And now he knew what was wrong with the arrangement. It was the Ma… the negative space… There was only one thing beautiful enough to fill it and — finally — she was with him. Ready, if not willing, to play her role.
Holly Blain wants to cover real news. The entertainment beat — pop stars and teen trends — was not why she moved to Tokyo. When she meets Inspector Tetsu Tanaka, head of Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police’s Gaikoku-jin unit, it might just be her big break.
Tanaka isn’t so sure. Always one to do things by the book, he’s hesitant about bringing this headstrong reporter into his carefully controlled investigation.
But young women keep disappearing and Tanaka is given no choice. He and Blain must trust each other if they are to stop a tormented killer from bringing his twisted plan to its shocking conclusion.
The Flower Arranger was a fascinating and compelling read that allowed me to plunge headlong into the intricacies of Japanese culture. This novel allowed me to escape into a dreamlike, immersive and mysterious world, far away from my busy reality of teaching in a hectic secondary school. I was mesmerised by some of the descriptions of this mysterious and fascinating setting , and at times found it quite difficult to tear myself away and come back to reality. Thanks so much to Peyton from Agora Books for inviting e onto the Blogtour – as ever, your taste is impeccable!
The atmosphere of secrecy and drama is perfectly maintained throughout this wonderful novel; the Japanese setting was intriguing and made me browse online travel sites as soon as I finished reading The Flower Arranger as I wanted to see some of these sights for myself. Gary Raymond manages to make the setting as compelling and ‘present’ as her main characters. Even though I was reading it in Scotland in a rainy September Sunday I felt Japan come to life as I walked in the footsteps of these characters and experienced these macabre and disturbing events right alongside them.
JJ Ellis is definitely a talented voice who draws the reader into these characters’ world and makes them live for us as we read; lives which are are all the more powerful due to their unlikely and contrasting pairing. I was also drawn into exploring the real life disappearaance of British Traveller Lucie Blackman after reading this book and if you enjoyed this book, I’m sure you’d love People Who Eat Darkness too – which is a non-fiction exploration of this case.
The pairing of Holly with Tetsu Tanaka is a stroke of genius as it allows us to experience this case from the perspective of an insider and an outsider at the same time. I really felt captivated by this atmospheric blend of deft characterization with a real sense of place . So many questions flood our minds as we are drawn into this web – Who is creating these floral works of art? What is Holy’s true motivation? Will the Japanese bureaucracy block them from discovering the evil genius behind these manoeuvres?
I can see this being a novel that I’ll be begging other people to read. It would make a fabulous book group choice as I feel that it could promote really interesting discussions about the way that setting can draw you in, the way we are drawn into a case like this whilst witnessing a totally different cultural stance at the same time – a culture which I really didn’t know much about. I was totally engrossed from start to finish and could not go to sleep until I found out how it ended. There ’s a dreamlike atmosphere that pervades this book and it really captured my imagination – Buy yourself a copy here and immerse yourself in this absorbing and unique world.
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Writer On The Shelf
JJ Ellis was born and raised in Yorkshire in northern England although now lives near London. The author’s interest in Japan was sparked when a family member won a trip there by singing in Japanese at an exhibition in the UK. Several visits followed — to Tokyo and further flung places such as Ishigaki and Iriomote — as Ellis developed the idea for The Flower Arranger. Two more crime novels featuring the team of Tanaka and Blain are planned.
The Flower Arranger is JJ Ellis’ first novel.
‘THE FLOWER ARRANGER grabs you by the lapels from the first sentence. Brutal, beautiful, and dripping with darkness, JJ Ellis has served up a riveting mystery.’ — Nicolás Obregón, author of Blue Light Yokohama
‘Lyrical and chilling, The Flower Arranger is a dangerous dive into the dark heart of Tokyo’ — M K Hill, author of The Bad Place
‘The perfect balance – the beauty of Japanese culture mingled with the dark side of Tokyo’s nightlife. Thrilling from start to finish.’ — Sam Hurcom, author of A Shadow on the Lens