Inspired by an unsolved true-crime kidnapping case that riveted Japan, this first English-language translation of one of Japan's most respected crime writers follows a group of men with a grievance against Japan's largest beer conglomerate as they plot to kidnap the CEO and extract blood money from the company's corrupt financiers.
This isn't the book for readers looking for the immediate gratification of straight-to-the-action crime fiction ... There's quite a bit about the complex ties between companies, finance, politics, and shady organizations...much of which can be rather confounding to readers not familiar with this system. The novel certainly does bog down some in especially the Okada and related happenings, but the main point...certainly comes across ... Much of the novel is also simply about process: the workings of a corporation, the police, and the press, which Takamura presents in considerable detail (indeed, at times the novel is arguably too detailed here) ... Lady Joker impresses with its scale and patience, only occasionally getting long-winded, particularly in some of the explanations regarding the corporate/criminal-connections and surrounding activity; there's also a bit of unnecessary repetition (mainly about this sort of thing, where repetition unfortunately doesn't make it much clearer). Takamura's expansive presentation is unusual, but effective; if some of the issues remain a bit confusing...the basics are clear enough. Lady Joker isn't action-packed or -focused, but Takamura's attention to foundations—carefully building up her story—makes for a novel of considerably greater depth than your usual crime novel ... there's enough here to satisfy, a large canvas that, even if without resolutions, offers a thoroughly engaging read.