Thursday, April 25, 2013

[Book Review] The Temple Dogs

Title: The Temple Dogs
Author: Warren Murphy and Molly Cochran
Date Published: August 23, 1989
Source: ARC
Genre: Adult Fiction, Action, Suspense
Rating: ★★★★

Barnes & Noble

About the Book:
When Susi Haverford and her husband are gunned down at their wedding reception by members of the notorious DeSanto crime family, Miles Haverford, Susi's brother, determines to retaliate. He heads to Japan to find Nagoya, leader of the Yakuza, the only mobsters capable of destroying the DeSantos clan. Originally a spoiled, feckless WASP, Miles is transformed into a fierce warrior of the Yakuza, whose greatest challenge is to survive the pathological hatred of Sato, Nagoya's heir apparent. Sato is jealous of the American's influence with the other warriors, not to mention his fiancee, the porcelain-complexioned--what else?--Tomiko.This situation occasions the most bizarre episode in the novel--a brawl in a heap of manure. Afterward, Miles returns to New York to lead the Yakuza against the DeSanto mob and the fun begins: heads are decapitated, arrows fly, necks are snapped, knives with oriental tassels are thrown at the faces of unsuspecting mafiosi, hands chop spinal cords. The final shoot-out in Central Park is a muddled orgy of mindless bloodletting.

A suspenseful and riveting intermingling of Western and Eastern culture in an action-packed and thought-provoking story-line.

The first chapter of the book really got my attention and pretty soon, I was devouring the whole thing with much gusto. There is something masterful about the way the authors narrated their story and even the way they presented their characters.

For one, I am a huge fan of action and suspense. Second, I have always been fascinated with the Japanese culture. Hence, this book was a total treat for me. And come on, you have to admit, Japanese Yakuza versus Italian Mafia is really just all kinds of awesome. I just had to give it five stars out of five!

The story-telling itself reminded me of Robert Ludlum, but it was written in a much simpler voice. The transitions were smooth and the characters were fascinating. The action scenes were awesome, too!  I could just imagine this book being made into a movie. I would definitely watch it!

The best part about this book are the 'temple dogs', or Miles and his sworn brothers. Their friendship and respect for each other is admirable. They're not entirely heartless, but they could kill. The violence with which they dealt with the people who killed Miles' family was pretty gruesome, but I liked it. I have no qualms about the violence in this book because what is being portrayed is mob business, and violence is sort of part of the whole package.

Another thing I really liked about this story is Miles Haverford himself. From the on-set, he was a spoiled rich kid. He's weak, mediocre, and pathetic even. But by the end of the story, he grew a backbone. Although his motivation wasn't exactly pristine (it being vengeance), but the thing is, he knew exactly what he was getting into when he started his vendetta. He may not have any idea of just what he was getting into when he flew to Japan and ask for help from Nagoya, but he perfectly understood everything when Nagoya and the others finally acknowledged his strength. His growth as a character was really drastic, and I applaud him for it.

I also appreciate the back stories given to the other side characters. These stories gave a glimpse of just what the other characters had to endure. It gave them depth and realism. The history lesson as Nagoya's back story was also interesting since he had to adjust from having a rich lifestyle to having nothing at all. Personally, I'd say that Nagoya is one of my most favorite characters in this story.

To be honest, this book is a welcomed break from all the romance novels I've been reading and reviewing. I don't know much about other reviewers, but personally, I would appreciate more action and suspense stories to read and review.

All in all, this book is a perfect mix of Western and Eastern culture dealing with mobs and underground organized groups. I think that fans of action and suspense genre would find this book highly entertaining.

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