The Axel Files:
The Cherrywood Box
There is more to the Cherrywood Box than some old dirty pictures.
Little Frankie Darling wants revenge, Asami Sato wants her inheritance, and Oyabun Kitsune wants the magic artifact hidden in the one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old cherrywood box. They each pay investigator, Axel Webb, to find the box, but things are not always what they seem, and people always lie to conceal their secret agendas.
Two seemingly disparate events, oceans and years apart, cause ripples of consequences that reverberate around the world until they come crashing down on Axel Webb’s desk. Axel will do just about anything for a buck, but when Little Frankie and his wooden pal come calling. Axel turns them down. Little Frankie Darling wants Axel to find the men that killed his Pops, that’s all, just find them; he’ll do the rest. But when Axel asks him what that means, Little Frankie tells him the truth: “Axel, old buddy, I’m going to kill the bastards. That’s what I’ll do the rest means.” As I said, Axel will do almost anything for money, but setting someone up to get whacked isn’t in his job description.
Webb’s specialty is finding things, not people, things that have been lost, stolen or misappropriated by some nefarious means. So when Asami Sato interrupts Axel’s breakfast with a case that involves purchasing a cherrywood box of historic Shunga woodblocks, Axel takes the bait. What Sato doesn’t tell Axel is: she and Little Frankie are a thing: a very odd thing indeed, considering Little Frankie only speaks through an antique ventriloquist’s dummy, but who’s to say what attracts people?
Infidelity, murder, war, earthquakes, and historic treasures lead Axel from a swanky Toronto hotel to an Oyabun’s Tokyo headquarters and on to a high-octane London auction house; in search of what really is hidden in the cherrywood box.