Friday, July 02, 2010

The Sleeping Dragon, by Miyuki Miyabe

(hb; 1991, 2010; translated by Deborah Stuhr Iwabuchi)

From the inside flap:

"A fierce typhoon strikes Tokyo one night, flooding city streets. Someone removes a manhole cover, and a little boy out searching for his pet goes missing and is believed drowned in the sewers. Is it murder?

"These events throw together a struggling journalist named Kosaka with two young men who may or may not have psychic powers. Forming an unlikely alliance, the three dig into the boy's disappearance. However, as a series of inexplicable events unfold, Kosaka wonders if his new young acquaintances haven't snared in him in some kind of strange con game.

"Then the journalist's former fiancée disappears. Known to be still harboring strong feelings for his now-married old girlfriend, Kosaka becomes the main suspect in the case.

"With his reputation and his personal life threatening to crumble altogether, Kosaka is forced to wrestle not only with life-threatening events but also his rising doubts about the two young men who have so suddenly appeared in his life."

Review:

The Sleeping Dragon is a character-veracious, at times sublime, offbeat and plot-twisty work that's hard to put down.

The tightly-penned pace lacks laggage, though Miyabe tips her plot hand early a few times and some of the characters are motive-transparent (but that could also be my cynicism showing through).

Despite the above minor nits, The Sleeping Dragon is a mostly masterful, character-intriguing read that's worth owning.

Either way, Miyabe is an author to read, just avoid Shadow Family (unless you're a completist).

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