I sat on this review for the book "People Who Eat Darkness" for a few months. I processed whether or not I actually wanted to write a review.
We join the parents of Lucie Blackwood in a hopeless search for their missing girl in the huge city of Tokyo.
This was a compelling read, but not a very nice one. It left me with the desire to wash my hands after having read it, and try to unread portions of this book that left me feeling unclean. For, after all, this book enters the underbelly of Japan in search of a missing girl.
Parry has written a true story, in a way that makes it read like a crime story - one that enters demented minds of people who operate in darkness.
Probably not from this author, but Simon Vance is as good as always.
His accent is appealing and he always does a good job as narrator.
The story starts with Lucy disappearing, and then... nothing happens. Its more than halfway through the book before anything related to her disappearance starts to happen. I was not interested in the detailed back story of Lucy, her family, her boyfriend, her BFF and other people in the story. I also would have preferred if the story were chronological, instead of being told in chunks that go back and forth in time.
I have no idea what the title is about, even after listening to the whole book. It means absolutely nothing in relation to the book,as far as I can tell. But if you ignore the title, it's an interesting story........It looks not only at the Tokyo Hostess Clubs like the one where the dead girl was working, but also at the Tokyo justice system, from the police through the courts.
The true story is simple: a girl goes missing in Japan. Then it gets strange. If it were a novel, no one would believe the twists and turns. I learned so much about Japan and why young girls are drawn there. One of the best true crime books I have ever read.
There are some very mild spoilers below.
This book was interesting mainly for the insights it provided about Japanese culture. For example, who knew that the Japanese police are almost laughably incompetent at solving all but the most routine crimes? Also, the narrator was outstanding -- I felt shivers down my spine every time he pronounced the word, "Roppongi". Seriously, though, he was truly an excellent reader.
The story itself was suspenseful at the beginning, but the actual crime turned out to be far less sinister and less interesting than I thought. Also, the book is much too long, and it drags in places (particularly toward the end).
Two other things I didn't like: The title is bizarre and misleading. I don't recall the author developing any ongoing theme of eating darkness (whatever that might mean), and there was only ONE person involved in the crime. Also, I really didn't like the author's final chapter, where he pontificates on What It All Means. He should have left the reader to draw his or her own conclusions.
To call this a "who dunnit" would be doing this book an extreme disservice. It proves the old adage that "truth is stranger than fiction". It explores a side of Japan of which most are unaware. Masterful presentation by Simon Vance.
I wish that I could give this book 6 stars or change some of the books that I rated 5 stars to 4. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the book; so much that I finished it in 2 days. Simon Vance is one of my absolute favorite narrators. This book is in my top 5 favorite books.
Fact based book which was gripping, sad (because it was true) and a solid story about the dealings of life. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes true fiction (crime or mystery) but a book which allows us to reflect and analyze life.
If you like true crime, you will love this well-written book. The murders occurred in Japan. The author explores the psychology of Japanese culture as well as that of the murderer himself. I recommend this book.
Saving the world, one person at a time, starting with me.
I would listen and will be listening to this story again. It is a great read, besides being a fascinating look inside a culture that is hardly ever exposed to us in the states.
The blood money.
Loved Simon's read.
Who are the people who eat darkness?