Suspense Fiction


Is it a powerful idea or just a pipe dream? 

In the year 2019, from Washington, D.C., to Napa Valley, to Tokyo, Brad Oaks pursues an ingenious international trade proposal that would rescue a family steel business and a scarce natural resource. He has conceived of a way to unravel bureaucratic snarls that stymie the Wishbone Pipeline project so crucial to his client, Elgar Steel. New to the Washington lobbying scene, Brad immediately encounters resistance at the muzzle of a sniper’s rifle. Just when he tries to pitch his proposal to the United States trade representative, the Elgar family is thrown into turmoil, and Brad must fly to Tokyo to chase down a previously unknown heir to the family business. That heir turns out to be Amaya Mori, a Japanese woman of sophistication, intellect, and beauty. Brad is smitten. He and all three heirs to Elgar Steel become targets in a capricious, international plot to sabotage America’s infrastructure. It doesn’t help matters that two of them, twin sisters, are at odds over the Wishbone pipe dream. Brad’s heroic effort to restore order brings him face to face with his own stark solitude. Diplomacy, danger and desire collide in this suspenseful, fast-paced political thriller ripped right out of next year’s newspapers. 

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Amaya Mori is not someone I know, but I'm sure is someone I've observed attending a concert or a theater performance in Tokyo. Educated and thriving in solitude, Amaya reflects much about her American father, who was committed to her wellbeing and showed her as much love as he could from twelve time zones away. Her elegant beauty reveals interior grace, integrity, and strength of character.

Japan’s culture is deeply rooted in nativism. I was surprised to learn from Japanese friends that families of salarymen returning from just a three-year posting abroad often experience discrimination. The word schools applied to their children, kikokushijo, is translated by the Japan Times as “returnees to a country not yet ready for them.” Since the 1970s, economic globalization has gradually reduced harsh practices at schools meant to strip away “foreignness,” but the old stereotypes and prejudices remain.

Amaya’s nuclear-strong force must resist the cumulative stigmas of being female, fostered, unmarried at 45, and fathered out of wedlock by a foreigner.

Brad Oaks’s solitude stems from a tragedy that deprived him of family and nearly of hope. He filled his emptiness with intense commitment to work at Elgar Steel, as Amaya did with her art gallery. They are content in solitude until they meet, and their business connection quickly becomes personal. What commitment are they willing to embrace to be together? What is the value of "a chance to not be alone anymore" for two people who thought they would always be alone?