Hideo Yokoyama, 1957-

Book - 2018

Seventeen years after an air disaster of unprecedented scale occured near his newspaper office, reporter Kazumasa Yuuki makes good on a promise he made during that supercharged week and solves a mystery.

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MYSTERY/Yokoyama Hideo
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Suspense fiction
Psychological fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2018.
Main Author
Hideo Yokoyama, 1957- (author)
Other Authors
Louise Heal Kawai (translator)
First American edition
Item Description
"Originally published in Japanese in 2003 by Bungeishunju Ltd., Tokyo, as Kuraimāzu hai (Climber's High)"
Physical Description
xii, 352 pages ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Be careful about recommending this one. It is not much of a thriller, despite its genre classification. But it is does offer an intriguing look at an international media phenomenon: the long goodbye of the daily newspaper. Here the paper in its death throes is in Japan, but the weary lament of one staffer will sound very familiar to Western readers: The paper is on its last legs. We've all become the playthings of the executives, and the rot has set in. The thriller angle is introduced when a jumbo jet slams into a nearby mountain, killing all 520 aboard, and an investigation is launched. But Yokoyama spends little time reporting on the reporters' struggle to bring in this monumental story. Instead, the focus is mainly on the in-fighting at the paper, as staffers attempt to position themselves for the end. The lengthy office arguments will ring true to anyone who has endured bureaucratic staff meetings: Is the crash site really inside the newspaper's coverage area? Is an apology from the airline owner an ad in disguise, therefore unpublishable? Doesn't an upcoming big-name concert deserve equal coverage? Readers interested in understanding the waning days of the newspaper business will find much to ponder in this darkly humorous tale, but steer mainstream thriller fans in another direction.--Don Crinklaw Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Based on the author's own experiences as a reporter assigned to cover the crash of a Japanese passenger airliner, this engrossing thriller from Yokoyama (Six Four) focuses on newsroom tensions. By 1985, it has been five years since Kazumasa Yuuki, the most senior journalist at the North Kanto Times, has accepted any duties involving supervising others. He stepped off the regular career path after his chastisement of a junior staffer, Ryota Mochizuki, immediately preceded Mochizuki's death in a traffic accident that was suspected to be a suicide. But Yuuki is thrust back into a position of authority after JAL flight 123 crashes into a mountain, and he's assigned to coordinate his paper's coverage and decide what angles to pursue. His struggle to place informing the public, especially the survivors of the victims, above other concerns leads to job-threatening conflict. Impressively, Yokoyama makes accessible drama out of Yuuki's battles with his colleagues and superiors, and the introduction of an opportunity for personal redemption provides some glimmers of hope in an otherwise depressing tale. Readers will be deeply moved. (Nov.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Japanese mystery novelist Yokoyama (Six Four, 2017) delivers a terse tale of journalism and tragedy.Yokoyama worked as a newspaper reporter for years before leaving to write thrillers, and here he recalls a tale straight from the headlines: the crash, then the world's deadliest, of an airplane on a mountain. As we know from The Eiger Sanction, mountains are places that can bring out noble instincts but are generally scary. Not that that keeps Kazumasa Yuuki from heading there, testing himself against the "treacherously difficult" rock as a climber, watching the memorial lists of would-be alpinists grow. A disaffected reporter-turned-editor, Yuuki takes the lead when Japan Airlines Flight 123 meets that rock, a story that pits him and his team at the provincial North Kanto Times against the airline, its executives desperate to excuse themselves from responsibility, and against the management of the newspaper itself. The former is comparatively easy to overcome as Yuuki's fellow reporters turn up evidence of corner-cutting maintenance. As for the latterwell, the bosses protect their own, as Yuuki learns when, three days into his special reports on the crash, he's told to take the story off the front page in favor of a story about a politician's visit to a local shrine. "The seeds of powerlessness had been planted in his heart," writes Yokoyama, "and they were steadily growing." Yuuki finds himself and his lost resolve in that field of corpses: He rebels, concocting a spy caper-worthy stratagem to get around the bosses. Yokoyama's tale is slow to unfold, and it's less fraught with peril than the usual mystery, but as a roman clef it speaks to his hope, as he writes in the preface, that "the reader will witness both the positive and negative essence of human nature."A pleaser for fans of yarns about and by gumshoes on deadline, from All the President's Men to Michael Connelly's hard-boiled Harry Bosch novels. Maybe not a book to take along on a flight, though. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.