Tokyo Nights by Jim Douglas

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Tokyo Nights by Jim Douglas

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Category: Crime
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Megan Kenny
Reviewed by Megan Kenny
Summary: Two men, one an ethereal violent thug, the other a washed up and burned out gumshoe pursue each other in a dizzying dash through the streets of Tokyo and the mountains of Hokkaido. Both men are fleeing their past and destroying any possibility of a future, one bad decision at a time. Tokyo Nights is a gripping, taut thriller with a heart, a mediation on modern life and alienation and a biting, loving ode to Japan.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 342 Date: November 2016
Publisher: Fledgling Press
ISBN: 978-1905916191

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Colin McCann, private detective, chronic smoker and dog lover, is charged with unravelling the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the young and beautiful daughter of a wealthy businessman. The key facts of this case apparently hinge on the testimony of Charlie Davis, a ne'er do well dreamer with quick fists and a poet's heart. The only problem is that Charlie Davis has disappeared and appears to be unwilling to disclose his part in these tragic events. After some deliciously violent digging, McCann jets off to Tokyo and here is where the fun really begins…

What Douglas has achieved in Tokyo Nights is to use the instant alienation felt by McCann upon entering Tokyo as a perfect metaphor for the feeling of growing unrest typical in this modern age. This juxtaposition between old and new, technology and tradition is perhaps never more apparent than in Japan, particularly Tokyo with its culture of wealth and excess vying for space with its tea houses and temples. McCann, as a total outsider experiences this profound otherness as a burden and struggles to orientate himself both in terms of geography and culture.

Thrown into this dizzying clash of cultures, food, sounds and smells is an ethereal and thuggish Davis who has fully embraced his life in Japan. Instantly distrustful of McCann, a cat and mouse battle of wits ensues with the reader never being clear about who is pursuing whom. This deadly pursuit continues against a backdrop of drink, drugs and karaoke and it isn't long until McCann and Davis find themselves privy to an event most would rather keep hidden. The game then rapidly shifts to a race against the clock to outrun the yakuza, the police and their own misdeeds. I won't give away the ending; all I will say is that it is hauntingly, beautifully and heartbreakingly sad. The kind of ending that stays with you and makes you question the nature of life, the choices we make and the often humbling indifference of fate.

If you'd like to read another Tokyo based thriller why not try Tokyo Year Zero by David Peace, a taut and gripping hunt for a serial killer in post-WW2 Japan? For those who may like to know more about Japanese culture give Japan Through The Looking Glass by Alan Macfarlane or Beauty and Chaos: Slices and Morsels of Tokyo Life by Michael Pronko a go.

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Buy Tokyo Nights by Jim Douglas at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tokyo Nights by Jim Douglas at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Tokyo Nights by Jim Douglas at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tokyo Nights by Jim Douglas at


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