Reviewed by Jennie More for Readers' Favorite
Murder at Manzanar by Steve Zimcosky is the story of a former police officer, now Private Detective Tom Sipowicz, operating in Cleveland. Tom’s latest investigation pertains to the life of the Sakura family who lived in the Japanese Intermittent Camps during WWII, specifically the Manzanar camp. Reverend Cecilia from the Cleveland Buddhist Temple in Shaker Heights acquired his services after she found an envelope in one of their Buddhist statues marked for the attention of Hideki Sakura. When Tom starts investigating, he gets an insider view of the intermittent camps as he speaks to the elders of the Buddhist Church to find out if they know anything about Hideki Sakura. Zimcosky gently reminds us of the trauma the United States inflicted upon Japanese American people during WWII when the authorities forcibly relocated and confined them.
Murder at Manzanar by Steve Zimcosky is a profoundly fascinating, and entertaining story about a dreadful period in American and Japanese history. Despite the gravity of the story behind this investigation, Zimcosky strikes the perfect balance between light-hearted and thoughtful, tastefully reminding the reader of the cruelty of the United States during this time in history. I enjoyed Sipowicz’s subtly funny comments throughout the book, keeping me engaged and eager to uncover the mystery of Hideki Sakura. Sipowics is an unpretentious but compelling character. For example, Tom mentions that he just wanted to find Hideka Sakura, that’s the end of his job, and this easiness of his character adds to his charm. The narrative was well-conceived and well-written, and the story flowed effortlessly. It was a pleasure to read Murder at Manzanar.