Hideo Yokoyama: Six Four
A Japanese crime phenomenon that is truly like no other.
It took the author a decade to write, during which time he suffered a heart attack, and then memory problems saw him unable to recall even the name of his main character.
And as time passed, he decided to then re-write what he’d put on the page, and he was still amending it up to its publishing point.
Six Four came out in 2012 and was a massive success in Japan. Fans of the genre can now find out why.
If you’re looking for a fast-paced crime thriller with action a plenty, you’ll be disappointed.
Six Four is immersed in the culture of Japan and hangs heavy with protocol. It also comes with an almighty twist, but you need to get through several hundred pages before it hits you.
But it’s worth it.
The plot centres on a bungled bid to nail a kidnapper some 14 years earlier.
Failure to find the abductor,or the girl, sparks endless apologies. Fast forward all those years and a former detective turned press officer for his force spots an anomaly just as news breaks of a new kidnapping.
What he tries to uncover lies at the heart of this plot which is rich in detail about the hierarchy of the force, its intense relationship with the media, and the implications of losing face for anyone in authority.
It’s often a dry read, but the story is fascinating.
In Jo Nesbo’s hands, for example, the body count would be piled high and the adrenalin would flow off every page.
In Yokoyama’s hands, it is measured, carefully plotted, and the end result is just as intriguing.