A fast-paced thriller from the author of Bullet Train. It’s worth noting that although this English translation by Sam Malissa is new, the original Japanese book predates Bullet Train. I have to admit I wasn’t as keen on it.
As suggested by the title, the story follows three assassins. Suzuki is the reluctant one, an ex-teacher out to avenge his wife’s death. Maybe he isn’t an assassin at all. The Whale is haunted by the ghosts of those he has forced to commit suicide and continuously re-reads Crime and Punishment. Cicada is fond of chatting and knives. They all want to find another assassin, known as The Pusher. As their timelines begin to intersect, you wonder who will survive and whether Suzuki gets his revenge.
There was too much bloody violence and I found the plot confusing sometimes. I didn’t always know which character was speaking in the dialogue scenes. I liked the distinctiveness of the personalities and the descriptions of settings in and around Tokyo, but generally I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I’d anticipated.
Thank you to the publisher Harvill Secker for an advance copy via NetGalley. The book will be published on 14th April.
Originally published as Gurasuhoppā (Grasshopper) in 2004. A film adaptation was released in Japan in 2015.