All posts filed under: book review

Book Review: 『検事の本懐』by Yuko YUZUKI

About the book Title: 『検事の本懐』(けんじ の ほんかい) The Public Prosecutor’s DesireAuthor: 柚月裕子 (ゆづき・ゆうこ) Yuko YUZUKIPublished by 角川文庫 (かどかわぶんこ) This book is a collection of short stories from the series Sadato SAKATA (佐方貞人シリーズ). This is the second book of the series, but from what I understand, the events described in 『検事の本懐』happened before those described in the first book of the series. As a consequence, I think that starting with 『検事の本懐』is not a problem. Setting Sadato SAKATA is a public prosecutor. Even though most people misjudge him at first, he is one of the best, and those who work with him soon realise it. The five short stories are told from the point of view of colleagues, police officers or journalists who get to work with SAKATA. Review I found this book to be very interesting. It was first of all refreshing to follow the work of a public prosecutor instead of the usual police officers and detectives we find in most mystery and crime novels. While I am used to reading how the police works and conduct …

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 …

Book Review: 『新参者』by Keigo HIGASHINO

About the book Title: 『新参者』(しんざんもの)Author: Keigo HIGASHINO 東野圭吾Published by 講談社文庫 『新参者』is the 8th (out of 10) book of the detective Kaga series (加賀シリーズ). The series feature detective Kyoichiro KAGA (加賀恭一郎). The series spans 30 years, the first novel was published in 1986 (it was Higashino’s second novel) and the last one was published in 2016. Setting Detective Kyoichiro KAGA has just been dispatched to the police station of Nihonbashi. He is a “newcomer” (新参者) in the neighborhood. When a woman is found dead in her apartment, Kaga starts an unconventional investigation through which we get to know the life of several shopkeepers and inhabitants of the neighborhood. Review Keigo HIGASHINO is my favourite author of genre fiction (regardless of the country) and among all the novels and short stories I have read by Keigo Higashino, the books of the Kaga series are my favourites. And among the books of the series that I have read so far, 『悪意』, 『私が彼を殺した』and 『新参者』are my favourites (in this order). Needless to say that I have loved this novel. What I particularly enjoy in …

Book review: 『下町やぶさか診療所』by Yo IKENAGA

About the book Title: 『下町やぶさか診療所』(したまち やぶさか しんりょうじょ)Author: Yo IKENAGA (池永陽)Published by 集英社文庫 I bought this book in Japan, partly because I loved the cover, partly because I wanted to read something else than mystery novels. Setting Rintaro MANO, alias “大先生”, is working as a doctor in Asakusa, Tokyo. His prices are cheap, and it is no secret that people come to him to talk about their problems in life rather than to get a medical consultation. We meet Rintaro’s patients and friends, and share their lives and fate through 7 short chapters of around 50 pages each. Review First of all, I loved this book, and I would easily recommend 『下町やぶさか診療所』. However, even though the doctor’s office is a central place in the novel, I don’t think you can call this novel a medical fiction. Rintaro does little more than applying his stethoscope to his patients’s chest. It is true that most of the stories show how people deal with diseases, but it is more about their daily life and moral choices than about the …

Book Review: 『ガーディアン』by Gaku YAKUMARU

About the book Title: 『ガーディアン』Author: Gaku YAKUMARU 薬丸岳Published by 講談社 Gaku YAKUMARU is a popular author of mystery novels and thrillers. Recently, one of his novel has been a huge best-seller in Korea (where I live). The novel is 『誓約』 , and I have read and liked it. When I was in Japan for a short trip earlier this year, I saw that Gaku YAKUMARU had released a new mystery novel, 『ガーディアン』whose topic and setting was very appealing to me. Setting The story takes place at a middle school, and while the topic of the novel is school bullying, there surprisingly seems to be very little bullying problems in this establishment. We follow several students and professors, in particular professor AKIBA, as the school year progresses and secrets get revealed. Review 『ガーディアン』 is a great school mystery novel. I loved reading it, it was easy to feel involved in the story of each characters, and it was easy to read in Japanese. I am interested in the topic of school bullying in Japan, and I think …

Book Review: 『わたし、定時で帰ります』by Kaeruko AKENO

Presentation Title: 『わたし、定時で帰ります』(No working after hours!)Author: Kaeruko AKENO 朱野帰子Published by 新潮文庫 This novel has been adapted into a TV drama featuring Yuriko YOSHITAKA. It started airing in April this year (2019). Setting As the title suggests, this novel is a story about work and workplace. The protagonist is Yui HIGASHIYAMA, she is 32 years old and works for a web company. She is known for always leaving her work at six while most of her co-workers work after hours. Things get upset when a new boss comes in Yui’s team. Review I absolutely loved this novel, it is without a doubt one of my favourite reads of the year!  If you like novels about working life or want to get insights into a Japanese working place and working style, this novel seems perfect. I have never worked in Japan or in a Japanese company, so it is hard to tell if what the novel depicts is close to reality. But I enjoyed reading it, I think that I did learn a lot of things thanks to …

Book review: 『模倣の殺意』by Sin NAKAMACHI

Presentation Title: 『模倣の殺意』(The Plagiarized Fugue)Author: Sin NAKAMACHI 中町信Published by 創元推理文庫 Sin NAKAMACHI (1935-2009) was an author of crime fiction. 『模倣の殺意』was first published in 1973 under the title “新人賞殺人事件”. In 2004, 創元推理文庫 brought this mystery novel to the public again and gave it its present title. Setting An introductory chapter sets the facts: A man called Masao SAKAI dies on July, 7th at 7pm. He was an author of crime fiction. His death by poisoning looks like suicide but two persons are not convinced and will investigate. We follow these two characters, the chapters alternating between one and the other. Review: Excellent mystery! I didn’t know Sin NAKAMACHI before, and I bought this book because the obi said “これはすごい!”. I must learn not to let myself be too influenced by such promotional phrases, but in this case, it was true: this book was really good. First of all, the book is an excellent mystery novel with all the elements you would expect to find in good crime fiction. However, as the obi suggests, Sin NAKAMACHI goes …