Prefecture D Four novellas

Hideo Yokoyama, 1957-

Book - 2020

"A collection of tense thrillers, each centered on a mystery and the unfortunate officer tasked with solving it, set in the world of Hideo Yokoyama's bestselling Six Four"--

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Detective and mystery fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
New York : MCD x FSG Originals / Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2020.
Main Author
Hideo Yokoyama, 1957- (author)
Other Authors
Jonathan Lloyd-Davies (translator)
First American edition
Item Description
Originally published in Japanese in 1998 by Bungeishunju Ltd., Tokyo, as Kage no Kisetsu.
Physical Description
274 pages ; 19 cm
  • Season of shadows
  • Cry of the earth
  • Black lines
  • Briefcase.
Review by Booklist Review

This collection of four novellas follows Seventeen (2018) and Yokoyama's award-winning international best-seller Six Four (2016), and the author somehow manages to pack each approximately 80-page story with the same amount of intensity as his epic-scale fiction. Japan's work culture is so intense that a new word was invented to describe its perils: karoshi , which translates as "death by overwork." Yokoyama's detectives are consistently eaten alive by the internal politics of the National Police Agency and its labyrinthine bureaucracy. An ever-present fear of failure and losing face leads them to obsessive behaviors, often resulting in serious health issues and the sacrifice of family well-being. The stories take place in 1998, and involve different detectives investigating, respectively, the refusal of a highly placed official to step down, a station chief accused of involvement with a mama-san in the red-light district, a star female officer who has gone missing, and a wronged politician hell-bent on revenge. Relentless in their portrayal of karoshi at work, the stories can seem overwhelming, but they offer an intriguing look into Japanese police procedure and are certain to interest devoted readers of international crime fiction.

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

The four novellas in Yokoyama's disappointing collection, set in 1998 in the same fictional universe as his kidnap thriller, Six Four, all focus on members of the Japanese police. In "Season of Shadows," the administrative branch of the Prefecture D police headquarters is in a tizzy after Michio Osakabe, a respected senior officer who once headed criminal investigations, announces that he's going back on his plans to resign; his change of heart now jeopardizes a chain of anticipated personnel moves. Shinji Futawatari, who works in administration, is tasked with finding out why. The logical answer fails to compel, and a reliance on coincidence vitiates the emotional impact. The three other entries include the search for a missing female officer and a desperate attempt to find out what "bombshell" a politician intends to make public. None of the characters are memorable, and the answers to the questions driving them are largely anticlimactic. Yokoyama won't win any new fans with this one. (Oct.)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Linked novellas from the dean of Japanese noir. Yokoyama knows his way around a police station, as these linked novellas, reminiscent of Janwillem van de Wetering's Amsterdam Cops series, suggest. Yet a Japanese police station is a place that's thoroughly politicized and bureaucratic. A constant presence in each of the stories is a personnel director named Shinji Futawatari, whom everyone fears because he has unusually broad powers to reassign people to different jobs, elevating some and demoting others. "Fortunately," writes Yokoyama, "it was a particular strength of Personnel to nurture posts that were both impenetrable and obscure, enabling transfers that were recognizable from the inside as punitive yet justifiable to the outside as existing to 'strengthen Department X or Y.' " Futawatari's life is made miserable by a 42-year veteran detective who refuses to be shuffled from his post for reasons that, a detective ventures, have something to do with "all that other shit." The veteran cop, who could teach Bartleby the Scrivener a thing or two, won't talk about it or consider a transfer, leaving Futawatari frustrated and powerless. In the next story, Futawatari--who'd been named a superintendent at the age of 40 and is nicknamed the "ace," not for his skills but as "a reference to the trump card he held"--is a peripheral player in a cat-and-mouse game in which an anonymous cop is blackmailing a senior officer. The same threat plays in the fourth story, with a politician threatening to expose another top cop, sending the prefecture scrambling to dig up dirt. When Masaki Tsuge, who works in the Prefectural Police Headquarters, pleads on his boss's behalf, the politico answers, smugly, "If you're this good at kowtowing, you might want to consider running for election." The story that precedes it is the most elusive, in which a promising woman sergeant in a deeply sexist enterprise--as Yokoyama writes, "Questions of gender aside, she was exactly the type of officer the force needed"--simply disappears from her station one day. There's more politics than mayhem here, but fans of hard-boiled fiction will enjoy seeing how Japanese cop shops work. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.