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The murder of American computer employee Kathy Johnson on a Tokyo street corner sparks a far-reaching inquiry involving Japanese, American, Soviet, and free-lance investigators, each with their own agenda. The American and Japanese principals--burned-out CIA man Robert Ludlow and Yankee-hating Inspector Tetsuo Mori, whose father killed himself rather than surrender to the Americans in 1945--naturally disagree about everything, from whether Kathy Johnson was really an American counterspy gathering information on Japanese industrial espionage (or pinching the technological secrets of a new supercomputer) to whether Mori, Sr., was actually executed in the aftermath of a bungled attempt to whitewash the emperor. It takes common enemies to bring them together, and pseudonymous first-author Meigs delivers more than enough for the job: double-dealing Colonel Yuki of Japanese intelligence; Erika, the attractive woman Yuki sics on Mori to isolate him from his wife, Mitsuko; and a large, well-equipped Russian contingent--headlined by a blond killer named Kovalenko--who have designs on that supercomputer themselves. The plot is designed as the thinking man's Blade Runner; but despite some subdued initial scenes showing Ludlow and Mori clashing over the trajectory of bullets into Johnson's body or the significance of the fibers discovered in the wounds (American-made, or just designed to implicate Americans?), it isn't long before nationals of every stripe are off and shooting in preparation for the obligatory American/samurai accord at the close. Gorged with zoo's-eye details of Tokyo culture, larded with deceptions within deceptions (as each new theory of Johnson's death implicates a wider, more powerful cast of international powerbrokers)--but, beneath it all, mainly a story of two guys buddying up while they take turns shooting guns out of their assailants' hands.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1992
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Viking