Two detectives. Two identical women. One dead body-- then two, then three, then four. All knotted up in Japan's underground BDSM scene and kinbaku, a form of rope bondage which bears a complex cultural history of spirituality, torture, cleansing, and sacrifice. As Togashi, a junior member of the police force, investigates the murder of a kinbaku instructor, he finds himself unable to resist his own private transgressive desires. In contrast, Togashi's colleague Hayama is morally upright to a fault. When Hayama notices a dangerous measure of darkness within Togashi, he embarks on a parallel investigation, which soon spirals out of control.
The book mixes the tropes and trappings of a noir novel with the tortured perceptions of a Poe protagonist and the cruel pleasures of the Marquis de Sade. 'A detective’s work happens on the edge of darkness,' Togashi warns. Readers should brace for a long night’s journey into the muck before emerging into the bleak light of the morn.
Detailed step-by-step descriptions of sexual bondage are only the most literal sign of the tangled relationships that bind the characters together. And just when you’re convinced that Nakamura... has moved decisively from the logistics of kinbaku to its spirituality and metaphysics, he produces a stunning climactic surprise that will make you think of this particular case, and erotic bondage generally, in a whole new way.