

“You’ll have to talk to our legal department—” The receptionist is on her ...

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Chapter Eight—She Cleans Houses, Doesn’t She?

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“She was my friend. Perhaps my only friend.” Mrs. Yokoyama carefully enunciates each syllable. 

My fourteen-year-old daughter Maddy and I sit on a pure white fabric couch as we listen to the Japanese woman speak. Maddy, as usual, can’t stay still and I am worried that one of her muddy Doc Martens will leave a brown footprint on the bottom of Mrs. Yokoyama’s spotless couch.

In a middle-class Buddhahead household, our shoes would be off and left on the floor by the front door. But the Yokoyamas aren’t middle-class. They are upper class with ...

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