The Hunter: A Detective Takako Otomichi Mystery Hardcover – Feb 15 2007
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
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.
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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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).
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.