Tokyo Suckerpunch finds its hero, star reporter Billy Chaka ("the deadline poet of the bubblegum set""/>

HOKKAIDO POPSICLE

Isaac Adamson, Author . HarperPerennial $12.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-380-81292-9

Adamson's action-packed, rapid-fire follow-up to Tokyo Suckerpunch finds its hero, star reporter Billy Chaka ("the deadline poet of the bubblegum set"), wrapped up in another murder mystery set in noirish, pop culture–crazy Japan. This time, hard-boiled Billy is in trouble with his editor at Cleveland's Youth in Asia magazine for slapping a film producer, and he's sent on mandatory leave to Hokkaido's Hotel Kitty to cool off. As felines slink around Billy's room, the night porter knocks with fresh towels in hand, mumbles something about immortality and then does a nosedive into the carpet, dead. At the same time, the Japanese rock star Yoshimura "Yoshi" Fukuzatsu drops dead of a supposed heroin overdose. Billy's editor suspects foul play and sends him to Tokyo to investigate. Meanwhile, on the cover of an unpublished rock magazine, a photograph of Yoshi reveals a curious bird tattoo on his shoulder, matching a symbol found on the night porter's ID card, which is then tied to a mysterious organization called the Phoenix Society, which dabbles in "cryonic suspension." What follows is a carefully orchestrated, martial arts–fueled amalgam of murder plots and botched drug deals, featuring a shady record company executive, the night porter's coquettish granddaughter and a Swedish stripper with a bad attitude. A whirlwind of implausible but entertaining subplots, Billy Chaka's adventures are as vibrantly hypnotic as the best Japanese anime. Adamson's wild, witty whodunit deftly sends up the genre while providing extreme doses of excitement. (Apr. 16)

Reviewed on: 03/25/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
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