Eve Zaremba is the first author of detective fiction to introduce a lesbian as a primary character in a mystery series. Since 1970s she has written six novels featuring hard-boiled Helen Keremos whom Margaret Atwood described as a “cross between Philip Marlowe and Lily Tomlin.”
This is the fifth novel in the series. In it Zaremba drops the first person narrative and converts Helen Keremos to third person.
The Butterfly Effect is probably the most complex of the Helen Keremos thrillers. It takes Keremos initially to Hong Kong & Japan then Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Toronto. She gets to the Far East and almost immediately her plans go awry and she becomes entangled in an international art smuggling and forgery scam, leading to murder. Scenes in Japan are vividly portrayed. There is much action in Tokyo and a Nagoya hospital from which Keremos rescues a kidnap victim.
Throughout, Japan’s organized crime mob—the yakuza—add complications and spice to the case. Of course, Keremos ultimately outmaneuvers them all in her own inimitable style.