01 Dec / Three Assassins by Kotaro Isaka, translated by Sam Malissa [in Booklist]
Kotaro Isaka has written dozens of award-winning, internationally bestselling novels and story collections. This, his third Anglophoned title, is notably narrated by versatile actor Adam Sims, who earnestly embodies former math teacher Suzuki, transformed by the senseless murder of his beloved wife. Her killer remains virtually untouchable because his father controls a powerful criminal organization.
Suzuki’s revenge obsession leads him to infiltrate the organization, but just as his loyalty is being tested, the killer is viciously mowed down in traffic. Suzuki is tasked with finding the killer’s killer, setting in motion a labyrinthine chase involving the titular three assassins.
Oddly enough, while Sims is effortlessly fluid with Japanese names and places, he repeatedly stumbles over the common German word “Fräulein,” the organization’s name, eliding the umlaut that makes for “froy-,” not “frow-.” Small misstep aside, Sims sustains an impressive range: efficient high-up handler Hiyoko, composed suicide-inducer Whale (and his many ghosts), chatty assassin Cicada, impatiently manipulative Iwanishi, unperturbed Asagao, and shyly playful Kojiro.
Libraries might note that the 2022 Brad Pitt-led film adaptation of Isaka’s Bullet Train will fuel demand for additional Isaka mysteries.
Published: 2004 (Japan), 2022 (United States)