Ninja author’s tenacious heroine tackles the treacherous world of L.A. sex trafficking in much-anticipated sequel


LOS ANGELES – Tori Eldridge’s sequel to her lauded debut novel packs quite a punch — literally. Fused with Eldridge’s own personal brand of grit and renegade style, “The Ninja’s Blade,” (Sept. 1, Agora Books/Polis Books) is a no-holds-bar, action-packed thriller that will keep readers turning the page for more.

Following events in “The Ninja Daughter,” protagonist Lily Wong pursues her mission to save the women and children of Los Angeles. Hounded by the trauma from her previous confrontation with the Varrio Norwalk 66 street gang, Lily is on a desparate search for a kidnapped prostitution victim, eventually going undercover in the seedy underbelly of L.A. sex trafficking. All the while she struggles to appease the expectations of her Asian mother and grandparents, as well as kindle the spark of a potential romantic flame.

Behind the adventures of her modern-day ninja, the author examines themes of race, identity and values, as well as the timely issues of crimes against women and trafficking. Eldridge crafts a knockout of a novel that’ll leave readers wondering what’s next for Lily Wong?

Early praise for “The Ninja’s Blade”

“Lily Wong is gutsy, smart, and irresistible — just like ‘The Ninja’s Blade.’ Grab it!”
— Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-winning author of “The Dark Corners of the Night”

“ ‘The Ninja’s Blade’ will have you on the edge of your seat, turning pages so fast toward the end that you risk death by paper cut. Lily may not be winded at the end of those ninja fights, but you sure will be. If you’re not reading this series, you’re missing out big time.”
― Tracy Clark, author of the acclaimed Cass Raines Chicago Mystery series

Praise for “The Ninja Daughter”

“Eldridge’s debut thriller introduces readers to a heroine for the #MeToo era and deftly explores the dangers of Lily’s avocation, the challenges of familial relationships, and the need to continue to fight the abuse and exploitation of others. … Readers who enjoy an action-packed adventure that doesn’t neglect character development and speaks truth about the human condition will welcome this quirky, passionate, and endearingly relatable protagonist.”
― Library Journal (Starred), Debut Pick of the Month, November

“Eldridge’s wild ride of a first novel marries Kill Bill with Killing Eve. Readers will want to see more of the feisty Lily. Eldridge expertly mines both domestic suspense and action thriller.”
― Publishers Weekly

“Tough, snarky, and grudgingly vulnerable, Lily Wong is an irresistible heroine set perfectly against a quirky millennial L.A. backdrop.”
― Booklist

“If you love a heroine who’s tough, brilliant, and never runs from a fight, look no further. ‘The Ninja Daughter is your gal. Tori Eldridge introduces the warrior-sleuth you’ll want fighting by your side.”
― Tess Gerritsen, NYT bestselling author of “The Shape of Night”

“The Ninja’s Blade” (Lily Wong Book 2)
Tori Eldridge | Sept. 1, 2020 | Agora Books | Thriller | Paperback | 978-951709-09-9 | $16.95


TORI ELDRIDGE is the Anthony, Lefty, and Macavity Awards- nominated author of “The Ninja Daughter,” which was named one of the “Best Mystery Books of the Year” by The South Florida Sun Sentinel and awarded 2019 Thriller Book of the Year by Authors on the Air Global Radio Network. Her short stories appear in several anthologies, and her screenplay “The Gift” earned a semifinalist spot in the prestigious Academy Nicholl Fellowship.

Before writing, Tori performed as an actress, singer, and dancer on Broadway, television, and film. She is of Hawaiian, Chinese, Norwegian descent and was born and raised in Honolulu, where she graduated from Punahou School with classmate Barack Obama. Tori holds a fifth-degree black belt in To-Shin Do ninjutsu and has traveled the U.S. teaching seminars on the ninja arts, weapons, and women’s self-protection.

In an interview, Tori Eldridge can discuss:

  • Her journey from the stage and screen to published author
  • Her ninjitsu and women’s self-defense background and how it helped her develop the character of Lily Wong
  • The #ownvoices movement and the importance of diversity in literature
  • Incorporating her own mixed race heritage into her main character
  • The representation of Asian culture and family dynamics throughout her writing
  • Choosing to write about commercial sex trafficking of youth and the importance of bringing awareness to the issue through fiction

An Interview with Tori Eldridge

1. How soon into writing the first book of the series did you know Lily’s story was going to be continued?

I knew “The Ninja Daughter” would begin a series before I even wrote the first sentence. Lily Wong demanded I tell her story — one of heroism, tragedy, family, culture, and relevancy. Not only did she fascinate and motivate me to write, but she connected me even more deeply with current affairs, my city, my ninja art, and my heritage.

2. Echoing #MeToo and other calls for female empowerment, the series focuses heavily on human trafficking, self-defense, and crimes against women. How did these recent movements in today’s culture influence developing the series?

Lily Wong is a modern-day ninja concerned with the issues of modern-day women. This wasn’t a calculated decision inspired by current affairs. Rather, Lily emerged from my mind on a hunt for her younger sister’s rapist and murderer. Family relationships and duty are intrinsic to Asian culture, so Lily’s perceived failure as an elder sister is what drives her to become a big sister to a city and to fight crimes against women and children. The #MeToo movement also spoke loudly to me as a former actress in Hollywood and martial arts instructor. The demeaning behavior of the past must end. It’s time to redefine American culture with greater awareness and respect.

3. In “The Ninja’s Blade,” Lily is suffering from PTSD stemming from previous events in book one. Why was it important for you to acknowledge this trauma and how did it help you develop Lily’s character in book two?

Unless you’re a psychopath, violence — done to you or by you — leaves a mark. Past actions inform and often confuse our actions in the present. They can influence our decisions, affect us emotionally, and make us question our self perception.

This doubt and angst is part of the human condition. Seeing the actions that took place in “The Ninja Daughter” affect Lily in “The Ninja’s Blade,” not only deepens her character but will hopefully resonate deeply with readers.

4. The Lily Wong Series is set in Los Angeles, and the spirit and depiction of the city is just as important as the characters. What motivated you to have the book set there?

Los Angeles has been my city for over 35 years, providing me a deep well of experience and familiarity from which to draw. I view Los Angeles as a macrocosm of Lily’s own personality and urban multicultural experience. As Lily points out in “The Ninja Daughter,” Los Angeles is like dot art: View it closely and you’ll see dramatically distinct communities. Take it in as a whole, and our city presents itself in glorious harmony. The same can be said for Lily. In true Asian fashion, I’ve woven this sort of symbolism in “The Ninja’s Blade” and throughout the Lily Wong series. It’s yet another way that Lily and I connect with our shared Chinese heritage.

5. #ownvoices attempts to recognize diversity and promote representation throughout the literary community. What does it mean to you to be an #ownvoices author?

Writing from my own Chinese-Norwegian heritage, experience as a master ninjutsu practitioner, and longtime resident of Los Angeles, I was able to infuse “The Ninja Daughter” with distinctive authenticity. Personal experience and deeper insight is something readers can and should expect from an #ownvoices author. As for representation in fiction and media, I cannot express how important it is for people of all cultures and communities to see themselves portrayed in nuanced and empowering characters. Characters and stories that veer outside of mainstream experience expand our empathy and connect our society.