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The Hunter: A Detective Takako Otomichi Mystery Hardcover – Feb 15 2007


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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: 2.2 x 15.7 x 22.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 599 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #778,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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As she opened her front door, her nostrils were assailed by the obnoxiously artificial perfume of air freshener. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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 13 people found the following review helpful
Great characters, intriguing look into Tokyo police system March 26 2007
By C. D. Ward - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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 6 people found the following review helpful
layered and unique Feb. 10 2009
By Dewdrop - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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 4 people found the following review helpful
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 3 people found the following review helpful
Decent Read May 1 2008
By E. Kaya - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For people who like their characters grounded and events out there. Exciting with a flowing prose.


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