Blue Light Yoko hama BY NI­COLÁS OBREGÓN

BY NI­COLÁS OBREGÓN (MICHAEL JOSEPH) OUT NOW

Crime Scene - - POST MORTEM - By SAM ASHURST

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.

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