September 29th, 2020

book collector

Books 50-51

Therapy (Alex Delaware, #18)Therapy by Jonathan Kellerman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was your typical Alex Delaware mystery (though for once Alex doesn't do something foolish and gets himself in trouble). Two people are found dead in a car in a scenic location, a young man, Gavin Quick and his companion, an unknown woman. He was shot simply but she was impaled against the car seat. Milo is looking forward to a plain old fashioned whodunnit but he gets more than he was expecting.

Gavin had a rather sad history. A few years before he had survived a serious car accident that has left him with some level of traumatic brain injury and he's being seen by Dr. Mary Lou Koppel, a popular celebrity psychologist for some of the issues.

However nothing is what it seems. Quick's family has strange secrets and seem more interested in protecting them than finding out who killed Gavin. Who is his companion? A pro? a girlfriend? Even Koppel and the other two psychiatrists in her practice seem to have more secrets than ALex and Milo are expecting.

It was convoluted and interesting. I was entertained.

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People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo--and the Evil That Swallowed Her UpPeople Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo--and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up by Richard Lloyd Parry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoy true crime novels though I am partial to ones that are a bit more lean and mean if you get my meaning. At over 400 pages, it's very clear the author did his research and was determined to jam it ALL in here.

It opens with the victim Lucie Blackman, a young British woman who goes with a friend to Tokyo and ended up working in a hostess club in the Roppongi district of the city where a lot of foreign women work in the various clubs. I do appreciate that Lucie is the first person in the book and we get to know her (as often we spend far more time with the killers and their aberrant deeds) and we also get to know a LOT about what a hostess club is (and isn't, i.e. it's not a brothel) something those outside of Japan might not know about unless they're into anime (and we tend to make hostess clubs far more innocent on the anime convention tour).

I knew that the hostesses drank and talk to the men paying for their time. I knew that going home with them is not done (and isn't expected) but I didn't know about dohans which are dinner dates that the club gets a kick back from and how getting a certain number of them were critical to keeping the job (of which Lucie was in danger of losing which might have played a role in her death).

One day Lucie disappears. Her friend talks to her and know she's going out with some guy but later is told Lucie won't be coming back. She's off on an adventure. IN spite of that, she's eventually reported as missing and to say that the Japanese police are useless in this, is an understatement. There is a nearly criminal lack of interest in the case (and in several others as we see) and the way the Japanese police work is not how it's done in America or the UK (and ditto the courts)

A huge chunk of the book is dedicated to Lucie's parents who are divorced and honestly too much time is spent with them. By the end I felt sorry for Lucie. Tim and Jane, especially Jane, are unlikeable people (and you can rather tell that the journalist writing this, felt some sympathy for Tim even though he knows the man made a lot of mistakes and that he seems to disdain Lucie's mother Jane).

We finally find out Lucie's fate and the villain of the piece which comes with a huge chunk of how ethnic Koreans are treated in Japan (not well at least not post WWII which trickled down to the the killer). I have to admit, learning how the Japanese courts work was eye opening and a little frightening.

It's well written but just a bit overly long.

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