Summary and book reviews of Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

Blue Light Yokohama

by Nicolas Obregon

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Mar 2017, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Gary Presley

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About this Book

Book Summary

Haunted by his own past, his inability to sleep, and a song, 'Blue Light Yokohama,' Iwata is at the center of a compelling, brilliantly moody, layered novel sure to be one of the most talked about debuts in 2017.

A compelling, brilliantly moody, layered debut.

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 suspect. 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 can hear it whispering to him: I am here. I am not finished.

As Iwata investigates, it becomes clear that these murders by the Black Sun Killer are not the first, nor the last attached to that symbol. As he tries to track down the history of black sun symbol, puzzle out the motive for the crime, and connect this to other murders, Iwata finds himself racing another clock - the superiors who are trying to have him removed for good.

CHAPTER 1
BOXES

IWATA WOKE FROM A FALLING dream again. Drenched in sweat, struggling for breath, he went to the window. The Tokyo cityscape stretched out below him, cities within cities, angles incalculable. Thirty-five million existences crammed into circadian rhythms of concrete and cables. Immense infrastructure, never-ending networks—all of it delicate as hummingbird heartbeats.

The lights of the city are so pretty.

Iwata crossed his sparse apartment to the kitchenette and poured himself a glass of water. He saw the large cardboard boxes stacked in the corner and looked away. Wrapping himself in a blanket, he sat down by his stereo system and put on headphones. He closed his eyes as the opening notes of Schubert's Impromptu in G flat major, op.90, no.3 filled his disquiet and the nightmare dissolved in the music.

Gray morning haze had seeped through the blinds by the time Iwata had made up his mind to leave. He drank coffee in silence, showered rigorously, and dressed in ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

These multiple threads – what's a police procedural without corruption polluting the scene? – and flashes of backstory weave together seamlessly. The narrative keeps the reader guessing, and eager to turn the page. There's plenty of excitement and more than one puzzle. And as the story approaches its conclusion, it grows in complexity, illustrated by the detective chief lamenting that Iwata came to town only to "un-solve one case, discredit another, and shut down half the city." The conflict, internal and external, is entirely believable, no fantasy or exaggerations that lead to wild guesses or "Oh, no! That could never happen!"   (Reviewed by Gary Presley).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. While the complex mystery itself will keep readers turning pages, the book's real strength is Iwata, a compellingly tormented lead, whose demons don't prevent him from doggedly pursuing the truth.

Library Journal

Starred Review. This gritty story, in what will hopefully become a new series, has roots in American noir yet fully embraces its Japanese setting, establishing Obregón as a fresh, up-and-coming voice in crime fiction.

Kirkus Reviews

Given the terrific chemistry between the two lead detectives, here's hoping this debut novel kicks off a new series.

The Guardian (UK)

With a labyrinthine plot and a likable protagonist, Blue Light Yokohama is a strong beginning to what promises to be an excellent series.

The Sunday Express (UK)

Excellent...This slow-burning but gripping book is based on an unsolved real-life case, but the central crime is only one of many mysteries of Japanese life the book explores, wisely avoiding the temptation to provide neat answers

Author Blurb Julia Heaberlin, author of Black-Eyed Susans
A twisty, highly entertaining thriller that pulls us into the heart of an unconventional hero as he fights corruption in the gritty, glittering world of Tokyo.

Author Blurb Benjamin Wood, author of The Ecleptic and Bellwether Revivals
Obregón is a bright, sophisticated new voice in crime fiction: his writing sings at you, reverberates, makes you consider more than just the urgent clamour of his novel's well-hewn murder plot. In Inspector Iwata, he has created a quiet, troubled hero whom readers will be sure to follow from one disturbing, atmospheric story to the next.

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Beyond the Book

The Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow BridgeThe Rainbow Bridge spanning Tokyo Bay plays a fundamental role in Blue Light Yokohama. It becomes almost a character, as if the 800 meters (2,625 feet) spanning Tokyo's Shibaura Pier to Odaiba's waterfront is a metaphor for crossing the chasm between good (the enforcement of the law) and evil (murder).

But the double-deck Rainbow Bridge is as real as the steel used in its construction in 1993 by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Kawasaki's roots can be traced back to 1878, when Shozo Kawasaki established Kawasaki Tsukiji Shipyard in Tokyo.

In a suspension bridge towers provide lift points for the roadway, spanning whatever chasm must be crossed. Cables hang from the towers, supporting the roadway. Historians suggest the ...

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