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“I jostled her shoulder and noticed when I did that her skin was cold to the touch, her entire torso was covered in tattoos of kimono motifs.”


This ghastly scene was the last thing Ruth Bennett expected to encounter when she agreed to translate a novel by a long-forgotten Japanese writer. Returning to her childhood home in Kyoto had promised safety and solitude, but Ruth soon finds the story line in the novel leaking into her everyday life. Fictional characters turn out to be frighteningly real.


Using her intimate knowledge of both kimono and Kyoto, Ruth must confront a vicious killer along with her own painful family secrets. 

“It is not simply an exciting page-turner you cannot put down, but also an intricate thriller uniquely informed with the “kimono and tattoo philosophy,” and immensely enriched by the protagonist’s double perspective as both an insider and outsider—an American scholar living and working in Japan.  The novel brings you so vividly into the kaleidoscope of the modern-day Japan, you want to make a trip there the next day, holding a copy of The Kimono Tattoo.”
 -Xiaolong Qiu, author of the award-winning Inspector Chen Series
“A delicate and intricate novel, pieced together like a mosaic, that just blew me away. The author shows a strikingly deep knowledge of Japanese literature and kimono culture.”
 -Natsuo Kirino, Edgar-Award nominated author of OUT, Grotesque, and other novels
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