Sirk TV Book Review: TOKYO KILL [Simon & Schuster]

The idea of a murder mystery wrapped in the texture of Chinese & Japanese honor has definitely permeated through modern culture. “Rising Sun” as a Hollywood adaptation tried to integrate the idea of how honor mixes with tradition and greed. With “Tokyo Kills” [Barry Lancet/Simon & Schuster/352pgs], which continues the trails of one PI Jim Brodie, the book follows his return to Tokyo after the events of “Japantown” (the previous book which this reviewer has not read). Like Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt, antiquities and investigation mix. With “Tokyo Kill”, the progression is more linear but no less intriguing. Brodie, as a single father of daughter, is trying to keep his head low but apparently after his last adventure, anonymity is a foregone pastime. He gets drawn into a case where World War II veterans from the Japanese side are being killed off. The MacGuffin of this progression is a murder which looks like it could have been committed by any number of organizations. The efficiency in how the story works is in the confusion of pulling away what a violent act actually means and how it is accomplished in the dense macabre of both the Chinese and Japanese underworld as well as spycraft. The reveal has a texture of traditionalism but in the way it is explained gives credence to the eventual third act. While the resolution and explanation of the actual con which involves certain treasures of World War II has weight, the final protagonist is in a certain way a letdown simply because of the character’s almost unironic basis as a cog in the wheel. Nevertheless the “gajin” in a strange land motif that works while still adhering to the cliche of falling for the strong local woman who honor is battered because of chivalry versus the double standard of ambition and accomplishment (especially in such a patriarchal society). The story is adequately handled and, as the author has lived and currently lives in Japan, allows him to see the aspect of the interaction in modern life. “Tokyo Kill” is an effective pursuit down to its end despite some logic and plot leaps.


By Tim Wassberg

Posted on November 2, 2018, in Other Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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