Book review: 『追憶の夜想曲』by Shichiri NAKAYAMA

About the book

Title: 『追憶の夜想曲』(ついおくのノクターン)
Author: Shichiri NAKAYAMA (中山七里)
Published by 講談社文庫

This book is the second volume of the series MIKOSHIBA (御子柴シリーズ). The series follows lawyer Reiji MIKOSHIBA (御子柴 礼司), and I think that there are 4 volumes available now.

When I bought 『追憶の夜想曲』, I didn’t know that it was the second book of a series, and I really wish I had started with the first one, 『贖罪の奏鳴曲』.


When lawyer Reiji MIKOSHIBA decides to take on the case of Akiko TSUDA, everyone is baffled, especially procuror Kiyohei MISAKI… There is no money to be gained and no way he can win this case because the evidence against Akiko is clear: she murdered her husband…


I absolutely loved this novel! It is the first legal thriller that I read in Japanese, and it is a genre that I love (I remember that I wanted to become a lawyer after I read John Grisham for the first time, haha).

But 『追憶の夜想曲』 was very challenging at times, especially at the beginning. There is a whole discussion during the first chapter that I could not follow at all, and I almost gave up after a few pages. I am very glad that I persevered because things went much smoother after that. Sometimes, difficult passages would appear, and I must admit that there are one or two dialogues that I have not understood well, but it did not prevent me from understanding what was happening or to know what conclusions were drawn.

The novel describes the three parts of the trial and Mikoshiba’s investigation in-between. The case is engrossing and Mikoshiba is a complex and interesting character. I wish that I had started with the first novel of the series because I guess that we learn more about Mikoshiba’s past and personality in it. If you are interested in this series, I recommend you to start with the first novel.

This is the second book I read by Shichiri NAKAYAMA, the other one being from the series Hayato INUKAI (刑事犬養隼人シリーズ), which was also a little difficult to read in Japanese. Between the two, I would say that I loved the Mikoshiba series better, and I will certainly read the other books of this series. But definitely, Shichiri NAKAYAMA’s books are on the difficult side!

Book review: 『切り裂きジャックの告白』by Shichiri NAKAYAMA (中山七里)


Title: 『切り裂きジャックの告白』(Confession of Jack the Ripper)
Author: Shichiri NAKAYAMA 中山七里
Editor: 角川文庫
355 pages.

Shichiri NAKAYAMA is a prolific author of crime fiction. 『切り裂きジャックの告白』is the first novel to introduce the police detective Hayato INUKAI (犬養隼人).


The novel is exactly about what its title refers to: a serial killer who calls himself “Jack”, murders similar to those of Jack the Ripper, a police investigation to find the killer.

But there is also more in this novel than a simple chase of the murderer. The story addresses the topic of organ donation and transplantation and contains several discussions on this topic.

Review: Very interesting, difficult to read and not very suspenseful.

First of all, I found all the debates and thoughts surrounding the medical and ethical aspects of organ donation both interesting and difficult to read. This book was definitely not an easy read, both because of its topic and its language level. There was a good amount of vocabulary I had to look up, especially all the medical terms. For example, there is scene that describes how organs are removed from a donor, and needless to say that it was full of specialised terms that I was not familiar with.

While I found the debates around organ donation interesting, I also found that they were sometimes artificially introduced in the novel. For example, one of the characters would watch a television debate, and the author just transcribe this debate. I like when a novel contains ethical questions, but I don’t like when it is artificially introduced in the story. In 『切り裂きジャックの告白』, I sometimes felt that the whole police investigation was a pretext to talk about organ donation and transplantation, and the pace of the story was often broken by considerations on this topic.

These are the books that the author consulted to write his novel. Sometimes it felt that the author read a lot about this topic and wanted to put as much knowledge as possible in his novel.

As for the investigation in itself, I found it good but not very suspenseful. Maybe too realistic? I didn’t really feel the thrill of hunting down a murderer (which is certainly the reason why we read such books…?), but it was still interesting to see how the investigation is conducted, how the media are involved and so on.

Last but not least, while this novel is the first of the Hayato INUKAI series, I don’t feel that I really know this character. Strangely, all the other characters were well portrayed, but I found that Hayato INUKAI was a little insipid.

Despite all these criticisms, I did enjoy the book. I think that the book’s value mostly lies in its topic (organ donation), so if you are interested in this question, you will certainly find this book interesting. However, if you are looking for a suspenseful thriller, there might be better options…