KIMURA by Robert Davis


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A slight debut that begins with a promising situation--the 1970 reopening of a 1943 murder conviction against a railroaded nisei, Tanizani Kimura--then dwindles into catch-the-loony silliness. L.A. cop Harry Edwards at first resists his dad's attempts to interest him in investigating the old Kimura file; then dad, who originally defended his amiable gardener/neighbor (the murder was of a Japanese woman) and helped hide him from authorities eager to send him to the internment camp, dies in a suspicious car accident. Also, Kimura's niece Patti has new evidence--an old novel detailing the crime with more facts than the police possess--that proves compelling. Abetted by his ex-wife, a librarian, and humored by his younger brother John, a lawyer, Harry discovers that the killer is still loose and still killing Japanese women. Focusing on Kimura's old neighbors, Harry soon inadvertently leads two women to their deaths; discovers his dad's affair with the first victim; has flash memories of his crazy mom's death by (self-started?.) tire; and seems to incriminate himself when witnesses identify his voice on a tape of several of the serial-killer possibilities. Meanwhile, peace-activist Patti is in imminent danger, and the finale pits Harry, anti-Vietnam demonstrators, and the killer against one another at a S.F. rally, with the murderer immolating himself a la protesting monks of the era. The 40's and 70's emotional ambiances are nicely conceived and handled, but the crazy-since-childhood motive undercuts the plot. Still, there's some imagination working here, and a second effort may be worthwhile.

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 1989
Publisher: Walker