The Devil's Whisper Hardcover – 8 Aug 2007
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"Whether it is the loneliness and bitterness of the real and online relationships of Shadow Family, the credit-card fraud and identity theft in All She Was Worth, or the crimes and characters of her extensive backlist, Miyabe's intricate plots are painted on the canvas of contemporary Japan and played out by the kind of people milling about on the streets below." --The Financial Times
About the Author
Miyuki Miyabe is a best-selling Japanese author and the recipient of numerous literary awards, including Japan's top award for popular literature, the Naoki Prize.
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Top Customer Reviews
The whole novel is rather less stylish however; probably just as well as it would be emotionally exhausting to endure that level of ramped-up angst for the whole book. The story rapidly develops to encompass an unlucky taxi driver who happened to be at the wheel when one of the women did for herself; his nephew – the son of a disgraced official now, orphaned bullied at school; two shadowy figures who attempt to influence the boy as he tries to untangle what’s happened, and the final potential victim, a frightened young woman who is both in hiding and concealing shabby secrets of her own.
The orphan takes on the role of investigator and gradually assembles the clues to understand why these women were targeted and who is responsible for their deaths. At the same time, he makes discoveries about his own past which change his perception of his parents, and lead him to make a life-and-death decision of his own.
Neatly translated into easy-flowing English, this is an entertaining who/howdunnit, laced with plenty of intriguing Japanese urban culture. It’s set in the late 1980s so pre-dates the Net, mobile phones and the like, but manages to incorporate some sinister technological developments in the sub-plots.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Miyabe has a fascination with the paranormal, and this appears in many of her early works, including this one. For people expecting a genre-typical mystery or detective story in the vein of "All She Was Worth", this book might stretch the limits of the reader's ability to suspend belief just a little. In Japanese fiction all the way from the Tale of Genji to the works of Haruki Murakami, the line between the ordinary and the extraordinary tends to be blurred more than in Western works, so this is not necessarily a unique aspect from that perspective. Still, the reliance on the paranormal in this book may not appeal to all readers, so be warned that this is a slightly genre-bending work. As is often the case in Miyabe's works, the journey tends to be a little better than the destination, although this book's climax is a unique one that extends beyond the formal "solution" to the mystery. As is also common with Miyabe, this book delves a little into social commentary, as becomes apparent as the book's mysteries unravel. I will reveal no more so as to not give anything away!
Miyabe's works are always fun and engaging, and The Devil's Whisper is no exception. Not Miyabe's best, but still an entertaining read despite being a little rough around the edges. If you like Miyabe's other works, this book should not disappoint. If you are new to Miyabe, you might start with another book such as All She Was Worth which is arguably her best-known (and highest quality) work translated into English.
By the way, there are quite a few plot twists that lead to a breath-taking climax.
It's not just a story about a murder, but a web of intrigue surrounding a murder, a missing father, and the honor of a cab-driving family man.
Bottom line: a fine read. Not quite the caliber of the works from Natsuo Kirino, but certainly Miyuki Miyabe is an author American readers should get to know.