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The Hunter: A Detective Takako Otomichi Mystery [Hardcover]

Asa Nonami

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Book Description

Feb. 15 2007

When Takako Otomichi Chooses the career of detective, her family disapproves and her male colleagues refuse to take her seriously, especially hard-bitten old gumshoe Sergeant Tamotsu Takizawa, her reluctant partner on the hunt for a mysterious murderer whose grisly trademark is to rip out the throat of his victims.
The pair must put their differences aside as their search for the killer takes them into Tokyo's seedy underworld of drugs, nightclubs, and teenage prostitution, and to the terrifying realization that the murderer is some kind of wild animal on the loose in the city streets. Before long, Takako is hot on the trail of her dangerous yet highly intelligent prey in a hair-raising journey that will bring her face-to-face with the killer and face-to-face with herself.
The Hunter is a gripping mystery thriller that also delves deeply into the hearts and minds of its protagonists to create complex portraits of ordinary people struggling to balance the demands of work, family, and personal relationships.
A BRUTAL TRAINED KILLER< stalks the winter streets of Tokyo. But this is no ordinary murderer.
A TOUGH, STREETWISE DETECTIVE is assigned to track down the perpetrator of a series of gruesome slayings. But this is no ordinary cop.
THE ODDS ARE STACKED against female biker cop-turned-detective Takako Otomichi who has to battle against the demands of family and the disdain of male colleagues before she can come face-to-face with her prey . . .

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha (Feb. 15 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770030258
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770030252
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 16 x 2.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 599 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #969,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The 1996 winner of Japan's Naoki Prize, Nonami's engaging, complex police procedural, her first English-language publication, introduces Tokyo detective Takako Otomichi, who, having weathered a difficult divorce, must contend with her culture's disapproval of female police officers. Otomichi faces her greatest professional challenge when she teams with veteran Sgt. Tamotsu Takizawa to solve the murder of Takuma Sugawara, a businessman who bursts into flames at a popular family restaurant. Forensics soon demystify the sudden conflagration when traces of a chemical detonator are found in the victim's belt, but the inquiry takes a whole new tack when bite marks on Sugawara are linked to a series of fatal attacks by a wolflike predator. While some readers may find the whodunit aspect a bit routine, all will hope to see more of the prolific Nonami's work made available in the U.S. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In her native Japan, the author is something of a superstar, the author of dozens of popular novels in a variety of genres, although she is best known as the writer of prizewinning crime novels. This one, originally published in 1996, is the first to appear in English, and it's a corker. Takako Otomichi, a motorcycle cop recently promoted to detective, gets her first big case when a man in a restaurant is apparently the victim of spontaneous combustion. It turns out to be the first of a string of inexplicable deaths. Battling resentment from her fellow detectives (especially from her new partner), Takako soon finds that, if she wants to solve this baffling case, she has no one to rely on but herself. An atmospheric mystery with plenty of noir shadings and more than a hint of the occult, this is a razor-sharp crime novel that will leave readers hungry for more Nonami. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strong female character copes with crime and family Feb. 15 2011
By TChris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Takako Otomichi is a female cop in a man's Japan. When a murder victim dies in a fire started by an incendiary device hidden in his belt, Takako is among the detectives assigned to the case. She's partnered with a male detective sergeant who views her as an ornament. The investigation seems to be running out of steam when a second gruesome death occurs, this one apparently caused by a wild dog or a domesticated wolf. The relationship between the killings is the mystery that occupies Takako professionally. Divorced and living alone until her annoying sister shows up, Takako's personal life frustrates her as much as her job.

Takako's perseverance makes her a sympathetic character, but she is also easy to like: she's smart, she's tenacious, and she has a biting sense of humor (although, for the most part, she keeps her sarcasm to herself). She thinks of her partner as "the emperor penguin." Her partner fits the stereotype of the career cop who has sacrificed his family to his job, who drinks too much and doesn't trust women. Although most of the story is presented from Takako's point of view, we sometimes see the novel's events through her male partner's eyes. The differing perspectives offer insight into the failure of the partners to communicate -- the two characters make assumptions about each other that, left unspoken, make it impossible for them to work as a team.

The subordinate role of women in Japanese society is a recurring theme in Japanese crime fiction (it appears in Out and The Cage among other novels); in The Hunter, Takako does her best to ignore the persistent sexism she encounters, even when it hobbles her investigation. She also tries to ignore her domineering mother and hapless sister, but doing so only adds to her stress. She feels best about herself when she's riding her motorcycle. Her connection to the mysterious animal she ends up tracking (as well as her love of riding) suggests her desire for freedom, a desire that is only a dream given the relentless demands of her job and family.

Readers looking for a strong female character should enjoy The Hunter. The novel isn't a whodunit -- there isn't much in the way of clues for the reader to piece together -- but the story moves quickly and in unexpected directions. The connection between the crimes is a bit farfetched, but that's common enough in thrillers. It's interesting to compare issues of gender equality across cultural lines, but it's even more interesting to read about Takako battling the kind of personal demons that afflict people in every culture. The prose in The Hunter flows more naturally than it does in some other novels translated from Japanese that I've read. For its intriguing central character and enjoyable story, I would give The Hunter 4 1/2 stars (if that option were available).
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great characters, intriguing look into Tokyo police system March 26 2007
By C. D. Ward - Published on Amazon.com
The characters make this one stand out; Takako is a female cop who has to put up with all kinds of chauvinism in her department, even from her own partner, Takizawa. But Takizawa develops into a sympathetic character, and as the two cops work their way through a series of bizarre killings, their reactions to each other, never sinking into cliche, make for a terrific story on their own. And the ending is a real thrill-ride, literally.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars layered and unique Feb. 10 2009
By Dewdrop - Published on Amazon.com
The plot is very creative and unique - more "mysterious" than a lot of mysteries. And the tense relationship between the female detective and her misogynistic partner (a conservative older cop) seems very real - their banter and interaction is as interesting as solving the crime.

This book is written from a woman's perspective - to the extent that I would consider it feminist genre fiction. The author doesn't hit you over the head with the feminist angle - but seeing the Japanese police from the perspective of a female insider is an interesting twist on the usual murder mystery. The challenges that the female cope faces from everyone she encounters serves as a biting social critique of the status female professionals in Japanese society.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ugh! Aug. 30 2010
By Anastasia I. Rouseli - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Horrendous translation. It's as if the japanese police officers have turned american rednecks. Save your money...
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Read May 1 2008
By E. Kaya - Published on Amazon.com
For people who like their characters grounded and events out there. Exciting with a flowing prose.

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