Michael Gruber's Valley of Bones does not have interesting characters. It does not have an interesting plot. It does present an interesting look at the culture of Cuban-Americans living in Miami, Florida. From a literary perspective, however, this book is about as rewarding as an expired lottery ticket without the winning numbers.
I imagine that someone who's much more interested in Japan, Japanese culture and Japanese-American relations than I am would find Rising Sun a veritable treasure chest (with a good old-fashioned crime story thrown in to make things spicy). The information (and bubbling paranoia) may be dated - the book was released in 1992 - so it might serve better as a historical snapshot than a finger on the pulse of Japanese-American relations. And at that, it works great. As a novel, however, it disappoints.
Michael Crichton's Rising Sun is a decent whodunnit buried under layers of explanations of Japanese culture, the differences between Japanese and American cultures, the usual technical details that go with novels like these, and a history of Japanese-American corporate espionage. It reads, in fact, less like a novel and more like Japan for American Dummies, with a backstory thrown in for exposition.