The Flower Arranger by JJ Ellis



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.

Today I am delighted to be part of the Blog Tour for The Flower Arranger by JJ Ellis. 

It's always exciting to discover a new author and potentially a new crime thriller series and from the outset, I was intrigued by this debut novel. The red cover is not only eye-catching, but bold, brave and dangerous - and if you dare to read on, you'll understand how fitting this choice of design is! 

This is a very impressive, engaging and polished thriller. It feels refreshing and the author really uses the Japanese location effectively. The sense of place and use of detail ensures the reader is firmly rooted within each scene; the descriptions about the people, place and environment add to the atmosphere, tension and excitement and yet remain measured and subtle.

It's always a great combination to use a journalist and a detective in a murder story. Here Ellis creates a great dynamic and relationship between these two main characters as they find they have to work together. Both Holly and Tanaka are convincing, authentic and realistic characters, and there is a lot of potential for further teamwork in future books. 

The prose is fluent, very readable and accomplished. It's hard to say too much without revealing any spoilers, but I really enjoyed the anonymous chapters that appear between the main story. There are definitely some echoes of The Silence of the Lambs or The Collector and Ellis definitely creates an eerie voice which is gripping and takes the reader on a real roller-coaster of a ride. 

Ellis is an exciting author, certainly one to watch, and worth checking out if you are on the look for a new, fresh and original voice in crime fiction. 

Thank you so much to Agora Books for the advance copy of the book and for inviting me to join the Blog Tour - please make sure you check out the other stops this September for more reviews! 


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 and is published by Agora Books.


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