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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
This mystery from critically acclaimed Japanese author Natsuo Kirino (after 2005's Edgar Award-nominated Out) revolves around the brutal murder of two Tokyo prostitutes. The unfathomably complex circumstances behind the killings, however, reveals startling insights into the unpleasant underpinnings of Japanese society…
It's been years since prostitutes Yuriko Hirata and Kazue Sato were murdered, but now Yuriko's unnamed older sister, who was also Kazue's classmate, is ready to share the girls' gruesome stories. How could two young women, both students at a prestigious high school, end up as prostitutes in the slums of Tokyo? Kazue was highly intelligent and self-motivated; Yuriko was "terrifyingly beautiful." Could the girls' deaths somehow be linked to Japan's hierarchal, ultra-competitive culture, or was it simply a matter of chance that they crossed paths with a sociopathic Chinese immigrant?
As the translations of more and more acclaimed foreign mystery writers (Sweden's Henning Mankell, Iceland's Arnaldur Indridason, et al.) find voracious audiences in the States, authors like Japan's Sujata Massey, Miyuki Miyabe, and Natsuo Kirino are not only supplying genre fans with exciting new narrative voices, unique themes, and innovative writing styles -- they are also providing invaluable insights into unfamiliar cultures and lifestyles. Kirino's Grotesque is one of those wonderful novels that not only entertains but also educates. Mystery fans with a taste for the exotic will absolutely devour this profoundly moving literary Japanese delicacy. Paul Goat Allen