A killer with a foolproof means of murder ticks victims methodically off his Tokyo hit list as a high-school student races to save the last target.
Bride-to-be Fumie Kato leaps from her apartment roof. Wage-slave Atsuko Mita throws herself under an oncoming subway train. University student Yoko Sugano runs in front of a taxicab at a deserted late-night intersection. That would be the end of the story, but the cabdriver’s nephew, Mamoru Kusaka, is certain his uncle wasn’t lying when he said that he had a green light. Hungry for more facts about the fatality, Mamoru picks the lock on Yoko’s door—a skill he acquired after his father ran off under suspicion of embezzling 50 million yen from his municipal office—and finds evidence that soon links Yoko’s apparent suicide to the others. Defensive about his family history and picked on at school, Mamoru is a most unlikely sleuth. And the unknown antagonist who phones him to express admiration for his efforts and announce the futility of continuing them seems unstoppable. (One demonstration of his powers, duly predicted and fulfilled, is especially unnerving.) But Mamoru presses on with his do-it-yourself investigation and soon learns that the answers he seeks only raise more disturbing questions about duty, vengeance and family loyalty.
Miyabi’s fourth English translation (Crossfire, 2006, etc.) is a boldly imagined howdunit and a penetrating look at the problems of establishing and maintaining an identity in modern Japan.