Six Four – Hideo Yokoyama

Trauma turns turgid in Tokyo:

A former detective in Japan’s police force, with problems both at home and at work, finds his obsession with an unsolved case leading him ever closer to a conspiracy.

It’s a hoary old premise, but delivered through the fresh eyes of Japanese crime writer Hideo Yokoyama, who imbues the narrative with intriguing and not altogether flattering insights into his country’s culture and bureaucracy.

Subtlety, on the other hand, is not one of the author’s strengths, and dramatic tension is frequently undermined by pages of boring exposition and a tendency to hammer home every little plot point in a way that leaves nothing to the reader’s imagination.

Bloated potboilers of this sort usually make up for such sloppiness with sensational content, and Six Four does – eventually – deliver with the shocking twists, but at more than 600 pages it takes a frustratingly long time for them to arrive.

This review first appeared in the Yorkshire Post