- File Size: 611 KB
- Print Length: 304 pages
- Publication Date: April 25, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00CJEHQ48
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #753,050 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$15.15|
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Reiko - A Japanese Ghost Story Kindle Edition
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
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Part ghost story and part mystery, <<Reiko>> employs a cast of largely-likeable characters, most of them in their 20s and trying to figure themselves out. Narrator James occasionally seems a bit, well, emo for my tastes, but the more I read, the more I suspected that Mr. Avonleigh wrote him that way on purpose. Sarah, meanwhile, proves to be far more than the product of wishful tuning she might seem at first glance — she, as much as anyone, really makes the story work.
I won't risk spoiling anyone's read, here, though I will say that the plot twists are perhaps a bit easier to follow than is ideal.I figured things out quite early on (yes, even the one that's supposed to be a real shocker). The fact that the story remained highly engaging and kept me turning pages speaks to the efficacy with which Mr. Avonleigh crafts his characters and settings. I cared quite a lot about what would become of the handful of souls adrift (some, perhaps, more literally than others) in Mr. Avonleigh's Japan.
Overall, a tip of the hat to the author. There are a few copy-editing errors here and possibly one of two minor fact-checking errors (a tropical breeze in Osaka in cheery blossom season?), but nothing that really detracts from the pleasure of the read.
Overall, a solid effort. I would have loved to see a little more development of the tension surrounding the central mystery, but still had a great time reading <<Reiko.>>
TL;DR: Recommended. A suspense-driven cross-cultural mystery drama that plays on stuff that creeps us out (hellooooo, mirrors) without stooping to excessive gore and jump-scares. Probably won't keep you awake at night; a good read nonetheless.
I was hooked from the opening line. "Japanese ghosts are different. Your ghosts would not feel at home here." This sets the stage for a fascinating look at ghosts from a non-western perspective. Avonleigh does an excellent job of transporting us into a culture caught between two worlds. In post-World War II Japan, western influences dominate. But there is still the East tugging at the shadows and inserting its presence into Tokyo's ever-present flashing neon. The hushed whispers surrounding the village of Izumi are laced with western references to Hell as well as Buddhism and Shintoism. The cultural juxtapositions are jarring and create a sense of tension before our protagonist James ever sets foot in the village. The story builds to a frightening climax that will leave you disturbed for some time after.
Reiko: A Japanese Ghost Story takes the reader outside the traditional horror boundaries. From the Gothic literary tradition to Stephen King, horror is dominated by the West. Avonleigh reminds us that there is a big world out there and it has its share of darkness as well. While Avonleigh's characters are a bit weak at times, it's a minor flaw in this one.
Originally published at Horror Novel Reviews
First Avonleigh states that the character blamed for Reiko's death was tried and executed by lethal injection. In reality, executions are rare in Japan, even in murder cases, but when inmates are executed it is always done by hanging.
Another distracting flaw was when Avonleigh confused the Japanese holidays Obon and Shigatsu. Obon, in August, is when the Japanese honor family graves not Japanese New Year's, which is when the Japanese return to their hometowns and spend the holiday with relatives.
Otherwise, Avonleigh's descriptions were spot on, and it was clear he had either visited the places described in the book or he worked very closely with someone who had. The book had several clever plot twists, and the dialog rang true, but the ending was rather anticlimactic and the protagonist was so weak and wimpy that I grew tired of him, and started rooting for the ghost to kill him in the most grisly manner possible. Sadly, he escaped...