Official Review: Masterwork by N. Scoto Bowen

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Official Review: Masterwork by N. Scoto Bowen

Post by MarisaRose »

[Following is an official review of "Masterwork" by N. Scoto Bowen.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Masterwork: A Cobey Muller Book by N. Scoto Bowen is a multi-national thriller. Eighty-year-old Cobey Muller decides he wants to venture into the world of body art, but Cobey doesn’t want just any tattoo. An admirer of the detailed artwork sported by members of the Yakuza, a mafia-type organization, Cobey seeks out the most renowned tattoo master in Japan. Shockingly, Cobey’s request is granted, and he prepares to spend a year in Japan turning his body into a work of art. However, things become dicey when a member of the Yakuza with a similar tattoo learns of the work being done on Cobey’s body.

Masterwork is pleasantly fast paced, and the story’s development as a thriller is exciting and smooth. The strange beginning premise, an eighty-year-old man deciding he wants to be tattooed by a master tattooist, turns into a page-turning adventure when the master is abducted and taken to the United States, leaving Cobey’s body art unfinished. The narrative moves along quickly enough to hold one’s attention and slow enough to ensure the absence of plot holes. With subtle touches of romance, an immersive setting, and an affable protagonist, Masterwork proved to be an exhilarating story.

Further, Bowen’s expert use of Japanese culture ensured the narrative never bordered on insensitive. In fact, it appears the author has vast knowledge of Japanese cultural norms, and this knowledge is clearly conveyed via Bowen’s storytelling: Cultural courtesies are explained, intricate details are included, and the Asian characters have dialogue characteristics that set them apart from the American characters. Moreover, the Asian characters are given significant attention and unique traits. For example, the development of Yoshiko, the master tattooist’s daughter and business manager, was impressive. Yoshiko's character could have easily been a prop used to advance the story’s romantic plot; however, Bowen gives Yoshiko ample background and a complex persona, all while staying true to her cultural identity.

Though Masterwork is a fun ride, it is not without faults. There were some plausibility issues, especially with Cobey’s age and actions. Cobey is injured early on, but he has no problem exercising, being tattooed, or engaging in criminal activity. Further, the development of Ginger, one of Cobey’s close confidantes, was disappointing. Ginger is vapid, and her characterization is shallow. This is demonstrated in the first scene when she sees an attractive male on a beach and instantly falls in love. Her plotline does not leave room for growth; my only hope is that she was given more focus and realistic attention in the first book of this series.

Despite its minor flaws, Masterwork earns 4 out of 4 stars. In this case, the successful plotting, cultural nuances, and engaging characters outweighed the negative aspects. This is the second book in Bowen’s series, but I had no problem catching on to the plot and characters. Though I had some minor questions, like where Cobey’s money came from and how his relationship with Ginger started, Masterwork could easily be read as a standalone novel. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy fast-paced thrillers with international settings and readers who are interested in the world of body art.

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Post by Jaime Lync »

Nice review... I definitely agree with you and the plausibility issue as it relates to Cobey's age...maybe if he was 60 instead of 80, things might have been a little more plausible.
Thanks for sharing.
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Post by Kidira1201 »

The most thing about yakni za its not dangerous people,cause them protectiv culture but other people think it scarry about Murder,,i Agree about the author
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Post by Prisallen »

This sounds like a very interesting book, as I like thrillers and it sounds like it is written well overall. Also, it would be a good way to learn more about the Japanese culture. Thanks for the review!
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Post by gen_g »

This is absolutely fascinating! I'm definitely interested in Japanese culture, and this seems to offer a good insight into it. Thanks for the review!
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Post by Crazyreader01 »

I do agree with you that it's a bit strange, but it sounds like it was good. Thanks for the lovely review!
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Post by Jessacardinal »

Cobey's activities compared to his age raised some red flags for me as well. However, I suppose this goes to show us all life is to be lived, regardless of the number on the year. Great review!
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Post by chiadeer »

It sounds like a good read. It does sound a bit implausible that an 80 year old would be doing all these things, but I do know two incredibly spry 80 year olds. My husband's grandparents are in their 80s and very active. Grandma is repainting a bedroom at her house as I type.
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Post by Juliana_Isabella »

Thanks for the review. I'm a little confused about the cover of the novel. If an 80-year-old man is the one being tattooed, why is a young (probably female) person portrayed on the cover?
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Post by kandscreeley »

That is not what I expected the book to be about based on the cover. Does the cover actually have something to do with the book? Since the main character is an 80 year-old man, I'm a bit doubtful. Sounds quite exciting despite some of the plausibility issues. Thanks for the review.
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Post by DogoMulla »

I would certainly enjoy another book with the Yakuza in it. Japanese culture and norms are quite different from those of the Americans'. Again, the link between the ink shop and abduction seems thrilling. Thank you for such insightful review.
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Post by janelwhite »

Thank you for that review. I was curious as to the plot of this story. Looking at the cover, I assumed quite differently than what it is actually about! I was surprised to see it’s about an 80 year old man who wants body art! It sounds very intriguing.
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Post by Michgal 32 »

An 80 year old interested in tattoos must be interesting. I also like the fact that the author has good knowledge of Japanese culture and brings it out well in the book.
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Post by Janelle Juncos »

I agree with a previous comment that the cover art is a little off-putting. It looks more erotica than thriller. The plot is super unique and I like that the main character is unorthodox as well. I'm interested to learn what will happen to Cobey and his body art. Great review!
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Post by randompersonavility »

I am intrigued on how an eighty-year-old man survive this kind of story.
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