Diana Renn

Mysteries that Matter


Tokyo Heist

Tokyo Heist by author Diana Renn

Sixteen-year-old Violet is thrilled when her father’s new painting commission means a summer trip to Japan. But what starts as an exotic vacation quickly turns sour when a priceless sketch by van Gogh is stolen from her father’s client and held ransom for a painting by the artist. The problem is that nobody knows where the painting is hidden, and until they find it, all their lives are in danger.

Joined by her friend Reika, Violet searches for the missing van Gogh in a quest that takes her from the Seattle Art Museum to the yakuza-infested streets of Tokyo to a secluded inn in Kyoto. As the mystery deepens, Violet’s not sure whom she can trust. But she knows one thing: she has to find the painting and the criminals–before it’s too late.

Published by Viking/Penguin. Now available at these bookstores:


Selected for the Summer 2012 Kids’ Indie Next List – “Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers”

Selected for the Kirkus Reviews New and Notable Books for Teens list (June 2012)

  • “Renn’s fun debut takes a kitchen-sink approach, throwing together romance, mystery, and action in a way that echoes the manga that 16-year-old Violet loves to read . . . . Fans of mysteries and thrillers will enjoy this just as much as fans of Japanese culture.”
    – Publisher’s Weekly (full review)
  • “A proficient caper spiced up by Violet’s eye for art.”
    Kirkus Reviews (full review)
  • “Renn’s debut will be a surefire hit with Japanophiles, who will thoroughly appreciate Violet’s enthusiasm for the culture.”
    – Booklist (full review)
  • “The plot has lots of twist and turns, leaving readers on edge . . . . Readers will cheer for Violet as she uses her wits and outsmarts the adults.”
    – School Library Journal
  • “Renn keeps the tension high and the pace moving in a modern, unique whodunit . . . . Tokyo Heist is a refreshing break from the tsunami of dystopian, paranormal titles in the young adult aisle.”
    – Susan Carpenter, The Los Angeles Times (full review)
  • “A fast-paced and engaging mystery with a spunky protagonist.” 
    – VOYA 
  • “Tokyo Heist is refreshingly free of most of the standard modern YA-fiction tropes. . . . It’s rare for YA heroines to have such specific, developed interests, and Violet filtering her investigation through her passion for manga, art, and Japan makes her seem like a real, relatable teenager.”
    – A.V. Club (full review)
  • “Tokyo Heist . . . will enthrall readers who love action.”
    – Examiner.com (full review)
  • “Tokyo Heist is a gem, hip enough to appeal to teen girls, especially to the more artistic, cosmopolitan ones, but also, so well-crafted, with so many surprises and interesting characters, that their mystery-loving moms will probably go for it, too.” 
    – Common Sense Media. (5 stars; full review)
  • “Fly to the coolest city on earth. Hunt for a missing masterpiece. Battle tattooed gangsters while rocking a kimono. And don’t forget to try the shibazuke. Adventures don’t get any more thrilling than Tokyo Heist. You’ll want to jump right inside this book and live it.”
    – Kirsten Miller, author of Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City
  • “Hidden paintings, yakuza assassins, vivid settings, artful intrigue, and a taste of manga make Tokyo Heist an absorbing tale mystery readers will love.”
    – Linda Gerber, author of Death by Latte.
  • “Tokyo Heist is a fast-paced, exotic reading adventure, a story where The da Vinci Code meets the wildly popular manga genre!  Author Diana Renn infuses protagonist Violet with plenty of chikara (power) and Renn’s fresh, spot-on author’s voice is irresistible.  I couldn’t put it down!” 
    – Alane Ferguson, author of The Christopher Killer and winner of the Edgar Alan Poe Mystery Writer of America award
  • “A terrific heroine, exciting and unexpected plot twists, and fascinating and beautifully-wrought real-life settings: young adult mysteries do not get better than this.”
    – Peter Abrahams, New York Times bestselling author of Reality Check and Down the Rabbit Hole; winner of the Edgar Alan Poe Mystery Writer of America award

Also from Viking/Penguin:

A children’s TV show host and avid bicyclist travels to Ecuador to unravel the mysterious death of a fellow young cyclist.

A teen girl spending the summer in Turkey gets entangled with an international gang of antiquities smugglers.

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