From Publishers Weekly
What starts as a dry police procedural intensifies into an Agatha Christie–style closed-room puzzle in this intriguing look at contemporary Japanese family life from Miyabe (All She Was Worth
). Sergeant Takegami, an accomplished desk jockey, winds up taking an active role in investigating two separate murders, one of a bland company man, Ryosuke Tokoroda, and the other of a woman who proves to be the first victim's college-age girlfriend. Takegami learns that Tokoroda participated in Internet chat rooms and established a cyber "family" where he played the "Dad." The faux family, which included a wife, a son and a daughter, seemed to be an idealized unit, supportive and loving. This paternal perfection contrasted to the frosty relations Tokoroda had with his actual wife and daughter. Tokoroda's history of extramarital affairs complicates the inquiry, as do reports of a stalker plaguing his real-life daughter. Miyabe expertly manipulates mood and pace as the action builds to a house-of-mirrors-like interview that slowly reveals the killer's surprising identity. The clean, crisp translation is the perfect vehicle for this satisfying read. (Feb. 1)
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Though Miyabe's thriller is set in the electric city of Tokyo, almost all of the action takes place in the small interrogation room of a police station. A middle-aged "salaryman" and his young mistress have been murdered. A colleague's illness propels Desk Sergeant Takegami into leading the investigation, with his former partner Detective Chikako Ishizu brought in to help. They soon learn that the murdered man, married with a daughter, had an online "family" for whom he played the role of "Dad." As police attempt to track down the fantasy family, the real-life daughter of the murdered man complains that she is being stalked. Most of the story recounts the interrogation of the fantasy family members--"Mom," son "Minoru," and daughter "Kazumi"--as the real daughter watches from behind a two-way mirror. Although the English translation of this Japanese original sounds a bit stilted, almost like a dubbed movie, the novel offers a fascinating look at the dark side of the Internet. Jenny McLarinCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved