From School Library Journal
Adult/High School - Billy Chaka returns for his fourth book in Adamson's quirky, fast-paced thriller series. Here, the reporter and sometime private eye journeys to the Osaka district of Japan to claim an award for an article he wrote several years before on Tetsuo Oyamada, an immensely talented Bunraku artist. It becomes clear that the award is a ruse created by the young man's father. Following a fight with another puppeteer, Tetsuo left his troupe to join a group experimenting with the form and has dropped all contact with his family and former coworkers. The elder Oyamada, also a puppeteer, asks Chaka to meet with the headstrong Tetsuo and convince him to return to his former life. The story becomes complicated when an unknown assailant kills an American in the hotel room next to Chaka's. The novel follows a Chandler-style plot, complete with mysterious but beautiful women, seedy underworld characters, and helpful friends who are more than they appear. But the cheeky tongue of Chaka and the colorful and wonderfully odd secondary characters transform the formula into a unique read. Chaka's investigation of these cases exposes readers to the seldom-seen corners of Japanese life, and Adamson's portrayal of the country is colorful and memorable, and glows like an anime
cartoon. The two cases twist and intertwine, finally feeding into one another and creating a clever, action-packed ending. - Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Billy Chaka, writer for the Cleveland magazine Youth in Asia
, has won an award, and he gets to go to Japan to pick it up. As soon as he gets there, he is approached by Mr. Oyamada, the father of the boy Billy featured in his award-winning article. Apparently the once-promising performer has been kicked out of his puppet troupe, and Oyamada wants Billy to help him restart his son's career. This is made fairly difficult by two things: one, the fact that young Oyamada was tossed out of the troupe for assaulting a fellow performer, and, two, the fact that an American guest in Billy's hotel has been murdered. As always, Adamson combines noir mystery style with elements of Japanese animation: weird characters, fast-paced plot, quirky humor. Even now, in its fourth book, the series still feels fresh and exciting, and the author's jokes still hit their mark. Billy's the kind of guy they ought to make a movie about--or, at the very least, put in hard covers for a change. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved