Furutani's family came from Yamaguchi Prefecture in Japan to Hawaii in 1896. He was raised in San Pedro, California, where he attended school. He has a degree in Creative Writing from California State University, Long Beach, and an MBA in Marketing from UCLA. In addition to his writing career, he has held positions as Parts Marketing Manager for Yamaha Motorcycles, Director of Information Systems for Nissan USA, and CIO of Edmunds.com.
He has written mysteries set in modern Los Angeles and Tokyo as well as a mystery trilogy set in 1603 Japan. He has received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and have been on the Mystery Writers of America national bestseller list, the Los Angeles Times Bestseller List for all fiction, and numerous local mystery bestseller lists. He has been invited to speak at the U. S. Library of Congress several times as both a mystery writer and an Asian American writer. He has also been invited to speak at numerous writer's and mystery conventions.