Blue Light Yoko hama BY NICOLÁS OBREGÓN
BY NICOLÁS OBREGÓN (MICHAEL JOSEPH) OUT NOW
Inspired by a real-life (and unsolved) case in which an entire family was murdered, as well as a fortuitous channelhop landing on a shopping network (advertising a CD collection, playing the song that would become this book’s title), British-born writer Nicolás Obregón’s journey to his debut novel was an unusual one.
Blue Light Yokohama is an odd read. It frequently feels like four novels in one, with a strong main narrative – the investigation into the murder forming the backbone of the book – supported by several overlapping plotlines that appear mainly in the form of flashbacks and dream sequences. However, these elements aren’t entirely successful, bordering on confusing, with little resonance beyond occasional red herrings, which is a shame – especially as the novel’s central mystery is so compelling.
We follow Tokyo homicide detective Inspector Iwata, tasked with solving the case of a family murdered in their home by a killer who stopped to eat ice cream and browse the internet, uncovering occult elements that point Iwata toward a huge conspiracy.
With a steady escalation of clues, gruesome murders and nasty antagonists, Blue Light Yokohama is a gripping read – although any fans of Japanese crime fiction looking for cultural nuance in a novel should probably investigate elsewhere.