Dreaming Pachinko

( 1 )

Overview

Tokyo, July 2001: Hard-boiled reporter Billy Chaka is back in the neon metropolis interviewing a has-been pop singer turned pachinko fanatic for Youth in Asia magazine. Looks like an easy assignment until he witnesses a beautiful young woman suffer a seizure in the Lucky Benten pachinko hall. When she is later found dead beneath the expressway, Chaka becomes embroiled in an apparent blackmail plot involving a Ministry of Construction official, a brash nineteen-year-old girl, a shadowy entity known only as "Mr. ...

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Overview

Tokyo, July 2001: Hard-boiled reporter Billy Chaka is back in the neon metropolis interviewing a has-been pop singer turned pachinko fanatic for Youth in Asia magazine. Looks like an easy assignment until he witnesses a beautiful young woman suffer a seizure in the Lucky Benten pachinko hall. When she is later found dead beneath the expressway, Chaka becomes embroiled in an apparent blackmail plot involving a Ministry of Construction official, a brash nineteen-year-old girl, a shadowy entity known only as "Mr. Bojangles," and four silent figures who have a penchant for showing up uninvited inside Chaka's hotel room.

As the bodies pile up and the mystery deepens, Chaka must untangle the lies, obsessions, and seemingly supernatural events that link the dead woman to a forgotten, bloody incident from the desperate closing days of World War II. Spellbinding and hilarious, Dreaming Pachinko will take you on a surreal thrill- ride through the city of the future -- a place where no one can escape the past.

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Editorial Reviews

Christopher Moore
“Isaac Adamson paints an ultra-modern Tokyo that contrasts with its enigmatic history like neon against a dark sky.”
Booklist
“Delightfully weird ... A splendid romp, an offbeat adventure with wacky characters, oddball dialogue, plenty of laughs, and style to spare.”
Publishers Weekly
Like its predecessors, this third Billy Chaka crime novel (after Hokkaido Popsicle) is an exuberant mix of urban noir and anime-style action, salted with cheeky humor. Billy Chaka is an American journalist based in Cleveland who writes for a magazine called Youth in Asia (pun intentional). His new assignment is to travel to Tokyo and interview a has-been rock singer, Gombei Fukagawa, for a "Where Are They Now?" piece. Fukagawa is a pachinko (Japanese pinball) addict, and while Chaka is interviewing him at the Lucky Benten pachinko parlor, a young woman nearby suffers a seizure. Chaka calls for an ambulance and leaves his name, which sets off a series of events that range from mysterious to surreal to deadly. Over the next few days, Chaka is like a ball in a pachinko machine: tossed about Tokyo, in and out of life-threatening situations, constantly on the move and never knowing what will happen next. Miyuki, the girl who suffered the seizure, turns up dead. Her true identity and her relationship to a wealthy businessman, an underground bookseller and other intriguing characters become the focus of the story, which also involves a priceless objet d'art dating back to the American bombings of Tokyo near the end of WWII. Chaka flashes his trademark deadpan, Chandleresque wit ("she was calendar material, the type that made you wish there were 15 months in a year") and suffers a constant barrage of inventive physical injuries at the hands of both friends and enemies. Adamson sticks close to the hybrid formula he has perfected; his fans will find this a familiar but welcome addition to his oeuvre. 3-city author tour. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Reporter Billy Chaka returns for an entertaining third case. How durable the Chandler-Hammett hard-boiled formula. Here, Adamson (Hokkaido Popsicle, 2002, etc.) trots out its elements-a missing daughter, guilty secrets, mean city streets-and comes up with a fresh case. Chaka visits Tokyo to write a "where are they now?" piece on Gombei Fukagawa, who was Lime in the failed duo Lemon Lime. As Fukagawa plays pachinko, a variation of pinball, Chaka is mesmerized by a woman across the hall. The woman abruptly suffers a seizure, and medics cart her off. Later that night, a driver arrives to escort Chaka to the home of a Mr. Nakoda, who claims he's the father of the afflicted woman: Miyuki. His relationship with her was difficult, Nakoda says, and he's now fearful that she may be in danger. Watching the news that night, Chaka sees police pull the lifeless body of a woman from a canal: it's Miyuki. No fool, yet no hard-bitten Spade or Marlow, the flippant and ironic Chaka trails the non sequiturs, dead ends, and deceptions that follow as he uncovers what led to Miyuki's death: he's certain it wasn't suicide. Seldom as tangled as the streets on which it plays out, the ensuing case engages nonetheless. Chaka teams with Miyuki's loopy friend Afuro, who takes him to the "hostess" parlor where Miyuki worked. Miyuki, it turns out, was Nakoda's mistress, not his daughter. And Nakoda, it appears, was linked to something dark that took place at a centuries-old temple that survived the Allied bombings at the end of WWII. Chaka turns to a Professor Kujima, who spins a good yarn about the temple's history, after which Chaka focuses on a statue stolen from the temple-the stuff this diverting daydream is madeof. Noir light: charming, funny, satisfying.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060516239
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/6/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Isaac Adamson was born in Fort Collins, CO, during the Year of the Pig. He plays soccer well, guitar poorly, and is currenly living in Chicago.

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Table of Contents

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2007

    A reviewer

    The man character, Billy Chaka who's a writer for an asian magazine in Cleveland. Chaka has come to Japan to write a story about 1 hit wonder artists and where they were now. He finds his target in a pachinko hall where he spends most of his time and drained his money. During there interview a nearby pachinko machine patron falls to the floor having a seizure, Chaka comes to her aid and waits for the ambuelance to arrive and take her away. Chaka trys to tell his editor that there is no real story to where Gombei(the fallen star)has gone or his going because he lives a dull and boring life after the fateful accident that left his long time lover and partner in music dead. The death of his lover ruined is career and now he sits around and plays pachinko all day, not the type of story Chaka wants to write. Soon after the talk with the his editor, a car was sent to Chaka's hotel and brought him to a man who told Chaka he was Miyuki's father who was the girl from the pachinko hall. That night Chaka saw a girl being pulled out of a river and it was Miyuki and she was dead. Chaka then begins to go around town trying to discover what happand to Miyuki and uses his resources in Japan that mostly include help from some friends. He uncovers a secret about WW2 and a japanese temple that remained unscathed from bombings from America. There was a special idol that was in this temple that allowed it to not be hit by any bombs dropped on Japan. Chaka provides nonstop action while trying to gigure out an interesting mystery over 50 years old!

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