東京サッカーパンチ (扶桑社ミステリー) 文庫 – 2003/4
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アメリカ人記者ビリー・チャカは、取材のために来日し、なじみの渋谷の居酒屋にいた。と、ぞこへ、男たちに追われる、美しい芸者が飛びこんできた！ 姿を消した彼女を探すビリーに、親友の映画監督・佐藤が焼死するという大事件が発生。ふたつの謎はもつれあいながら、ヤクザ・大企業・政治結社・宗教集団がうごめくニッポンの闇の世界へとビリーを導いていく――「レイモンド・チャンドラー×ジャッキー・チェン」とアメリカで絶賛！ カルトな人気ばかりでなく、ハードボイルド・ファンからも高い評価を得た傑作です。
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Isaac Adamson's debut novel is a flashy, funny mystery with plenty of gruesome murders, solid one-liners and fast-paced battles over a strange supernatural geisha. One of the storylines isn't quite handled to satisfaction, but the overall book (which will be made into a Toby Maguire movie) is wonderfully fun and strange.
Billy Chaka is waiting for his friend, cult director Sato Migusho, in a little Tokyo bar. But instead he stumbles across a mystery geisha who is being pursued by some nasty men, and when he arrives at Sato's personal hideaway, he finds that it's gone up in smoke -- and Sato is dead. Since he's "hardwired for geisha," Chaka decides to go find the woman.
But his obsession with the geisha Orange Blossom leads him into dangerous territory. Suddenly Billy finds that he's involved with a secret religious order AND the yakuza, a mysterious chauffeur, and that Sato's death may be a murder. Now he's only got a limited time to find Orange Blossom, before she vanishes for a very long time.
"Tokyo Suckerpunch" is sort of a pop-infused noir, where the cities are glitzy rather than grimy, and our cynical hero doesn't take anything very seriously. In fact, Isaac Adamson seems to be enjoying the slightly over-the-top, colourful array of characters and bizarre situations. Really, an Ewok love motel?
Adamson writes in a rapid, tongue-in-cheek manner, full of funny observations about the Japanese way of life, but which are more affectionate than mocking. And the plot spills into various echelons of Japanese society, from the yakuza to a special-needs martial-arts tournament. Billy even mugs a teenage gang so he can use a motorcycle.
The plot is a pretty basic murder mystery, bur Adamson weaves in these quirky moments that make the whole thing seem like a thriller that isn't taking itself seriously. There's a bustup at a cowboy sex club, a gay samurai musical, and the worst script ever written -- about Billy Chaka himself, where he's seriously described as a "fuming tough guy" who beats up ninjas daily.
What's the book's big weakness? Oddly enough, its driving force -- the mystery geisha. It starts off promisingly, but once Adamson reveals who and what she is, and why the religious cult is after her, the plot just loses steam. It simply doesn't fit very well with the flashy grit of the murder storyline.
But Chaka himself is a delicious character -- he's wry, sharp-witted, and more than a little weird. He loves Japan, adores a girl who hates Japan, and isn't sure how to reconcile these loves. He's also surrounded by a variety of similarly odd characters -- a mystery chauffeur, a crazy yakuza with a samurai dog, a bartender with marital problems, and a guy called "Brando."
"Tokyo Suckerpunch" has a streak of surrealism that doesn't work with the murder mystery, but it's still a fun, bizarre trip through a flashier version of Tokyo. Definitely an amusing novel.
It's the adventure of Billy Chaka, an American journalist working for Cleveland's best-selling Asian American zine. Covering a handicapped Olympics in Tokyo he finds himself thrown into a wild adventure involving beloved geisha girls, the yakuza, and other characters culled from the Japanese underworld.
There's plenty of action, as Billy usually resorts to fits of martial arts in many situations. And there's a lot of humor derived from Chaka's observations on Japan and the Japanese and especially on geisha girls, with whom he is obsessed. Also a bit of un-PC humor which is refreshing.
This is something a little bit different and a very playful novel. I'd recommend it as a quick and fun read. I'm sure Adamson has more Chaka adventures in the works. His writing is, for the most part, smooth and confident.