Lucie Blackman - tall, blond, 21 years old - stepped out into the vastness of Tokyo in the summer of 2000 and disappeared. The following winter, her dismembered remains were found buried in a seaside cave. The seven months in between had seen a massive search for the missing girl involving Japanese policemen, British private detectives, and Lucie’s desperate but bitterly divided parents. Had Lucie been abducted by a religious cult or snatched by human traffickers? Who was the mysterious man she had gone to meet? And what did her work as a hostess in the notorious Roppongi district of Tokyo really involve?
Richard Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, followed the case from the beginning. Over the course of a decade, as the rest of the world forgot but the trial dragged on, he traveled to four continents to interview those connected with the story, assiduously followed the court proceedings, and won unique access to the Japanese detectives who investigated the case. Ultimately he earned the respect of the victim’s family and delved deep into the mind and background of the man accused of the crime - Joji Obara, described by the judge as “unprecedented and extremely evil.” The result is a book at once thrilling and revelatory.
Richard Lloyd Parry is the Asia editor and Tokyo bureau chief of the London Times and the author of In the Time of Madness.
©2011, 2012 Richard Lloyd Parry (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“A masterpiece of writing this surely is, but it is more than that - it is a committed, compassionate, courageous act of journalism that changes the way we think. Everyone who has ever loved someone and held that life dear should read this stunning book, and shiver.” (Chris Cleave, number one New York Times best-selling author of Little Bee)
“I opened this book as a skeptic. I am not a lover of true crime…. But Richard Lloyd Parry's remarkable examination of [this] crime, what it revealed about Japanese society and how it unsettled conventional notions of bereavement, elevates his book above the genre. People Who Eat Darkness is a searing exploration of evil and trauma and how both ultimately elude understanding or resolution.… Just as the grief of Blackman’s parents is unassaugeable, Obara and his motives are unknowable. That is the darkness at the heart of this book, one Lloyd Parry conveys with extraordinary effect and emotion.… People Who Eat Darkness is a fascinating mediation that does not pretend to offer pat answers to obscene mysteries.” (New York Times Book Review)
“[A] masterful literary true crime story, which earns its comparisons to Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and Norman Mailer's The Executioner’s Song.… Like the case of Etan Patz, the Lucie Blackman disappearance captured the public imagination. By writing about it in such culturally informed detail, Parry subtly encourages an understanding that goes past the headlines. It is a dark, unforgettable ride.” (Los Angeles Times)
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.
This book started well --- interesting story, excellent writing, compelling mystery -- and it made me really want to find out what happened. But after a few hours it seemed to get mired in so many details that it lost the larger thread of the story for me. Eventually I just gave up. I'm guessing there was more substance to all the narrative details than what I took with me, and all the details in the middle probably had a storytelling purpose. But the end result for me was a feeling of too much setup and not enough payoff.
OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!
Of the almost 1,500 audiobooks that I've listened to, this is the Top 100.
No one in particular. The victim was rather naive and, for me, it was difficult to dredge up any sympathy for her. This is a TRUE story so there are no "characters", per se. Only many people caught up in a bloody incomprehensible nightmare.
Simon Vance is a master. I often buy books about subjects which don't interest me if Simon Vance is the narrator. He could make the active ingredients in Mr. Clean interesting.
"So You Thought Only Fugu Sushi Could Kill You In Japan" or "Pretty Young Blond Things, Please Stay Home"! 😃
I was pleasantly surprised and very disturbed by this story. Japan, with its long history of culture and civilization, never struck me as a country that would have a diabolical sadist serial killer. I hung onto every word. It is a true thriller.
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.
Say something about yourself!
There is something to be said about a real life mystery. Something that a Fictional story just cannot convey. The author does a tremendous job with the information he gathers being so close to the story. Even when being 'part' of the story, he doesn't inject himself to the point of being subjective. Not knowing about this incident at, all I'm sure, contributed to my liking it this much. But it it a well written book that anyone who enjoys mysteries would enjoy. worth the credit.
I live in NYC,am happily married & have always loved reading.
Yes.This book had me in suspense from the start, given that the main character seemingly ran to Tokyo like most ppl walk out to get some air, not an ounce of caution.
How the main character despite how uncomfortable the surroundings were, took the hostess job.There were red flags all over doing that.
When they got Obara into the court room.
Culture driven sickness
It's amazing how some ppl reason away the overall strange behavior of this country's people.Different doesn't always mean sick, yet where these ppl are concerned if one looks at how they are when in contact with them in general, warning bells would go off whereas to be politically correct it is always said of different cultures, "That's just their way."This is one place I would never visit.
well written tale of creepy sleazy people... and a murderer.
interesting enough, but doesn't offer a very sympathetic view of the greedy, attention desperate, druggie drunks that put their dignity at risk by "hostessing" in japan. or their sleazy crazy families...
i had pity for the seemingly weakest character, the dead girls sister who seems to be the only one with any sense...poor girl.
it was well edited and paced accordingly. there was a ridiculous character tangent (Mike) that amounted to nothing and it was a good 45 minute excursion into idiocy.
the book was tawdry...but well written...kind of made the poor family look really petty, and stupid.
This true story will chill parents of girls and remind us that there are predators who look for naive young people to prey upon. Simon Vance's narration was excellent. Non-fiction audio at its best.
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.
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.
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