23 Sep / The Silent Dead [Reiko Himekawa, Book 1] by Tetsuya Honda, translated by Giles Murray [in Library Journal]
Already the star of an ongoing, bestselling series in Japan (on both page and screen), Det. Reiko Himekawa makes her English-translation debut, outsmarting her arrogant male colleagues by listening to the dead. At 29, Reiko is young to be a lieutenant in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police’s Homicide Division, but old enough to be edging into spinster territory as she’s regularly warned, especially by her parents.
When a mutilated corpse turns up in a quiet Tokyo suburb, Reiko’s initial reaction (as usual) is to gaze into the victim’s face for clues. In spite of dismissive scoffing, Reiko is the first to realize this victim is not alone, eventually leading to the discovery of multiple decomposing bodies. Reiko sifts through the Internet and private clubs, and battles patronizing officers and damaged criminals to reveal a heinous network of voyeuristic death and destruction.
Narrator Emily Woo Zeller’s efficient narration – measured and slightly detached as the detective; emotionally charged as the desperate, abused young women revealed in flashbacks – is an ideal fit for this dynamic sleuth.
Verdict: Award-winning Tetsuya Honda deserves equal shelf space with other recent contemporary bone-chilling Japanese imports, including works by authors Keigo Higashino, Miyuki Minabe, and Natsuo Kirino.