In his second outing, Tokyo p.i. Kazuo Mori (Silent Thunder, 1992) unwittingly takes on some of modern Japan's most powerful constituencies: organized crime, the shadowy figures who move in- country securities markets, and cultists. When asked by a casual friend to investigate the mysterious death of his daughter, Mori gets appreciably more than he bargained for. The trail soon leads him to a quasi-religious sect called Peace Technology, whose charismatic but unstable sansei is known only as Ono. In search of answers, the stubbornly independent detective (who was expelled from a prestigious university 25 years earlier for his radicalism) infiltrates the group. At the same time, Rick Mitchell, an ambitious young Yorkshireman working as a junior analyst in the Tokyo branch of an American brokerage firm, is ordered by his flamboyant boss Terumasa Yazawa to draft an upbeat report on Otaman Corp., a down-at-the-heels trading house that's about to float a megabuck bond issue. Worried, Mitch checks more closely on the uncommunicative company. What he doesn't learn until almost too late is that the fast-fading mini-conglomerate has effectively been taken over by the Yakuza (Dai Nihon's Mafia), which is using it as cover for the manufacture of a designer drug dubbed ``Buddha Kiss.'' Ono is in on the deal as well, using the hallucinogenic downer as a means of keeping his followers in line. Mitch, getting too close to the truth with his independent inquiries, is abducted and spirited to Oshima, an island in the Sagami Sea where Mori is undergoing indoctrination with other Peace Technology recruits. Marked for liquidation, Mori and Mitchell join forces at the eleventh hour to escape the clutches of their captors and liberate the brainwashed cultists. Another engrossing and illuminating thriller from Tasker, an expatriate British securities executive who understands that the world's most homogeneous and obedient society has a rather full measure of outlaws.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 1997

ISBN: 0-385-48552-2

Page Count: 488

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1997

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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