Killer Roll

Maki Mitchell, one of the few female Japanese chefs in the world, works at Yudai’s Corner, a sushi bar in California’s Silicon Valley. Still bruised from her divorce to an American man, she uncharacteristically lets down her guard to a male customer one evening. That seemingly random encounter leads her down dark paths involving high-tech hijinks and international espionage. Soon Yudai’s Corner becomes a full-fledged detective agency and all the employees ban together to not only solve murders but to also support and protect the life of their female sushi chef.

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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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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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Chapter Seven — The Magic of Kitchen

The condo itself is one of those nondescript kinds all along Embarcadero in Palo Alto. It’s part of a larger complex with probably at least fifty units. My ex-husband’s condo is way in the back and I stand there waiting for his lawyer, Jordan Phelps.

With everything that has happened, I know that it’s quite dangerous for me to be out there, in plain sight. But I’m tired of being scared and ashamed about my past. Ever since my customer—well, I guess date—was killed and then my ex-husband, I’ve been questioned countless times ...

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Chapter Six — Pretender

I’m assembling a natto hand roll for a software engineer with Google, when a man in a motorized wheelchair enters Yudai’s Corner. He has a grizzled red beard that looks like strands of saffron and a Giants baseball cap.

“I’m looking for Maki Mitchell,” I hear him announce to our waitress, Carrie. He is already looking my way, so I figure he already knows who I am.

Carrie is giving him the third degree, but I tell her that it’s okay. It’s almost closing time in between lunch and dinner, anyway, and the engineer is ...

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Chapter Five — Murder Menu

“The first official meeting of Yudai Investigations is called to order,” Yudai says as our fivesome make our way in a residential area of Mountain View. Instead of our typical donburi, Hector has made onigiri with leftovers in the middle. Som has one with a hotdog; Carrie, tofu; Yudai, carnitas; and me, tamagoyaki. Hector himself eats a burrito he has made at home. All of it can be eaten while walking.

Som stuffs his onigiri in his mouth and starts to pass out menus to each of us.

I don’t think that the detective agency work has anything to ...

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