First-rate adult melodrama about the globalization of entertainment and communications networks, not to mention intellectual and spiritual maturity in high finance. Attorney Peter Saxon, representing an American communications conglomerate, flies to Tokyo to seduce Kuribayashi Electronics into a merger. A trillion-dollar return awaits the dominant company that gets the world rewired for HDTV, the biggest event in communications since color television, and Peter wants Kuribayashi to help with the revamping of communications necessary to build up HDTV. As it happens, his business quest turns out to involve certain spiritual issues about the nature of time, obligations, and duties that are just as important as the huge bundles of credit involved. The night before Peter arrives, the man with whom he is supposed to open discussions is murdered with a samurai sword. Kuribayashi, it seems, has ties with the Yakuza, who themselves have moral obligations. The novel's title stems from an incident during Peter's youth. Some 30 years ago, he and his closest buddy, Tommy Cochran, were US fighter pilots stationed in Tokyo, from which they bombed and strafed Vietnam. Out one night with two beautiful Japanese women, they were attacked by an anti-American mob. Peter was deeply attracted to Lilli (not her real name) and is convinced she is now the wife of one the Japanese businessmen attached to Kuribayashi Electronics. His pursuit of her leads to castrated genitals being nailed to his hotel room door, a girl's murder, an attack in a Zen temple, and so on. Tommy has become a Zen monk and assists Peter as his spiritual authority in dealing with Japanese industry giants who do not have the same business motivation as Peter's company. Lucky readers who first discover Setlowe here (The Black Sea, 1991, etc.) will delight in knowing that some thrillers can be great fun and for grownups at the same time.
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