Drugs are being smuggled into Alaska and the authorities believe someone from the ship, The Tustumena, which takes passengers to various ports along the coast, is being used.
Captain Sewell is put out when he and his crew are ordered to watch a particular frequent passenger, a Japanese man who keeps to himself while studying birds, taking pictures and doing his sketching. No way could this man be a drug runner.
Mr Kenso Nakano got sucked into a yakuza family as a young man; something he deeply regrets. For the yakuza he'd set up a perfect drug running operation only after years of no problems, his boss suddenly wants more drugs moved and creates a problem that puts the operation in jeopardy. His wife needs surgery and his son needs to go to college to avoid working for the yakuza, so he'll do one more trip to get the money he needs for his family.
This is currently only available as an ebook. To be printed it would need the help of a good editor. The story feels choppy as it combines 1st and 3rd person narratives. It's also not always immediately clear when a narrative moves from present to past memories and back again.
The author is good with descriptions--sometimes poetic--especially involving the ship and the various Alaskan ports. He also shows us the honorable side of a "bad man" who uses the teachings of Buddhism for himself as well as to help some of the crew. While I never really felt much for any of the characters, this aspect made Nakano somewhat more interesting.
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)