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Crossfire Hardcover – February 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This provocative paranormal police procedural from the prolific Miyabe, like her two previous crime novels translated into English (All She Was Worth and Shadow Family), examines the dark side of Japanese society. The complex story is seen through the eyes of two very different women: Junko Aoki, who's afflicted/blessed with pyrokinesis, the ability to start fires through willpower, which she uses to avenge unsolved crimes, and Sgt. Chikako Ishizu of the Tokyo police department's arson squad, a pragmatic skeptic. Chikako and her partner gradually piece together a series of baffling cases in which suspected criminals, cars and even buildings are inexplicably incinerated. Their investigation leads to those with supernatural powers, including a troubled young girl, as well as to an underground citizens' organization of justice seekers. Despite uneven pacing and some unlikely coincidences, this startling genre mix keeps the reader turning the pages right up to the breathtaking climax. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

Junko Aoki realizes she was "born with a power few others had, which meant it was something she was supposed to use." And boy what a power it is! Plucky young Junko can shoot raw energy from her fingertips that sets ablaze anything--or anyone--in her path. "I am a loaded gun," she muses while searching the Tokyo area for quiet ponds into which she can safely unload excess juice, "My mission is to hunt down monsters who live only to consume and destroy innocent lives." After Junko summarily sautes several teen toughs attempting to dispose of a victim in an abandoned factory, arson squad investigator Chikako Ishizu, a mother figure and dedicated cop, picks up her scent. But while Chikako tracks Junko, the firebug attempts to rescue the factory victim's girlfriend, and crispy corpses begin piling up. As it unfolds in a brisk, straightforward style reminiscent of a graphic novel or episodic video game, this supernatural Death Wish throws off lots of fun sparks and even finds time for some pyrokinetic mythology and a tragic romance. Frank Sennett
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA; Tra edition (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770029934
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770029935
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.1 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,225,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Isabella K. Badenoch on April 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I am a big fan of Miyabe Miyuki and this novel is not her best, but also not her worst - it is in the middle range. It is a very compact storyline and short novel, so if you want something different to read for a long weekend, I recommend this book.

The story was initially somewhat reminiscent of Stephen King's "Firestarter", since the main character can start fires at will, but that is pretty much where the similarity ends. As with her other novels, Miyabe entwines social issues, gender issues and other pertinent topics into her novel and this is what makes her writing so unique. Although not her best novel, it is well written and the story is captivating. I recommend it for a leisure read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Although being marketed as a mystery/police writer in the US, in her native Japan Miyuki Miyabe is a master of all genres. Science fiction, social commentary, juvenile fiction, mystery fiction...there are very few arenas where she has not sown her considerable talent. This third book to get an English translation is quite a departure from the reality-based "All She Was Worth" and "Shadow Family," entering a world of super-powered assassins and powerful conspiracy organizations.

"Crossfire" follows the lives of two very different women. Junko Aoki is a young and beautiful pyrokinetic, capable of unleashing devastating heat-based attacks using only her mind. She is a warrior in a personal war, seeing herself as a weapon, a scourge against the inhuman crime that she sees day to day in modern Japan. Chikako Ishizu is a middle aged detective in the arson department, an unexceptional woman of average abilities who owes her position to a political maneuver placing more women in detective positions. There paths merge when Chikako investigates a murder, the victim burned alive in an impossible manner. Her investigation forces her to leave her accepted reality, and enter a shadow world she never new existed. Behind it all, manipulating circumstances, is a group called The Guardians, a powerful group dedicated to delivering justice when the courts have failed.

Regardless of the genre, Miyabe's strength is her characters, specifically her women characters who come alive and bring an honesty to incredible circumstances. She doesn't force relationships, love stories, or anything else that would interfere with the main plot.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on March 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoy this author enormously. The first book I read by her was "All She Was Worth," which stands up with the very best of mystery fiction. While this one isn't as strong in terms of the "mystery," the author's strengths in character development and the manner of fitting the story into the contemporary Japanese milieu are very evident. I can think of few writers that make you care as much as this talented woman does. Having said all that, this book was a bit of a departure in that a part of the mystery deals with people with paranormal powers (fire starting or pyrokinesis). Two protagonists coexit, a wonderful middleaged lady detective from the arson squad, and the firestarter -- a young woman who must decide if what she is doing is ethical (for example, what about innocent bystanders? Is the death of a few of them worth the many, many who will be saved if she blasts a guilty person?) In addition, there is a shadow organization, the Guardians, who at times seem to be protectors, and at times. . . well, read the book. This author deserves to be a bestseller!
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Format: Paperback
Miyuki Miyabe began her professional career in a law office, but soon turned to full-time writing. She has published three prior novels to CROSSFIRE and has been awarded numerous literary accolades. She is considered to be Japan's number one mystery writer.

CROSSFIRE merges the mystery world and more than a bit of the supernatural. Miyabe's heroine, Chikako Ishizu, a veteran police woman who has to constantly fight male attitudes, is pushed into a series of arson/murders. No one can figure out who, or even what, started the fires. Chikako meets the talented and morose Detective Makihara, a man who has devoted his life to the idea of pyrokinesis after he sees his younger step-brother go up in flames before his very eyes many years before. Makihara introduces the idea of a human born with the ability to consciously start fires to Chikako's skeptical reaction:

"'The ability to start fires using willpower,' Makihara said, his light-colored eyes fixed on Chikako. 'That is the theory I gave the investigation team for the Arakawa incident. I told them they should deepen their knowledge of pyrokinesis in order to proceed with their investigation.' He laughed again in a mischievous way. 'That must make me sound pretty eccentric to you, doesn't it?'"

What makes Miyuki Miyabe's writing so profoundly intoxicating is not just her excellent plotting and characterizations (which are compelling). It is the ideas that she presents in her writing. She forces the reader to face some very tough questions about personal ethics; love; and what loneliness contributes to the human condition. The very lovely Junko Aoki is one of two haunted characters born with the unfortunately ability to start fires. What does a person do with that kind of ability? Can she use it for the good of mankind?
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