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Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

“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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Weird title, interesting story

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.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Dark, Disturbing...true.

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Sharon
  • United States
  • 07-28-13

FANTASTIC!!!

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • R
  • POLLOCK PINES, CA, United States
  • 06-28-13

I was Engaged Throughout!

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • RMace
  • San Antonio, TX
  • 06-19-13

An engrossing read.

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Far too slow

Would you try another book from Richard Lloyd Parry and/or Simon Vance?

Probably not from this author, but Simon Vance is as good as always.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Something upbeat.

What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His accent is appealing and he always does a good job as narrator.

Did People Who Eat Darkness inspire you to do anything?

No.

Any additional comments?

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.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • LL
  • 05-04-14

Powerful!

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Facinating Study of Another Culture

Would you listen to People Who Eat Darkness again? Why?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of People Who Eat Darkness?

The blood money.

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

Loved Simon's read.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Who are the people who eat darkness?

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Needs abridged

Way too much detail. I really struggled to finish this book. It took me about a week listening to it every day. I just kept getting lost in all of the detail. I never did understand the title.

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  • Story

Pretty gripping but hard time with narrator

If you could sum up People Who Eat Darkness in three words, what would they be?

Strange and fascinating

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

He pronounces the Japanese words like Giada DeLaurentiis says Parmigiano Reggiano. It's getting quite annoying

Would you listen to another book narrated by Simon Vance?

No

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Dark times in Tokyo

Any additional comments?

No