The Tattoo Murder Case by Akimitsu Takagi

Friday, May 1, 2009

Teaser: Set in Post WWII Tokyo, this novel gives us an inside look at one of Japan's most fascinating underground cultures--the intricate and genius art of the yakuza-style Japanese tattoo and the people who lend their bodies as canvases.
One such canvas is found mutilated along with the torso of the unfortunate victim. Kenzo Matsushita, a medical prodigy and newer member to the police force, is stuck with the most challenging puzzle he has ever faced. There's no shortage of possible suspects, motives, or secrets. Was the victim murdered for the tattoo or just made to look that way?
Short Thought: Gritty, tense, wonderful, and I can't wait to read it again.
Expanded Thoughts: Wow, this novel was written back in 1947, but it reads like a contemporary masterpiece with a 'film-noir' vibe.
I have read a lot of mysteries, but never any quite like this one. It had me hooked from the murder discovery on.
The setting was probably the most interesting to me. (Because of my educational background.) It was amazing to me to see just how western everything seemed not too long after the Pacific War. There was a 'East v. West' (or perhaps, 'Old Japan' v. 'New Japan') contrast throughout that made the novel into something more than just the characters or the murder.
I honestly can't say enough good points about it. In fact, I'm putting it back on my reading queue tonight.
Recommended Especially For: Fans of Crime Drama (CSI, Law & Order, etc.), Fans of Japanese Culture or Tattoo Culture, Historical Mystery Buffs
Additional Notes: This novel is a little gritty. It contains a mild amount of gore and descriptions of violence.

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