Six Four: A Novel

Six Four: A Novel


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International BestsellerOne of New York Times Book Review's 100 Notable Books of the Year

Winner of the Best Japanese Crime Fiction of the Year Award

An Award-Winning Phenomenon in Its Native Japan and Already a Critically Celebrated Top-Ten Bestseller in the United Kingdom, Hideo Yokoyama’s Six Four is an Unforgettable Novel by a Literary Master at the Top of His Form.

For five days, the parents of a seven-year-old Japanese schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter’s kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. And they would never see their daughter alive again.

Fourteen years later, the mystery remains unsolved. The police department’s press officer—Yoshinobu Mikami, a former detective who was involved in the original case and who is now himself the father of a missing daughter—is forced to revisit the botched investigation. The stigma of the case known as “Six Four” has never faded; the police’s failure remains a profound source of shame and an unending collective responsibility.

Mikami does not aspire to solve the crime. He has worked in the department for his entire career, and while he has his own ambitions and loyalties, he is hoping simply to reach out to the victim’s family and to help finally put the notorious case to rest. But when he spots an anomaly in the files, he uncovers secrets he never could have imagined. He would never have even looked if he’d known what he would find.

“Already a bestseller in Japan and the United Kingdom, this cinematic crime novel suffused with fascinating cultural details follows a police department reinvestigating a chilling kidnapping that stumped them fourteen years earlier.” Entertainment Weekly's The Must List

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250160003
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 02/06/2018
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 196,136
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author


Hideo Yokoyama was born in 1957. He worked for twelve years as an investigative reporter with a regional newspaper north of Tokyo before becoming one of Japan’s most acclaimed fiction writers. His exhaustive and relentless work ethic is known to mirror the intense and obsessive behavior of his characters, and in January 2003 he was hospitalized following a heart attack brought about by working nonstop for seventy-two hours. Six Four is his sixth novel, and his first to be published in English.


Jonathan Lloyd-Davies studied Japanese at the University of Durham and Chinese at Oxford. His translations include Edge by Koji Suzuki, with cotranslator Camellia Nieh; the Psyche Diver trilogy by Baku Yumemakura; Gray Men by Tomotake Ishikawa; and Nan-Core by Mahokaru Numata. His translation of Edge received the Shirley Jackson Award for best novel. Originally from Wales, he now resides in Tokyo.

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Six Four: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
3no7 More than 1 year ago
“Six Four” by Hideo Yokoyama,translated by Jonathan Lloyd-Davies, is a complex and captivating novel. Readers get vivid picture of the people, the events, the politics, and the balancing act that goes on continually in a police department in Japan. It is a universal story of crime, family, conflict, and duty. Yoshinobu Mikami is not thrilled with his move from the Criminal Investigation Division to the press office. There is unrest in the police department and in the press corps, and he is under attack on all sides. This is the chronicle of a man struggling to support his family, manage his personal trauma, and do his job. Readers get to know him well by observing his interactions with others, following his thinking, and uncovering clues when he does. Vivid descriptions put the reader right into the scene. “Outside, the snow had turned to sleet. Three figures stood breathing chalky clouds in the dark of the parking area.” Yokoyama fills every page with everyday life, job stress, political pressure, and moral dilemmas. Every word contributes to the total picture. The characters are multi-faceted and complex; throughout the narrative, they display a sense of pride, history, duty, and honor. There is a convenient cast of characters at the front of the book to help readers keep track of names and jobs. A fourteen-year old kidnapping case, Six Four, is still unsolved. Out of all the cases of kidnapping and murder that had happened since, it was the only one in which the perpetrator was still at large. Were mistakes made? What was a lie and what was truth? The toll this case had taken on everyone leaps from the pages, even after fourteen years. The pace is deliberate but steady at first. When the Six Four case comes to the forefront, clues emerge, issues become clear, and pieces fall into place like rocks emerging from a receding tide. Six Four engulfs everything and everyone. The story gains momentum, proceeds at a breakneck speed, and comes to a frantic, desperate, and shocking end. The name of the case and book come from the year of the crime, Six Four. In Japan, the name of the era changes when the emperor dies. The new era, Heisei, started on January 8 1989, the day after emperor Hirohito died. A man kidnapped and murdered a seven-year-old girl in the sixty-fourth year of Showa, a period that lasted for only a week, and disappeared into Heisei when the body was found. The code name “Six Four” was a pledge that the case did not belong to the first year of Heisei. The police would drag the kidnapper right back into that final year of Showa. “Six Four” is a glimpse into to this culture for the outsider. There are multiple cultural references, descriptions, mannerisms, and national markers. This is not a story that could take place somewhere else with just a few name changes. I highly recommend this book. I was captivated by the characters at the start, and by the end, I was frantically turning pages.
csmmom More than 1 year ago
I was so excited to read this after hearing a few reviews. I decided to listen to it and I think that is the only reason I kept going with it. It was so long. I didn't mind the procedural aspects to this story as that was the majority of the story but it was a bit repetitive and boring. The mystery itself was interesting and I am glad that I read a review that stated that the last 100 pages there is some action because I was tempted to give up. I was disappointed a bit with the unresolved situation but it was ok. An International Bestseller?!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago