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Book review: 『ケモノの城』by Tetsuya HONDA

About the book

Title: 『ケモノの城』(けもののしろ)
Author: Tetsuya HONDA (誉田哲也)
Published by 双葉文庫

It is the first time I read Tetsuya HONDA, but I know that he is a very famous author of thrillers and mystery novels. I also think that some of his work is translated into English.

Setting

The police is investigating a shocking case involving abuse, torture and maybe murder. Through questioning and field work, the police tries to understand what really happened in a case where the boundary between victim and persecutor is thin.

Review

I think that 『ケモノの城』is a good novel with a good story and an interesting investigation. However, I was not expecting so much violence and it was at times difficult to read. A lot of scenes describe physical and psychological torture, and I have several times considered giving up the novel because reading it gave me stomach ache.

While you would expect horrible things to happen in a thriller, you also know that everything is fictional. In 『ケモノの城』, the way things were described make them feel extremely realistic, to the point when I was relieved whenever I found unknown vocabulary in the descriptions!

Apart from this, the story is great, with enough suspense to make me want to finish the book in spite of everything. It also raises interesting questions about the victims’ attitude towards their aggressor and their situation. What the book describes is hard to believe (something similar to the Stockholm syndrome), but worth thinking about.

To conclude I would say that 『ケモノの城』is a good thriller, but I don’t personally recommend it, and I would never choose it as a gift for someone. I am used to reading thrillers that stage all kinds of horrible murders, but there is something in 『ケモノの城』that really disturbed me. Maybe this only shows that Tetsuya HONDA is a great writer…

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