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The Flower Arranger: A story she can't let go. A case he can't solve. A killer who won't stop.

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An astonishing and evocative debut from a new voice in crime fiction. 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 An astonishing and evocative debut from a new voice in crime fiction. 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. Filled with twists and turns, this unforgettable thriller is JJ Ellis’ first novel. PRAISE FOR THE FLOWER ARRANGER '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 'I will read whatever JJ Ellis publishes next!' — Clare Rhoden, author of The Stars in the Night 'a welcome change from your typical thriller.' — Michele, NetGalley Reviewer 'kept me hooked.' — Anisa, NetGalley Reviewer


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An astonishing and evocative debut from a new voice in crime fiction. 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 An astonishing and evocative debut from a new voice in crime fiction. 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. Filled with twists and turns, this unforgettable thriller is JJ Ellis’ first novel. PRAISE FOR THE FLOWER ARRANGER '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 'I will read whatever JJ Ellis publishes next!' — Clare Rhoden, author of The Stars in the Night 'a welcome change from your typical thriller.' — Michele, NetGalley Reviewer 'kept me hooked.' — Anisa, NetGalley Reviewer

30 review for The Flower Arranger: A story she can't let go. A case he can't solve. A killer who won't stop.

  1. 5 out of 5

    Whispering Stories

    British Holly Blain is working as a reporter in Japan covering the showbiz section for a local newspaper. She hates her job and has always had aspirations to become a journalist covering crime stories. Her big break comes when she meets Inspector Tetsu Tanaka who wants her help. Young foreign women have been going missing and the police are at a loss as to what is happening to them, that is until one of the women turn up dead, arranged as the centrepiece for a flower arrangement. The journalist British Holly Blain is working as a reporter in Japan covering the showbiz section for a local newspaper. She hates her job and has always had aspirations to become a journalist covering crime stories. Her big break comes when she meets Inspector Tetsu Tanaka who wants her help. Young foreign women have been going missing and the police are at a loss as to what is happening to them, that is until one of the women turn up dead, arranged as the centrepiece for a flower arrangement. The journalist and the inspector need to work together if they are to catch the killer and to prevent any more women going missing. The Flower Arranger is a crime thriller book set in Tokyo, Japan. There is a twisted killer on the loose and Inspector Tetsu Tanaka needs the help of journalist Holly Blain to catch him. The two must learn to trust one another and work together if they have any chance of getting the murderer off the street. Unfortunately, the killer is very meticulous and clever and is not going to be easy to find or stop. The book is told in the third person and we do get to read short chapters from the killers perspective but they never give much away so you are as blind as Holly and the inspector as to who he is and why he kills. The pair work well together and their characters bounced off one another which made their parts enjoyable to read about. The Japanese culture was lacking a little as there wasn’t much written about it except for the odd word or phrase thrown in, so this I would have liked to of seen a little more of. The ending was perfect although I was left a little confused a few pages back when another character was brought in who had played no part in the rest of the book, I presume this being a trilogy we will get to hear more about them in the later books. Overall the plot drags you in has you turning the pages at speed wanting to keep up with the investigation and the thrill of the chase, and this book was all about the chase. The mind of the killer felt calculated and a little unhinged and I wanted to know what made him kill. This is one of those books where you think I’ll read just a couple of chapters and then an hour later you realise that you are still reading having been sucked into the story and held captive. It is a very imaginative book and I enjoyed it immensely.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This Japanese game of cat-and-mouse had me engrossed from the beginning. Despite struggling with the Japanese language and names, I relished in reading this different crime thriller about a country I know very little about. To be honest, I do not feel that the blurb creates the excitement reflected in the narrative. It was so thrilling and interesting that I could not put it down. Definitely not what I was initially expected! Whilst I was not spending my time totally questioning who was the This Japanese game of cat-and-mouse had me engrossed from the beginning. Despite struggling with the Japanese language and names, I relished in reading this different crime thriller about a country I know very little about. To be honest, I do not feel that the blurb creates the excitement reflected in the narrative. It was so thrilling and interesting that I could not put it down. Definitely not what I was initially expected! Whilst I was not spending my time totally questioning who was the killer, I enjoyed observing how the police worked towards catching them. The narrative shifts between the investigation and then the perpetrator. However, due to the short chapters, readers are only presented with the briefest of glimpses into the criminal’s actions. This makes the reader as naive as the police, and join them in the hunt before they strike again. I don’t hold much knowledge of Japanese culture and the writer successfully uncovers this within the narrative. This makes the story interesting at the same time as being a great read. There’s a lot of references to Japanese culture, (as you would expect from a book set in Japan) and this uncovers the more secretive side, the lesser known parts of life in Tokyo. Indeed, the writer appears well-informed and it shows through the narrative. The tension builds in this story and I found myself increasingly engrossed as the plot developed. Blain, the journalist, is a likeable character and I found it interesting how not much attention is paid to her background. In this instance, I felt it allowed readers to focus on the crimes being committed. I have noticed that this is intended to be a series and, with the suggestions dropped at the end of the book, I can’t wait to read the revelations! When Blain begins to receive ambiguous packages at her office, I found it extremely creepy. The heat intensifies and, whilst I did not necessarily agree with her actions, believe that the writer does this deliberately to add to the suspense. I could easily picture her opening the packages and the continued references to the beautiful Japanese blossom juxtaposed with the horror that was taking place. Despite struggling with the unusual names, I really enjoyed this book. It was fast paced and definitely thrilling. In fact, I don’t think I could write of any criticisms! It’s a solid, enjoyable story and I was easily lost in this unknown world, trying to find this mysterious killer. With thanks to Agora books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alayne Emmett

    I was a bit wary when I read the back of this book but decided to give it a go especially as it was given to me by a family member who loves books as much as I do. I really enjoyed this story although the Japanese names were hard to read. Set in Japan made it more interesting and different to a lot of books I read. I throughly recommend this book as it keeps you reading to the end.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    The Flower Arranger has atmosphere in spades, a beautifully descriptive sense of place, a creepy bad guy and two main protagonists who are very different to each other creating a yin yang feel to proceedings – I thought it was great. The cultural layers are highly intriguing and very well layered, the mystery element is clever and imaginative and bound to cause the odd shiver or two. More of a whydunnit than whodunnit we also get scenes from the killer which added huge flavour to the overall The Flower Arranger has atmosphere in spades, a beautifully descriptive sense of place, a creepy bad guy and two main protagonists who are very different to each other creating a yin yang feel to proceedings – I thought it was great. The cultural layers are highly intriguing and very well layered, the mystery element is clever and imaginative and bound to cause the odd shiver or two. More of a whydunnit than whodunnit we also get scenes from the killer which added huge flavour to the overall read. I liked the nature theme, the flowers, these things of beauty used in a dark dark art and overall this was a tense and considered thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope we get more from Holly and Tanaka. A dynamic duo indeed. Recommended

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kalyn Woodbury

    Holly Blain moved to Tokyo to help her career move in a different direction. Instead of covering fluffy entertainment news, she wants to cover the big, important stuff. With enough begging, her boss finally allows her to work with Tetsu Tanaka, the head of a Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police unit, for just one day a week. Can a case about young foreign women disappearing be her big break, and can she and Tanaka take the killer down? You know that kid in high school that got *waaay* too into anime and Holly Blain moved to Tokyo to help her career move in a different direction. Instead of covering fluffy entertainment news, she wants to cover the big, important stuff. With enough begging, her boss finally allows her to work with Tetsu Tanaka, the head of a Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police unit, for just one day a week. Can a case about young foreign women disappearing be her big break, and can she and Tanaka take the killer down? You know that kid in high school that got *waaay* too into anime and next thing you know, they start inserting random Japanese words into conversation (that’s so kawaii!!) and started addressing people with “-san” or “-kun”? That is this book. Seriously. If this book is in English, why on Earth are there honorific suffixes and random Japanese words everywhere? If it’s just to remind readers that the story takes place in Japan and the conversations are in Japanese, then that’s just lazy writing and an insult to the reader’s intelligence. We could make do with a few meaningful references here and there; you don’t need to remind us THIS often. I was so excited when I got approved for this book and my disappointment is huge. Not to say that this was a bad book, of course, because it wasn’t, especially for a debut novel. The plot was really interesting and I ADORED the fact that we had a sapphic protagonist, but every time I read "Tanaka-san” I cringed so hard I almost died. Honestly, if the weeaboo-esque wording was changed, this could easily be 4-stars. (There's also something to be said about how Blain is portrayed to be so perfect in everything Japanese (no accent, perfect grammar, can sit in a traditional way for ~~hours~~ unlike those other foreigners!) but I'll let it slide this time.) Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for providing me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emma Shaw

    The Flower Arranger is an atmospheric novel seeped in layers of Japanese culture. The beautiful imagery transported me into this different world that I knew relatively little about. But amongst the beauty is something dark. Someone is using the pretty flowers to create macabre and unnerving arrangements that they then put on public display. Holly Blain, an ambitious young journalist determined to make a name for herself, and Detective Tetsu Tanaka, are hunting him. But he manages to stay one The Flower Arranger is an atmospheric novel seeped in layers of Japanese culture. The beautiful imagery transported me into this different world that I knew relatively little about. But amongst the beauty is something dark. Someone is using the pretty flowers to create macabre and unnerving arrangements that they then put on public display. Holly Blain, an ambitious young journalist determined to make a name for herself, and Detective Tetsu Tanaka, are hunting him. But he manages to stay one step ahead and evade capture. As the pressure mounts they know they must get results or heads will roll and the careers they’ve worked so hard for will be damaged. The two protagonists are an unlikely duo, a yin and yang as it were. Blain will do anything to get her story and to finally realise her ambition of working on the crime team at her newspaper, and while Tanaka finds himself fighting against red tape he’s someone who likes to do things right. As they try to learn to work together these differences often lead to clashes, chaos and battles against each other to get to their man first. They’re also hampered by Japan’s bureaucracy which makes it almost impossible to find out any real information about their suspect. I liked their relationship and thought it made them more interesting to read than if they’d been instant best friends that worked together really well.  The antagonist was sinister and bizarre - a perfect bad guy. I would get shivers down my spine reading his dreadful, creepy and unhinged thoughts and behaviour. The flashbacks gave an interesting insight into his motivations and how he turned out this way.  I really enjoyed this book. The descriptive writing drew me in and gave me an education on a culture I knew relatively little about while keeping me guessing about The Flower Arranger. It started off a little slow but was fascinating from the beginning and soon picked up the pace. I felt Tanaka’s frustration as the suspect slipped through his grasp and I felt Blain’s desperation for that top story. I was on the edge of my seat as we approached the end, fervently hoping for them to succeed and am still recovering from that ending and those haunting final sentences... I would recommend this book if you enjoy mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction. JJ Ellis has written a tense and chilling debut and I can’t wait to see what he does next.  Thank you to Agora Books and Netgalley for my copies of this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was originally going to be part of the blog tour for this book. However, after finding that I just really didn't enjoy it, I decided to pull out. I'm still going to give you a review because I want to share my thoughts with you all - it just won't be a review affiliated with Agora Books as part of their promotional tour. The Flower Arrangerhad immense potential as a mystery thriller. Throughout the reading process, I was highly intrigued by certain cultural aspects and the little details I was originally going to be part of the blog tour for this book. However, after finding that I just really didn't enjoy it, I decided to pull out. I'm still going to give you a review because I want to share my thoughts with you all - it just won't be a review affiliated with Agora Books as part of their promotional tour. The Flower Arranger had immense potential as a mystery thriller. Throughout the reading process, I was highly intrigued by certain cultural aspects and the little details attached to the killings. The flower arrangement was a 'nice' touch to the killings - it was a decent connection to his past and a great way of clarifying the killer's motive. However, for me, this is where the positive aspects of the book ended. I will clarify that this book is the first in what I believe will be a trilogy so of course, not everything is going to be answered and the ending isn't going to be clean. My main issue stems from the way that Japanese culture was woven into the narrative. The book was of course written in English for accessibility purposes. However, Ellis sprinkles in a selection of Japanese words and phrases that are never translated, which made it hard for me to connect with the characters and the events. Though I liked the actual cultural representation, I didn't like the way it was represented through narrative. It wasn't wholly accessible for people like me who don't know anything about Japanese culture in the first place. If you do want a positive book recommendation from me that centres around Japanese culture, I highly recommend The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns. The characterisation wasn't strong for me, either. The protagonist, Holly Blain, is an androgynous (I believe bisexual, too) reporter for a Tokyo newspaper who gets caught up in the case. She works alongside (and sometimes against) the detective on the case, Inspector Tetsu Tanaka, to work out who the killer is and where the missing girls are. For the most part, I enjoyed their dynamic. But as individual characters, they both fell flat. The book makes it a necessity for some reason to clarify at least once every chapter that Holly is androgynous - I get the feeling that perhaps in future books, Holly will 'come out' as transgender perhaps since she has a supposedly 'dark' hidden past and everyone in this book seems to think she's a man. This may not happen, but it's a prediction I stand by. Holly was, in general, really rude and invasive. There's one scene where she turns up at the inspector's house with ice cream and starts asking his wife questions - at this point, she's met the inspector a whole one time. Tanaka seemed to be your typical 'top' inspector, but he made some really stupid decisions throughout this book that made me question just how good he was. I was quite interested in his past, as he ruminated on his daughter's death a lot in this book. I suppose there may be more focus on this in the next book. At the moment, I'm not sure that I will be continuing with the series - we shall figure this obstacle out when we get to it! One thing I didn't really understand was the ending. I don't mean the ending - it was left pretty open which I'm not entirely fazed by considering it's the first in a trilogy. I mean one particular scene within the final ten pages or so where it comes to light that Izumi (I think that was his name, though I may be wrong. I'm currently nowhere near my copy!) is the adoptive brother of the killer but somehow didn't know his identity. It all seemed so far-fetched and so out of the blue that I could not understand how this conclusion came about. It was an unfounded conclusion - there were no hints throughout the book that suggested he was in any way related, other than a throwaway scene that stated he had a tattoo that he covered up. Even then, the reveal of what the tattoo was really didn't clarify things. I'm intrigued about Pascal Durand and what he had to do with all this - he's obviously not innocent, but I can't really pinpoint what his character's story is. Overall, this book wasn't amazing to me. It had a lot of flaws that I couldn't overlook, and I did not love the writing style. However, the plot was just interesting enough for me to give it at most a 2.5-star rating. I am intrigued as to what the future holds for the series, but in order to read it, I'm going to need serious improvement in writing style and character exploration!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rosie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. If you're after a slow burn this is ideal. It builds up a subtle creepy atmosphere and I loved that the book was set in Japan. I'm no expert on Japanese culture so can't comment on the accuracy, but I liked the feel of the book. The protagonists, Tanaka (the cop) and Blain (the journalist) are both very likeable. I normally get a tad irritated by your generic headstrong journo, but Blain was alright. I just would've liked a bit more interaction between them. The killer was somewhat underwhelming, If you're after a slow burn this is ideal. It builds up a subtle creepy atmosphere and I loved that the book was set in Japan. I'm no expert on Japanese culture so can't comment on the accuracy, but I liked the feel of the book. The protagonists, Tanaka (the cop) and Blain (the journalist) are both very likeable. I normally get a tad irritated by your generic headstrong journo, but Blain was alright. I just would've liked a bit more interaction between them. The killer was somewhat underwhelming, as was the reasoning behind his spree, but *SPOILER* the ending revealed a connection between the killer and another character, which I thought was quite good. Since, there are two more books planned, I'm keen to see what's next for Tanaka and Blain 🙂

  9. 5 out of 5

    Honestmamreader

    As debut novels go this one is fantastic. This is a mysterious thriller set in Japan, fronted by the characters Holly Blain and Tetsu Tanaka and featuring a very artistic serial killer. Ellis really shows off their knowledge of Japan in this story, we get a true understanding of the culture, fashion, people and scenery. I enjoyed discovering new facts and trivia about the place. There was a few Japanese words and phrases thrown in (Google came in handy for me here) at first this did seem to As debut novels go this one is fantastic. This is a mysterious thriller set in Japan, fronted by the characters Holly Blain and Tetsu Tanaka and featuring a very artistic serial killer. Ellis really shows off their knowledge of Japan in this story, we get a true understanding of the culture, fashion, people and scenery. I enjoyed discovering new facts and trivia about the place. There was a few Japanese words and phrases thrown in (Google came in handy for me here) at first this did seem to annoy me, but, as the story went on it felt natural and was a nice added feature. The story is a crime thriller and perfect for fans of Tana French, Jeffrey Deaver and Keigo Higashino. We get to delve into Tokyo’s seedy underground behaviour, which shocked me at times especially at the use of younger girls. But, to balance things out we also get to learn about beautiful flowers and their simplicity. Although, even this turns sinister during the book. This is the first novel in a major new series following journalist Holly Blain and detective Tetsu Tanaka. I am looking forward for their next adventure already. The relationship between these two is a good combination, at first they both clash wanting to out-do each other and being a hindrance to each others goals. However, as the story develops so does their relationship and they gain respect for one another. I found it charming how Tetsu sees Holly as the daughter he lost, and this bonds their partnership and allows for further greater things. It’s not everyday that I sympathise with a serial killer, but the author managed to get me to feel sorry for the murderer in this story. When we discover the motive behind their crimes it gave me an understanding into why they wanted to carry out such heinous crimes. Between all three characters they have a common thread, something that has happened to them in their lives. The story shows how it can affect each in a different way. I urge you all to buy this book as it’s a fantastic read and it will keep you gripped till the climactic reveal. Thank you to @AgoraBooksLDN for allowing me to be part of the Blog Tour and gifting me an ARC copy in exchange of an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Brown

    If I had tried to read this book before I visited Japan I'm sure I would have had to look up references, places and Japanese words. The characters names would have been unfamiliar to me. Armed with the benefit of having visited most of the places in the book and having learnt the basics of greetings etc and a possessing a smattering of appreciation of Japanese culture, I was able to fully concentrate on the book itself and appreciate it more. A slow start to the book, but once it got going I was If I had tried to read this book before I visited Japan I'm sure I would have had to look up references, places and Japanese words. The characters names would have been unfamiliar to me. Armed with the benefit of having visited most of the places in the book and having learnt the basics of greetings etc and a possessing a smattering of appreciation of Japanese culture, I was able to fully concentrate on the book itself and appreciate it more. A slow start to the book, but once it got going I was hooked and had to finish it as fast as I could. The killer and his motive would only really work in Japan and that is the great hook of the novel. An interesting angle was the English reporter Holly who is working solely in show business reporting and the J-pop world wants to branch out into crime reporting. She has a few things holding her back, she is female in what is still a mainly a male dominated society and a foreigner. None of this however deters her. I loved her strong character, even if at times I was on the edge of my seat willing her to maybe not be so headstrong. This book is written by an English author and the difference I found in this book from others set in Japan and translated from Japanese, is the phrasing. Some of the words I don't think the Japanese people would use, they are rather the equivalent in English. So for me occasionally this dialogue rang less than true. However, the locations described in the book and the journeys undertaken were so accurate it took me right back to my time in Japan. It was the closest thing to being back there in person. It appears that there will be more books featuring the Inspector and Holly and I will be eager to read those too. I am giving the book 5 out of 5 stars. My thanks to netgalley for the ARC to review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    rina dunn

    It's no secret I love a good thriller and this ticked all the boxes for me! This book is set in Japan which I LOVE as it really makes it original! I don't really like to go too much into a plot of a thriller In my reviews as it's such a fine balance between spoiling it and making people want to pick it up and read it and I definitely recommend that! There's a flower arranger with a sinister twist to his arrangements and its down to Tetsu Tanaka a detective from Tokyo's police department and his It's no secret I love a good thriller and this ticked all the boxes for me! This book is set in Japan which I LOVE as it really makes it original! I don't really like to go too much into a plot of a thriller In my reviews as it's such a fine balance between spoiling it and making people want to pick it up and read it and I definitely recommend that! There's a flower arranger with a sinister twist to his arrangements and its down to Tetsu Tanaka a detective from Tokyo's police department and his colleague Izumi to catch him before there becomes more victims. Also along for the ride is Holly Blain a reporter for a top Japanese newspaper. Hoping for all the exclusive press on the case but how far is she prepared to go? I really enjoyed this book! It has all the elements that I enjoy. It started off relatively slowly but soon picked up pace and I was hooked. The cat and mouse chase between The Flower Arranger and the Police kept me on the edge of my seat. I also really enjoyed the psychology in this book. The way the author actually makes the reader understand why a particular character thinks a certain way is done very cleverly. Tetsu Tanaka was easily my favourite character I enjoyed his back story the most and loved how protective he was over Holly. I will say I would of liked more of Holly's backstory included and felt the ending kind of left on a bit of a cliffhanger which left me feeling slightly frustrated but overall I definitely recommend this book if you like psychological suspense.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    Dark art with a twist of murder and a spice of cherry blossom and orchids. It's a feel of cultural mystery in this newest debut work from JJ Ellis and he scored big league as there's plenty of thrilling action, suspense, and mystery to entice us all. The Flower arrangement looks like a morgue sketch... I'm sorry that's not how it should be but in this case exotic young and beautiful woman are turning up dead and there's two protagonist running rampant. A tragic past with twin suicides and a death of Dark art with a twist of murder and a spice of cherry blossom and orchids. It's a feel of cultural mystery in this newest debut work from JJ Ellis and he scored big league as there's plenty of thrilling action, suspense, and mystery to entice us all. The Flower arrangement looks like a morgue sketch... I'm sorry that's not how it should be but in this case exotic young and beautiful woman are turning up dead and there's two protagonist running rampant. A tragic past with twin suicides and a death of a foster mom could be to blame but who knows anything anymore . What one does know is that the negative space at the center of the arrangement is our clue. As readers we also learn about a sick twisted warped mind of the killer who draws blood to get the perfect coloring. What does Geisha have to do with this story? Good question but I'm not spilling the beans so you must get a copy of this one as you'll want to learn about the OSAKA killer and these crazy as all hell injections. I'll never look at a floral arrangement the same after this thriller! Kudos to the author JJ Ellis and thank you for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Duke-Wyer

    Absolutely the best part of this book (for me) was the examination of Japanese culture – even though our hero (a journalist who is desperate to be the crime reporter) is perhaps a sub-culture inasmuch as she is pretty much a non-conformist in terms of appearance and friendships and relationships. I have a little knowledge about the culture and was therefore acclimatised to the extreme formality and this certainly added to my enjoyment of this unusual detective story. The two main characters, the Absolutely the best part of this book (for me) was the examination of Japanese culture – even though our hero (a journalist who is desperate to be the crime reporter) is perhaps a sub-culture inasmuch as she is pretty much a non-conformist in terms of appearance and friendships and relationships. I have a little knowledge about the culture and was therefore acclimatised to the extreme formality and this certainly added to my enjoyment of this unusual detective story. The two main characters, the reporter and the detective were interesting even though our relationship with them was limited, a structure perhaps to illustrate the formality. Whatever, it certainly worked for me. Perhaps I struggled a little when following our avid reporter as she went from one part of the country to another – clearly not helped by struggling with the Japanese names – but that was a small price to pay for the enjoyment the book gave me Thank you to the author, publishers and NetGalley for providing an ARC via my Kindle in return for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anisa

    A thriller set in Japan. A detective meets a journalist/wanna-be-crime-journalist recommended by the owner of the Cafe. And together, with their ups and downs, uncover a flower arranging criminal. With beautiful descriptions of the cherry blossom, the daily/tourist life and how people's backgrounds sometimes catch up to them, this was a book that kept me hooked. Secrets that can change the course of the investigation, and how sometimes even when you know the danger you are in, there are things A thriller set in Japan. A detective meets a journalist/wanna-be-crime-journalist recommended by the owner of the Cafe. And together, with their ups and downs, uncover a flower arranging criminal. With beautiful descriptions of the cherry blossom, the daily/tourist life and how people's backgrounds sometimes catch up to them, this was a book that kept me hooked. Secrets that can change the course of the investigation, and how sometimes even when you know the danger you are in, there are things still worth pursuing. This is my personal opinion of this book, but I have netgalley to thank for a free review copy.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tripfiction

    Flowers and a thriller set mainly in TOKYO Do you love all things Japanese? Love a good thriller? Then this is a novel for you. Holly Blain is a rookie reporter, from England but who speaks wonderful Japanese and who is whiling away her days reporting on youth culture and entertainment at the Tōkei Shimbun. She However wants something more meaty and would love to work on reporting crime. She is introduced to Inspector Tanaka who is very enmeshed in the rigours of his investigating department but Flowers and a thriller set mainly in TOKYO Do you love all things Japanese? Love a good thriller? Then this is a novel for you. Holly Blain is a rookie reporter, from England but who speaks wonderful Japanese and who is whiling away her days reporting on youth culture and entertainment at the Tōkei Shimbun. She However wants something more meaty and would love to work on reporting crime. She is introduced to Inspector Tanaka who is very enmeshed in the rigours of his investigating department but the two of them are soon of sleuthing, and she is piecing together clues and seems almost one step ahead of him. Not one but two European teenagers have gone missing. The latest is Marie-Louise Duran, whose father has just reported her disappearance. A few weeks ago a young woman from Sweden simply disappeared off the face of the earth. Gradually, as the two investigators piece together the clues a pattern emerges: ubiquitous at the potential crime scenes is a young Japanese man who is a double for Roy Orbison. They also quickly become aware that flowers are a regular theme, precisely laid out. The perpetrator is clearly adept at floral design, looking to fill the Ma – the negative space in his designs – with someone, a pale female, who will complement his talent and put the final touch to his creation. The novel is set in the Spring, at the point when the Sakura – the cherry blossom – is coming to its peak. Traditionally the Japanese follow the burgeoning blossom as it unfolds daily across the country, today the best viewing might be Tokyo, tomorrow it will be somewhere else. The person, for whom the investigators are searching, has his own motivations and has carefully mapped out his targets…. The author clearly has spent some time in the country and takes the reader down alleyways and less salubrious establishments of Tokyo and then on to Kyoto, Himeji, where there is a beautiful white castle and Iriomote, which the author has chosen to write about in this #TalkingLocationWith.. piece, It is a well written novel that flows and is well-paced. I certainly enjoyed it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Murder in Japan sounds complicated, but this book caters for those with no knowledge of Japanese culture or language. J.J. Ellis manages to combine a stunning mystery with several strands of family strains. This marks the introduction of two characters who have different motivations for tracking down the killer, an experienced police Inspector and a young journalist. Tetsu Tanaka, known as Tanaka, is a family man with a keen sense of responsibility, a little hesitant in the seedier side of Tokyo Murder in Japan sounds complicated, but this book caters for those with no knowledge of Japanese culture or language. J.J. Ellis manages to combine a stunning mystery with several strands of family strains. This marks the introduction of two characters who have different motivations for tracking down the killer, an experienced police Inspector and a young journalist. Tetsu Tanaka, known as Tanaka, is a family man with a keen sense of responsibility, a little hesitant in the seedier side of Tokyo life, but determined to discover the truth. Holly Blain is a young reporter from the U.K., whose assimilation into Japanese society and language is impressive to all who encounter her. Assigned to show business coverage, she is ambitious to cover crime and more exciting stories. The instincts of both lead them in unforeseen ways to follow the trail of a flower arranger, a killer whose signature seems to be the use of beautiful flowers. The discovery of a body in terrible circumstances soon becomes potentially linked with the case of a missing girl. While all these elements may be familiar to readers of crime fiction set anywhere in the world, this book has a particularly Japanese flavour in every respect. This comes from a deep knowledge of Japan from an outsider’s point of view. The delicacy of the flowers throughout is in sharp contrast to the violence of the death of the victim. While there are frequent Japanese words and phrases, the meaning of each becomes obvious from the context, and the writer is skilful in introducing new ideas and information in a completely understandable way. I was pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this novel. The book opens by looking at the activities of three characters. The first is a mysterious man who is arranging flowers in a Japanese style, remembering his mother. Immediately we learn that in his pursuit of ikebana, the art of flower arranging, has led him to “borrow” or steal some rare orchids from a distant island. Chillingly he wants to fill the space in the arrangement. The first sight of Blain is linked with her perfect Japanese and her role at the newspaper, reporting on the schoolgirl bands much loved by both teenage girls and older men. Her knowledge of music from various cultures is of great importance, as well as her ability to size up a person and strike up conversations easily. She is ambitious to become a serious reporter in the field of crime, even if it is going to be difficult as a woman in a male dominated society. Tanaka is attempting to deal with a distraught father from France whose teenage daughter has gone missing, a situation not helped by his deliberate omission of what he had really been doing. It is only when Blain finds some leads that suggest that young women have been disappearing that Tanaka truly discovers that a relationship with this unusual reporter may be mutually beneficial. While I had my initial doubts about following a book set in Japan, I was pleased to discover that I quickly became involved in the story. It is a very clever novel with a complex yet understandable plot, and the pace picks up as a murderer is desperately sought. References to American music and various cultures make it a colourful read, and I enjoyed the deep knowledge of Japan the author demonstrates. A very enjoyable read, it is challenging and informative throughout. I recommend it as a contemporary crime novel in an unusual setting which I found enthralling.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Neriah Samraksha

    "And she was his - captured to create a fleeting moment of haunting beauty." This book is anything but disappointing and dull. This fast-paced, suspenseful, thrilling real page-turner is set in Japan. Thanks to a travel diary I read a couple of months back, I am truly fascinated with Japan and its culture. Holly Blain, a showbiz journalist, who has moved to Japan aspiring to be a crime journalist, becomes fortunate enough to get acquainted with inspector Tetsu Tanaka. They both end up being "And she was his - captured to create a fleeting moment of haunting beauty." This book is anything but disappointing and dull. This fast-paced, suspenseful, thrilling real page-turner is set in Japan. Thanks to a travel diary I read a couple of months back, I am truly fascinated with Japan and its culture. Holly Blain, a showbiz journalist, who has moved to Japan aspiring to be a crime journalist, becomes fortunate enough to get acquainted with inspector Tetsu Tanaka. They both end up being entangled in the secrets behind the of a missing French and a Sweden girl and end up by the body of the Sweden girl, traces of flowers around her body. The duo really turned out to be quite perfect to each other even amongst the trials that were thrown in their way, questioning the police/media relationship. The story moves on to find the killer and, how his past and present collide, is also written amidst the chapters. Even when Holly and Tanaka came off to be opposing forces at certain moments, both are synchronised in uncovering and hunting the killer down. What I really loved about Holly, obviously her obvious aspect, is her determination and willpower. Somewhere in the book, Tanaka thinks about how this strong woman is trying to work really hard to excel amongst the men. Tanaka and the killer are Yin Yang to each other. When the plot moves on, there are wisps of something dark in Holly's past seemingly going unnoticed. In the end, it is pretty much made clear. Thanks to the author's fore note, I got a glimpse into what some words mean and familiarisation of the locations. This book didn't fail to be absolutely compelling and immersive from the very first page. I regret not having time to finish it in one sitting. I would absolutely love to read more of Holly and Tanaka's adventure! This book definitely needs to be appreciated more. I didn't expect the ending so that is really an incredible thing! The writing comes off precisely and I loved the slight poetic touch to it. Even the book had the essence of a poetical journey and I really admired it! The imagery felt ethereal and creepy, all at once. As someone once said, the true magic lies in the hands of the writer, not the story - this book is the example! Looking forward to more by J.J. Ellis! Recommended: To Millenium series, The Fall, Silence Of The Lambs fans (Note: Even if it isn't dark as the books I mentioned, it comes near to them in certain aspects of the story and writing) and anyone interested in Japanese Culture blended with a thriller, this book is for you!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emma Rowson

    I am ashamed to admit that I know next to nothing about Japanese culture, and I will also admit that I was a little concerned that this fact would render The Flower Arranger a difficult read for me. There is the potential to go into too much depth and lose the reader, to create a world so complex and far removed that it loses sense of the plot and becomes an overwhelming overload of information. Thankfully, JJ Ellis has struck the perfect balance, his passion for the country and its culture is I am ashamed to admit that I know next to nothing about Japanese culture, and I will also admit that I was a little concerned that this fact would render The Flower Arranger a difficult read for me. There is the potential to go into too much depth and lose the reader, to create a world so complex and far removed that it loses sense of the plot and becomes an overwhelming overload of information. Thankfully, JJ Ellis has struck the perfect balance, his passion for the country and its culture is clear, but it never overtakes the plot, instead complementing; sprinkling a little bit of something different to the genre. The reluctant duo of Inspector Tanaka and reporter, Holly Blain are a curious pairing. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure that I really felt their bond, the latter pages felt a little forced, but I was pleased to discover that there are more novels planned and I hope that I come to feel ‘it’, for as individuals I liked them both enormously, particularly Holly. I am more than a little bit curious to find out what JJ Ellis has in store for them in the future. The killer himself is quite the conundrum. I found that I wasn’t chilled by him, or particularly fearful of him, but rather I held a sort of sympathy for him which was only compounded by the full reveal of his story. For me, it was refreshing to have this type of conflict. What he is doing is wrong, no question, and it is inexcusable. Yet whilst he fills the genre role of the ‘evil killer’, through the chapters which explore his point of view, I felt a sort of empathy, his view of the world is so skewed by his past that he seemed stuck in a cycle of childishness. I really loved having this perspective and insight into his mind. As a novel, it’s a pacy thriller which held my attention throughout. I found it incredibly easy to pick up and I lost sense of time as I read, plus, despite my initial reservations, I really enjoyed the introduction to Japanese culture – it has definitely ignited my interest and I will be doing some further reading! Whilst I still need to be convinced about the pairing of Tanaka and Blain, I do, very much want to read about their future cases. I am intrigued by the promise of the final chapter, and will be looking forward to learning more about these two characters, both individually and as a partnership in the future.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Miriam Smith

    “The Flower Arranger” is J.J. Ellis’ debut novel and is an international crime thriller set in Japan. You can just tell that the passion the author has written about Japan and it’s people is based on first hand experience and along with a very entertaining and enjoyable crime plot, this is an exceedingly atmospheric thriller, that is exceptional for a first time novel. “Tōkei Shimbun reporter, Holly Blain wants to cover real news. The entertainment beat, pop stars and teen trends was not why she “The Flower Arranger” is J.J. Ellis’ debut novel and is an international crime thriller set in Japan. You can just tell that the passion the author has written about Japan and it’s people is based on first hand experience and along with a very entertaining and enjoyable crime plot, this is an exceedingly atmospheric thriller, that is exceptional for a first time novel. “Tōkei Shimbun reporter, 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. However, Tanaka is hesitant about bringing this headstrong reporter into his carefully controlled investigation. But when young women keep disappearing, 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.” You really don’t need to know anything about Japan to understand or enjoy this story. The author has included so many easy to follow cultural examples and values relating to Japan that I felt like I was in the Asian country with Holly and Tenaka and the pretty cherry blossom tree lined roads. I found it all very informative and learned a great deal, including about the Otaku men, the seasons of the Sakura (the cherry blossom), geisha girls, salarymen and so much more. I really enjoyed the premise of a headstrong European reporter desperate to cover the crime desk and a detective who is very likeable and a pleasure to read about. Their relationship changed daily and they made up a really endearing partnership. Tanaka reminded me a lot of another international detective, Michael Stanley’s, South African based Detective Kubu who also is a dedicated family man, morally strong and determined to seek justice. Once I got the Japanese pronunciation of the people and the local place names correct in my head, the story flowed easily and I found it very hard to put down. “The Flower Arranger” is original, descriptive, thrilling and thoroughly entertaining and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. I’d love to read more about Holly and Inspector Tanaka in further stories, especially Holly’s time before she moved to Tokyo, so I do hope the author writes more because I personally will definitely be reading them. 4.5 stars Thank you to TripFiction for my copy of the book which I won in their recent competition.

  20. 5 out of 5

    BreeAnn

    What I Loved: The setting of this book was in Japan and covered a variety of locations. The writing really took me to each of these places and made me appreciate each one’s beauty. How I Felt: I loved this book. It was fast-paced with a lot of action to keep my attention all the way through. The beginning of the book was a bit of a struggle as there are a lot of Japanese words thrown in right at the start and, not knowing what they meant, I struggled. I finally just realized that I didn’t need to What I Loved: The setting of this book was in Japan and covered a variety of locations. The writing really took me to each of these places and made me appreciate each one’s beauty. How I Felt: I loved this book. It was fast-paced with a lot of action to keep my attention all the way through. The beginning of the book was a bit of a struggle as there are a lot of Japanese words thrown in right at the start and, not knowing what they meant, I struggled. I finally just realized that I didn’t need to know what they meant, context would help me, or I could look them up. And after that, it wasn’t an issue for me anymore. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end. I was interested in the characters and their part in the plot, and I was invested in the story. To Read or Not To Read: If you enjoy action-packed crime fiction and thrillers, this is a good book for you! It’s a murder-mystery focused on a serial killer that must be stopped. What’s This Book About Anyway? Holly Blain is a reporter in Japan covering the celebrity stories, while she really wants to be covering crime. A connection with the police department falls into her lap and she convinces her boss to let her cover the story. She very quickly realizes she has stumbled into quite the story. Two non-Japanese girls are missing, one has just turned up in a city dump, dead with flowers attached to her clothing. Holly and Detective Tanaka are able to find ways to get so close to the serial killer, and yet just miss him. This story takes us through their chase of the killer. As more girls go missing, will they be able to stop the killer before he makes his next masterpiece? This book was provided to me by the publisher, Agora Books, in exchange for my honest review. All of my reviews can be found at https://shejustlovesbooks.com/

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rhian Eleri

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is out 26th sept.... my stop for this tour came as quick as a flash, I read this super duper quick. This added to the intensity of the second half of the book as I feel it needed to be read fast. I felt I was racing against time just like the characters were to find and capture the flower arranging killer! It's the type of thriller I love reading.. a warped killer, keeping people hostage in a bespoke room at the bottom of their home! Love it. The edge to this story was that it was set in This book is out 26th sept.... my stop for this tour came as quick as a flash, I read this super duper quick. This added to the intensity of the second half of the book as I feel it needed to be read fast. I felt I was racing against time just like the characters were to find and capture the flower arranging killer! It's the type of thriller I love reading.. a warped killer, keeping people hostage in a bespoke room at the bottom of their home! Love it. The edge to this story was that it was set in Japan. I began this book knowing nothing about the place, now I feel I understand it a lot better. Iv read books set in China and in my ignorance thought they would be similar. I was so wrong! I won't pretend I didn't struggle with some phrases and names - but lets just say that my husband had a great time listening to me asking google about it all.... 'ok google - was roy Orbison Japanese?....' 🤣🤣🤣. I feel this might be the beginning for Holly Blain, the journo from England - her character obviously has a backstory that we never got to learn. I admired her eagerness to find the truth even if it was selfish reasons. Her and Tanaka-san the detective made a great pairing, balancing out eachothers strengths! They raced agains the clock to find where this crafty killer was hiding his victims. And when they do find the truth - its actualy so sad. Some of the things in the story didnt ring quite true - like the pathologist drawing a sketch of the flower arrangement scene exactly as it was!? How would they have known?! Baffled me a little. Thank you agora books ldn for my #arc copy of this. The packaging was the best Iv had. This is my honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Clark

    Journalist Holly Blain is desperate to prove herself in the world of crime reporting. She manages to develop a working, yet volatile relationship with Detective Tanaka of Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police. Together they follow up disturbing reports of missing girls; chasing promising leads across Tokyo, resulting in a nail-biting chase to catch a twisted killer. I absolutely loved this book! I felt it was fast-paced and gripped me from the very start. I loved the lead characters, both of whom I warmed Journalist Holly Blain is desperate to prove herself in the world of crime reporting. She manages to develop a working, yet volatile relationship with Detective Tanaka of Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police. Together they follow up disturbing reports of missing girls; chasing promising leads across Tokyo, resulting in a nail-biting chase to catch a twisted killer. I absolutely loved this book! I felt it was fast-paced and gripped me from the very start. I loved the lead characters, both of whom I warmed to. I like the fact there are stories left untold for some of the characters, which will lead well into a second book. The Japanese setting for the story was well executed, through good descriptive writing and the appropriate use of Japanese language. I loved the description of the cherry blossom and the Japanese castles. It peaked my interest in Japan and has made me want to learn more about the country. I felt the killer’s story was well told. Although disturbing, by the end of the book I did feel a little sorry for him. I imagine empathy for a killer is hard for a writer to achieve, but JJ Ellis did this brilliantly. This book did leave me with echoes of Killing Eve and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, in the fact it was a high-tempo thrilling crime read. I suggest any fans of these books should definitely give this one a try. In fact, I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone who wants an exciting read. In summary, this is an absolutely cracking debut crime novel by JJ Ellis. I can not wait for the rest of the series!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Clare Rhoden

    Strictly speaking, this book was NOT next on my TBR pile. However, when it arrived, I read the first couple of pages - something I do so that I know what I'll be in store for. Then I couldn't put it down. This is neat and assured crime writing from a debut author well in control of characterisation, scene-setting and plot lines. The setting, in Tokyo, gives us a more restrained palette in a highly structured society where self-control is one of the highest virtues. There is no gratuitous gore, Strictly speaking, this book was NOT next on my TBR pile. However, when it arrived, I read the first couple of pages - something I do so that I know what I'll be in store for. Then I couldn't put it down. This is neat and assured crime writing from a debut author well in control of characterisation, scene-setting and plot lines. The setting, in Tokyo, gives us a more restrained palette in a highly structured society where self-control is one of the highest virtues. There is no gratuitous gore, which pleases me. This book is for readers who like intelligent crime fiction. It is not a blood-fest. (yay!) I very much enjoyed the structure of this thriller, with its three alternative points of view: the English journalist working in Japan; the Japanese detective; and the nerdy killer. The tension built solidly to an ending that was satisfying and allows for future development (killer last line!) The chapters are short and it's SO hard to resist reading 'just one more'! In terms of suspense, this is slightly different, because we meet the killer in the opening pages, and the police and the reporter also know who he is fairly early. So it's not a 'whodunit' so much as a great chase thriller - can the killer be stopped before they kill again? My thanks to Agora Books for a review copy. This is my honest review and - honestly - I will read whatever this author publishes next! I do hope there is more in the pipeline for new crime duo Holly Blain and Tetsu Tanaka.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Billie

    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 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. This is a great thriller debut from this author. Great world building that is so descriptive. I felt I could just see it all as I was reading. Wonderful well written plot and story line that was so gripping from the beginning. Character that have been fleshed out well and were interesting to read about. Can't wait to read more from this author in the future. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mystica

    It took me a while to get into the space of this story. Set in Japan, the workings of a young journalist and the police force were at play here. That part of the story telling was just the same as any other. There were places in the mind set of the murderer or pursuer of the young girls who were his victims that was the hard part to fathom. Two young women, one Swedish one French go missing. The Swedish girl's body is found. No violation, but just a small wound on her neck which indicates the It took me a while to get into the space of this story. Set in Japan, the workings of a young journalist and the police force were at play here. That part of the story telling was just the same as any other. There were places in the mind set of the murderer or pursuer of the young girls who were his victims that was the hard part to fathom. Two young women, one Swedish one French go missing. The Swedish girl's body is found. No violation, but just a small wound on her neck which indicates the blood drained out of her body systematically. The why of it could only be explained by the attacker himself in alternate chapters and this was the part that was culturally different. He wanted someone to be replicated by the image he had of his mother who used to make up as a geisha in chalk white make up and he was always on the look out for girls who were very pale who could be made to look paler and paler. When Blain starts her pursuit of the story successfully and publishes her findings, it upsets the Japanese detective put in charge of the case. Foreigners involved make it more delicate and the subject is one that has to be handled with kid gloves. Alternating between Inspector Tanaka and Blain and the attacker the story goes on quietly but forcefully towards an end.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Megan Palmer

    Well well WOW! When an incredible debut novel by J J Ellis Based in Japan, it follows Miss Blain and her extreme passion and determination to become a crime reporter. This passion is what leads her to Tanaka, the Inspector tasked with solving the murder of a young woman. This young woman however was found with an unusual petal, and extreme flower arrangements keep appearing, with the centerpiece missing! What or who is meant for the centrepiece? This was gifted to me by @agorabooksldn and I am Well well WOW!⁣ When an incredible debut novel by J J Ellis⁣ ⁣ ▪︎Based in Japan, it follows Miss Blain and her extreme passion and determination to become a crime reporter. This passion is what leads her to Tanaka, the Inspector tasked with solving the murder of a young woman. This young woman however was found with an unusual petal, and extreme flower arrangements keep appearing, with the centerpiece missing! What or who is meant for the centrepiece?⁣ ⁣ ▪︎This was gifted to me by @agorabooksldn and I am eternally grateful. This isnt my go to book, and the cover doesnt do the book justice. It had me gripped the whole way, it had me frustrated and angry. It portrayed the press all over the world perfectly, how invaluable they are to crime, but just how foolish they can behave. To ignore the journey in blinded light of the end goal. Dangerous yet valuable.⁣ ⁣ ▪︎The ending had me smiling. Smiling through relief but also the conniving way that there has to be a sequel. ⁣ ⁣ ▪︎I worried I wouldn't get in to this easily, especially with the Japanese names and phrases which are unfamiliar to me. But I did and I LOVED it. I cant wait to hear more from the elusive J J Ellis.⁣ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5⁣

  27. 5 out of 5

    Soozee

    This was a most unusual book. It is set in Japan, where several young, European girls have disappeared. Then one is found murdered, her body displayed among flowers. Inspector Tanaka is on the case, and becomes involved with Holly Blain, a determined English girl who was working as a reporter on a local newspaper. I was very unaware of the police procedures in Japan - and the amazing fact that an autopsy is not automatically arranged when there is a suspicious death, but only when the police can This was a most unusual book. It is set in Japan, where several young, European girls have disappeared. Then one is found murdered, her body displayed among flowers. Inspector Tanaka is on the case, and becomes involved with Holly Blain, a determined English girl who was working as a reporter on a local newspaper. I was very unaware of the police procedures in Japan - and the amazing fact that an autopsy is not automatically arranged when there is a suspicious death, but only when the police can prove it is a murder! The author handles the Japanese terms very well, so foreigners are not confused and the tempo of the story is not lost. Tanaka is a sympathetic hero, with a tragic back story. Holly's history is kept more under wraps - maybe there'll be a sequel and we'll learn more! I do hope so. Very interesting and enjoyable. I'd love to learn more about Japan through these characters. Thank you to NetGalley and Agora Books for allowing me access to the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Set in Japan where several young European girls have disappeared, one is found dead with her body is displayed among flowers. Inspector Tanaka gets the case but he needs the help of hungry journalist Holly Blain, can they learn to trust each other and work together in time to find this twisted killer before he strikes again? This novel is unique, interesting mystery. Ellis' illustrative writing was really engaging, though it was a slow starter it soon picked up the pace and had me racing to the Set in Japan where several young European girls have disappeared, one is found dead with her body is displayed among flowers. Inspector Tanaka gets the case but he needs the help of hungry journalist Holly Blain, can they learn to trust each other and work together in time to find this twisted killer before he strikes again? This novel is unique, interesting mystery. Ellis' illustrative writing was really engaging, though it was a slow starter it soon picked up the pace and had me racing to the end, a classic chilling who-done-it? with the twist of Japanese culture and procedure. The two protagonists are yin and yang to each other Blain will do anything to get her story on the front page whereas Tanaka wants to do things the right way - making them an unlikely but engaging duo, I can't wait to read more about them in the next book! Thanks to Agora Books and Peyton for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Review can be found on my blog here: https://booksonthebookshelf.wordpress... .... Thank you to the publisher for gifting me a paperback copy of this book to read and share my review. .... I thought this was a brilliant first novel for new author JJ Ellis. A great twist on crime and thrillers, The Flower Arranger takes you into the unique mind of quite an artistic serial killer. Set in Japan, this book takes you on a whirlwind ride as you read through the chapters. With many twists and turns, this Review can be found on my blog here: https://booksonthebookshelf.wordpress... .... Thank you to the publisher for gifting me a paperback copy of this book to read and share my review. .... I thought this was a brilliant first novel for new author JJ Ellis. A great twist on crime and thrillers, The Flower Arranger takes you into the unique mind of quite an artistic serial killer. Set in Japan, this book takes you on a whirlwind ride as you read through the chapters. With many twists and turns, this book will leave you wanting to read more as you fly through the chapters. I enjoyed the two main characters in this novel, Holly Blain and Tetsu Tanaka. I enjoyed reading how they built a working relationship to work together to uncover the mystery of what was going on. Why are so many women disappearing? Who could be responsible? You will have to read the story to find out. Be sure to add this novel to your TBR!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    I found the story interesting and I wanted to keep reading to know how it will pan out. I haven't read anything like this before! I really enjoyed learning about Japanese culture but I did find I had to stop reading and google a few words, to understand their meaning, but it was definitely a great insight to Japan and their culture. I liked the relationship development between Blain & Tanaka, as much as their characters did clash, I enjoyed the dynamic! I would like to know more about I found the story interesting and I wanted to keep reading to know how it will pan out. I haven't read anything like this before! I really enjoyed learning about Japanese culture but I did find I had to stop reading and google a few words, to understand their meaning, but it was definitely a great insight to Japan and their culture. I liked the relationship development between Blain & Tanaka, as much as their characters did clash, I enjoyed the dynamic! I would like to know more about Blain's life before she went to Japan because I feel like there is a great story there. As much as I hated murderer and he frustrated me, I did start to feel sorry for him due to certain things throughout the book. However, I am so glad how it ended! I am interested to see which direction the next book will take and would love to see more development between Blain & Tanaka. Overall, it was a good in-depth, interesting and original thriller!

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