Detective Hiroshi Shimizu investigates white collar crime in Tokyo. He’s lost his girlfriend and still dreams of his time studying in America, but with a stable job, his own office and a half-empty apartment, he’s settled in.

When an American businessman turns up dead, his mentor Takamatsu calls him out to the site of a grisly murder. A glimpse from a security camera video suggests the killer was a woman, but in Japan, that seems unlikely. Hiroshi quickly learns how close homicide and suicide can appear in a city full of high-speed trains just a step—or a push—away.

Takamatsu drags Hiroshi out to the hostess clubs and skyscraper offices of Tokyo in search of the killer. She’s trying to escape Japan for a new life by playing a high-stakes game of insider information. To find her, Hiroshi goes deeper and deeper into Tokyo’s intricate, ominous market for the most expensive real estate in the world.

When Takamatsu inexplicably disappears, Hiroshi teams up with ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi. They scour Tokyo’s sacred temples, corporate offices and industrial wastelands to find out where Takamatsu went, and why one woman would be driven to murder when she seems to have it all.

In a megalopolis of 40 million people, finding one woman is nearly impossible. If he can’t find her, more businessmen will die, she’ll flee the country and the male-dominated, cutthroat world of buying and selling property will never change.

After years in America and lost in neat, clean spreadsheets, Hiroshi confronts the stark realities of the biggest city in the world, where inside information can travel in a flash from the top investment firms to the bottom of the working world, where street-level punks and teenage hostesses sell their souls for a small cut of high-profit land deals.

Hiroshi’s determined to cut through Japan’s ambiguities—and dangers—to find the murdering ex-hostess before she extracts her final revenge—which just might be him.



 Spotlight Reviews Feathered Quill

The Last Train (Detective Hiroshi series, Book 1) By: Michael Pronko Publisher: Raked Gravel Press Publication Date: May 2017 ISBN: 978-1942410126 Reviewed by: Lynette Latzko Review Date: July 2, 2017 Professor and award-winning essayist, Michael Pronko, takes readers on a fast-paced ride through the streets of Japan in his debut mystery novel, The Last Train. Detective… Continue Reading

Booklife Critic’s Report

BookLife Prize – 2017  Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10 Originality: 10 out of 10 Prose: 10 out of 10 Character/Execution: 10 out of 10 Overall: 10.00 out of 10 Assessment: Plot: This story grips the reader from the very beginning with its creepy and eerie premise, original story line, and rage-filled killer with icy determination. Prose: Well written and engaging throughout, the… Continue Reading

Reader Views Review of The Last Train

THE LAST TRAIN Michael Pronko Raked Gravel Press (2017) ISBN 9781942410126 Reviewed By Michel Violante for Reader Views (5/17) Article first published as Book Review: ‘The Last Train’ by Michael Pronko on Blogcritics. “The Last Train” by Michael Pronko begins late one evening with a beautiful, long haired brunette holding up and guiding an overweight drunken man at least… Continue Reading

Foreword/Clarion Review of The Last Train

The Last Train Reviewed by Shana Creaney  June 6, 2017 The Last Train is a well-paced and absorbing mystery, with quick action and a look at urban life. In The Last Train by Michael Pronko, Detective Hiroshi Shimizu and the Tokyo homicide unit go on a thrilling hunt for a murderer of rich men. Theirs is an utterly page-turning… Continue Reading

Review from Indie Reader

THE LAST TRAIN by Michael Pronko June 5, 2017/in Fiction, Indie Book Reviews, Mystery/Thriller /by IR Staff Verdict: Lyrically written, with plenty of suspense, THE LAST TRAIN is a novel that aims to please, and can’t really help but do so. Suicide by train is an all too common event in Tokyo, but the death of a Western businessman named Steve… Continue Reading

Review from

The Last Train, an Unforgettable Crime Thriller Set in Tokyo by BestThrillers Staff on May 25, 2017 in Crime Thriller Books, Mystery Books, New Book Releases, Thriller Book Reviews, Thriller Reviews The Bottom Line: Set in Tokyo, this exotic crime thriller is a lightning-fast chase to the finish line that you won’t soon forget. Mystery… Continue Reading

Starred Review from Blue Ink

In all, this is one you won’t want to miss. The Last Train will leave you scrambling for Pronko’s two other books featuring detective Shimizu: Thai Girl in Tokyo and Japan Hand. Continue Reading


Interview Feathered Quill Author Interviews Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Lynette Latzko is talking with Michael Pronko, author of The Last Train FQ: I enjoyed all of the characters in this story, especially the interactions between the detectives. Are any of these compelling characters based on real life people? PRONKO: Mostly they are composites of people I’ve observed and… Continue Reading

Interview with My Book Place Michael Pronko Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written. This is my debut mystery novel. I have lived, taught and written in Tokyo for twenty years, but I was born in Kansas City, a very different world from Tokyo. After graduating from Brown University in philosophy, I hit the road.… Continue Reading

Interview with Paul Semel at JUNE 28, 2017 Exclusive Interview: The Last Train Author Michael Pronko While noir crime novels are a distinctly American art form, it’s one that’s practiced by writers all over the world. Sweden gave us Henning Mankell (Faceless Killers), Matz (The Killer Omnibus Volume 1) hails from France, while Japan’s Hideo Yokoyama recently made… Continue Reading

Writing Setting, Writing Tokyo: Guest Post by Michael Pronko

Big Thanks to Janet Randolph at Mystery Fanfare, a super-well done blog about all things mystery MONDAY, JUNE 26, 2017 Writing Setting, Writing Tokyo: Guest Post by Michael Pronko Michael Pronko’s Tokyo-based mystery, The Last Train, was released May 31, 2017. Michael is the author of three collections of award-winning writings on Tokyo Life, Beauty and… Continue Reading

Interview with Literary Titan

People-Watching JUN 24 Posted by Literary Titan Michael Pronko Author Interview The Last Train revolves around Michiko Suzuki and the team of detectives that are investigating the train murders. What was the inspiration to the setup to this thrilling novel? For quite a few years I was writing about jazz every week, so I was always going… Continue Reading


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