Month/Year of Graduation



Creative Writing

First Advisor

Dr. Lisa K. Sandlin


The Japanese Client is a novel within the hardboiled, noir fiction genre, a style that emerged during the era of Prohibition and features morally conflicted heroes, complex plotlines, larger-than-life characters, and a general air of intrigue. Perhaps the most important element of the noir novel is its protagonist’s search for what is good and true while surrounded by cynicism and corruption. The novel centers on Rick Dale, a World War II veteran operating as a private detective in 1948 Omaha. Rick is hired by Mariko Meyer, a Japanese- American woman, to find her missing father. Along the way, the duo comes into contact with roughneck thugs, high society gangsters, and the police. Intrigue abounds as hidden motivations are exposed and murderous intentions are brought to light. The novel also explores the struggle between Rick’s mistrust of the Japanese people—a result of his war experiences—and his better nature, as the detective is forced to examine who he is as a man. In addition to the setting and plot, the novel also explores the complexities of the hardboiled genre’s unique language. Imagery and emotions are conveyed through metaphors, similes, and fast-paced dialogue, all of which convey a sense of terseness and energy, with hints of dark humor laced throughout.

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Fiction Commons