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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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    688
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    617
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    294
  • 2 Stars
    59
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    32

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    480
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    176
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    32
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    19

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    30
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Thoroughly Researched

The author showcased his extensive research on this case. That means there were a lot of details to get through, which some readers may not appreciate. Still, the book was very well-written and Parry successfully paints an in-depth picture of this tragedy and its ramifications.

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A good and thorough story

The narrator was real good. it was more than just a crime story. I learned a lot about Japanese culture even though I used to live there. the book was very informative.

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Not just a who dunit

I expected a who done it, but this book delivered so much more. Never boring, learned so much about Japanese culture, history of Koreans in that culture and much much more. I become bored easily while listening to some books, but this one held my attention all the way with a great narrator.

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interesting look into Japan's culture

the story was great but at times it felt like the author was talking far too much about himself.

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More than a murder mystery

I'm interested in Japanese culture so picked this book more on that than a murder mystery. Also prefer non fiction, this is a true story. Parts are troubling and a bit graphic but fit well and not exploitive. Insight into Japanese urban society so different from ours. Very good overall but very dark so be warned.

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Intriuging

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

Where many missing/murdered stories end, this one goes far deeper. The author sensitively and comprehensively unpacks multiple perspectives and details embedded in the murder of Lucie Blackman, such as the cultural aspects- she was a foreigner, but so too was her killer, whose family sought to overcome discrimination and thus over-scheduled and over-educated their little boy from the age of three. This case spans many years, the amount of research undertaken had to be quite daunting, yet the author organizes the overwhelming amount of material and makes it thrilling.

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, he's an audie winner and never disappoints.

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Surprisingly good, not as tacky as I was afraid of

What made the experience of listening to People Who Eat Darkness the most enjoyable?

This book exceeded my expectations--it was thorough, meticulous, and consistently avoided racist or orientalist generalizations.

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

The (many) passages about the different con artists who tried to or did take advantage of Lucie Blackman's desperate parents.

Which scene was your favorite?

The parts describing Roppongi nightlife and those contrasting western and Japanese police and legal systems were particularly interesting.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, but it was a good book and I recommend it.

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Overwritten and Obnoxious

"Meandering" doesn't even come close to describing this book. I finished it, but only because it became kind of a personal mission to do so. (I had to take week-long breaks between listens.) I feel like this book could have been 3 hours shorter than it was, and the voice of the reader was like a spike in my ear by the end. In my humble opinion--it was about as bad as a book can get.

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A Gripping, Chilling story expertly told

I couldn't stop listening once I started this audiobook. The story, from how Lucy found herself working as a Hostess in Roppongi to Joji Obara's fantastical defense left me feeling deeply uneasy. A harrowing true crime story I'd recommend to anyone but especially fans of the genre.

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Unbearably Uninteresting

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Nobody.

Would you ever listen to anything by Richard Lloyd Parry again?

Never...ever...ever again.

Would you be willing to try another one of Simon Vance’s performances?

Yes. Simon Vance is one of the reasons I purchased it. I love his reading of the Stieg Larsson books. However, even Simon Vance started to sound bored by chapter two.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment. I did not care about a single character. There was no action.

Any additional comments?

This book was horrible. It would have made a nice long magazine article but as a book it sucked. I did not care about a single person in the book and it just did not get better the longer I listened. I'm sorry I wasted the time listening and will second guess any more recommendations from 99% Invisible...As the author said in chapter 26, "It's been such a long haul, a merciless torture..." DON'T LISTEN TO THIS!