24 Aug / The Fervor by Alma Katsu [in Booklist]
Historical horror master Alma Katsu augments an already terrifying occurrence – the U.S. imprisonment of 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent during WWII – by crafting this intricately plotted supernatural-tinged thriller. To underscore the reality, Katsu’s dedication points to her mother “for her stories of childhood in Japan during the war” and her father-in-law “for sharing his experience of the internment.”
Louis Ozawa opens with Wasaburo Oishi’s journal, in which he recorded science experiments in 1927 Japan; Ozawa’s resonating voice interrupts throughout with continued journal entries. Traci Kato-Kiriyama expertly ciphers the quartet of main characters, her familiarity with Japanese an obvious asset: Meiko and her mixed-race daughter, Aiko, who are trapped in Minidoka internment camp despite Meiko’s white, U.S. Air Force pilot husband; pastor Archie, who is mourning his pregnant wife; and reporter Fran, who is determined to uncover the story behind the secret explosions.
As WWII rages, a virulent virus is killing internees, anti-Asian hate grows as the disease spreads, and government collusion looms. The contemporary parallels, of course, are no accident. Kato-Kiriyama masterfully unspools the narrative threads, twisting toward chillingly plausible conclusions.
Review: “Media,” Booklist, August 2022