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Book Review: Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

Minotaur Books
Published Feb. 2, 2017
416 Pages

“Newly reinstated to the Homicide Division and transferred to a precinct in Tokyo, Inspector Iwata is facing superiors who don’t want him there and is assigned a recalcitrant partner, Noriko Sakai, who’d rather work with anyone else. After the previous detective working the case killed himself, Iwata and Sakai are assigned to investigate the slaughter of an entire family, a brutal murder with no clear motive or killer. At the crime scene, they find puzzling ritualistic details. Black smudges. A strange incense smell and a symbol–a large black sun. Iwata doesn’t know what the symbol means but he knows what the killer means by it: I am here. I am not finished.”- Goodreads

I really enjoyed this book and I say that surprisingly because crime novels are not really my thing. I picked up this book because of the title but I decided to read this book because of the summary. As mentioned I did enjoy this book. Iwata is a broken man trying to handle a devastating lost while also trying to solve a murder no one seems to really care about. I like Iwata because he was human. He wasn’t one of those characters that was too manly or felt that he couldn’t let go of his emotions. Granted he made sure no one seen it but he didn’t exactly let it build up either. However despite this there wasn’t a whole heap of personality that made me cling to him and I believe a lot of that had something to do with what he went through in his past and what he is currently going through with his career. So I don’t have a real issue with this but it is something to point out.

But those other characters? Sakai is a butt and for a majority of the book I didn’t like her nor did I really like her relationship with Iwata. It was confusing and at times it felt like the author was forcing it but then thinking about it Iwata was trying to find some form of normalcy sooooo….. hmmmm yeah. But any way, I didn’t Sakai but the author was able to explain why the way she was, although I think Sakai could have made some better decisions.

What threw me off with this book was how detailed it was. When I say that it threw me off, I mean it in a good way and in a not so good way. Firstly, I’ve been to Japan and specifically to the areas mentioned in this book and through this book I saw Japan. I saw the narrow streets with the parking lots. I saw the hole in the wall restaurants, shoot I smelt the smoke within this book. I really really loved that about this read. However, at the same time, this made for a very long book that took a few let me put down for a little bit and then get back to it.

There was also this lack of urgency that the book was missing. It really didn’t show until the end but it still didn’t feel as if this needed to be solved yesterday. The case is the focus of the book but the author was able to stretch it out by adding a “side” story that explains things about Iwata. If you are not paying attention, you can get confused and then that it is part of the main story but it isn’t in a way.

Despite this Blue Light Yokohama is a recommended tbr book. There were surprises and twists that the author was able to hide literally until the very end and a lot of that has something to do with the massive details and the side story. I loved what the author was able to get out of Japan for this book. I loved the conclusion because it makes me want more and it makes me wonder if Iwata can actually have a happy ending or even a life.

Overall, the biggest issue for me was how long it was drawn out but I am super glad I finished this book and I highly recommend it.

3. 5 Pickles