The Devil's Whisper

( 1 )

Overview


Three deaths come in quick succession: one girl jumps from the roof of a six-story building; another falls in front of a train; and a third is hit by a late-night taxi. But how are they related? And are they accidents, suicides -- or murder?

Slowly, the answers are uncovered by sixteen-year-old Mamoru, the nephew of the taxi driver currently being held by the police on charges of manslaughter for the death of the third victim.

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Overview


Three deaths come in quick succession: one girl jumps from the roof of a six-story building; another falls in front of a train; and a third is hit by a late-night taxi. But how are they related? And are they accidents, suicides -- or murder?

Slowly, the answers are uncovered by sixteen-year-old Mamoru, the nephew of the taxi driver currently being held by the police on charges of manslaughter for the death of the third victim.

Determined to help his uncle, Mamoru discovers that the girl killed by his uncle's taxi had participated in a devious scam to separate vulnerable men from their money, and that three of the four girls involved in the plot are now dead. When a powerful businessman reveals new evidence that could free Mamoru's uncle, Mamoru decides he must go all out if he is to save the last of the four girls being targeted by the real killer.

And then the killer contacts him...

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Miyabe's forte is suspense. . . .[the] fascination of the story lies in its acute observations of the way masochistic shame and guilt play into the social conformity so inhibiting to the Japanese identity." --The New York Times Book Review

"The Devil's Whisper is laden with brilliant plot twists throughout and explores culturally transcendent themes like betrayal, forgiveness and revenge. Mystery fans looking for something a little exotic should check it out." --The Chicago Tribune

"Miyabe excels at creating a supernatural feeling in a prosaic urban setting... Both horror fans and mystery fans will savor this spooky mystery and want to seek out Miyabe's other work." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A good selection for mystery collections." --Library Journal

"The Devil's Whisper is clever and compelling, with twists and turns aplenty to keep the pages turning." --Jeff Abbott, author of Collision and Trust Me

Marilyn Stasio
Miyabe's forte is suspense, and here it's built around the strange behavior of young women being driven to suicide. But the peculiar fascination of the story lies in its acute observations of the way masochistic shame and guilt play into the social conformity so inhibiting to the Japanese identity.
—The New York Times
Art Taylor
…the novel consistently surprises us along the way. Each mystery solved reveals yet another mystery to be explored, and each layer peeled away deepens the moral complexity, ultimately leaving Mamoru with some heavy choices—each path wrong, each path right, and no answer easy, right up to the final page.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Miyabe (All She Was Worth), Japan's bestselling mystery author, should garner new fans in the U.S. with this eerie tale that recalls some classic Japanese horror films. Mamoru Kusaka, a sensitive and intelligent teen, is troubled by the loss of his parents. Twelve years after his father disappeared following a municipal financial scandal, his mother has died of a stroke. As Mamoru tries to start a new life with relatives in Tokyo, his uncle, taxi driver Taizo Asano, is arrested after running over a young woman. While working to exonerate Taizo, Mamoru stumbles upon evidence that the victim may have been fleeing the person responsible for two other recent strange deaths that were officially classed as suicides. Miyabe excels at creating a supernatural feeling in a prosaic urban setting, and Mamoru is an engaging and original amateur sleuth. Both horror fans and mystery fans will savor this spooky mystery and want to seek out Miyabe's other work. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Award-winning Miyabe (Crossfire; All She Was Worth) presents a mystery told through the voice of a 16-year-old boy. After his mother's death, Mamoru Kusaka moves to Tokyo with his aunt and uncle. Tragedy strikes again when Mamoru's uncle kills a woman when she runs in front of his taxi cab while fleeing a deadly pursuer. While his uncle is held in jail under investigation, Mamoru tries to clear his name. He returns to the crime scene, tracks down clues, and researches at his job at a bookstore. He finds the victim was part of a cruel scam involving four other women. Two of the women have already died mysteriously. Drawing closer to the last surviving woman and the killer, Mamoru must face his past and stop the dying. Miyabe's suspenseful tale touches on the occult and the manipulation of desperate men seeking revenge. A good selection for mystery collections.
—Ron Samul

Kirkus Reviews
A killer with a foolproof means of murder ticks victims methodically off his Tokyo hit list as a high-school student races to save the last target. Bride-to-be Fumie Kato leaps from her apartment roof. Wage-slave Atsuko Mita throws herself under an oncoming subway train. University student Yoko Sugano runs in front of a taxicab at a deserted late-night intersection. That would be the end of the story, but the cabdriver's nephew, Mamoru Kusaka, is certain his uncle wasn't lying when he said that he had a green light. Hungry for more facts about the fatality, Mamoru picks the lock on Yoko's door-a skill he acquired after his father ran off under suspicion of embezzling 50 million yen from his municipal office-and finds evidence that soon links Yoko's apparent suicide to the others. Defensive about his family history and picked on at school, Mamoru is a most unlikely sleuth. And the unknown antagonist who phones him to express admiration for his efforts and announce the futility of continuing them seems unstoppable. (One demonstration of his powers, duly predicted and fulfilled, is especially unnerving.) But Mamoru presses on with his do-it-yourself investigation and soon learns that the answers he seeks only raise more disturbing questions about duty, vengeance and family loyalty. Miyabi's fourth English translation (Crossfire, 2006, etc.) is a boldly imagined howdunit and a penetrating look at the problems of establishing and maintaining an identity in modern Japan.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9784770031174
  • Publisher: Kodansha International
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Pages: 264
  • Lexile: 710L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Best-selling author MIYUKI MIYABE has written more than 40 novels, including three previous works in English translation published by Kodansha International All She Was Worth, Shadow Family, and Crossfire and the forthcoming hardcover, Sleeping Dragon (April 2010). Among her many awards is Japan's top honor for popular literature, the Naoki Prize. Her books have been translated into over 15 languages. She is also the author of the young adult novel Brave Story, which won the Association for Library Service for Children's Batchelder Award.

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