The book 「私のクラスの生徒が、一晩で24人死にました。」by 日向奈くらら (ひむかな・くらら) reminded me how much I like horror stories and thrillers. I have a taste for thrillers and psycho-thrillers with horror elements but I always find that half of the books I read in these areas are disappointing. It was not the case with Himukana’s book that I found very entertaining.
Strangely enough, I could point out some aspects of the books that may be considered as weaknesses, but while I was aware of them, they did not bother me, nor did they prevent me from enjoying the book. Maybe reading in Japanese makes me less demanding?
Nahoko KITAHARA is a teacher in a select high school establishment. As the title plainly states, 24 students of her class mysteriously die overnight.
I liked that the novel does not lose time in endless settings and almost opens on this terrible event. However, I was afraid that the rest of the book would nourish itself from this one event, with characters keeping wondering how this is possible and so on. I was happily surprised to see that the story keeps its pace, that other macabre discoveries satisfy the reader’s dubious expectations for more blood and suffering and that a police investigation gives the novel a touch of a crime novel.
The story may lack red herrings or plot twists that would surprise the reader; on the other hand, I have also read novels that completely get lost in the deceptions they try to divert the reader with, so that in the end all plot elements are patched together without conviction. Himukana’s book may lack suspense, but the story is consistent.
The story is told from the point of view of Nahoko, our protagonist, and one of the detectives on the case. I like when stories switch between the point of view of the police and someone close to the case but without any special skill to track a murderer. It works well in this novel, with two investigations going on in parallel: the police with the means at their disposal, and the teacher who knows her students best.
School bullying is the main theme of the story. I found that it gave the novel some depth by linking the horror story with a topic that is anchored in reality. I find that the mix between entirely fictional events and things that could actually have taken place in any high school was well done.
In one word: it was entertaining
Neither the ending of the story nor the whole explanations of these mysterious deaths fully convinced me. But the novel was entertaining enough so that it did not bother me. Let’s say that I am grateful for the enjoyable read and can forgive the somewhat exaggerated and unconvincing solution.
This book was published by Kadokawa (角川) in the horror collection called “Kadokawa Horror Bunko” (角川ホラー文庫). 「私のクラスの生徒が、一晩で24人死にました。」makes me want to read other titles from this collection, I will check what they have and make a wish list!