cover image Rendezvous at Kamakura Inn

Rendezvous at Kamakura Inn

Marshall Browne, . . St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne, $23.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-312-31158-2

After setting his acclaimed Inspector Anders series in contemporary Italy and 2003's haunting The Eye of the Abyss in prewar Nazi Germany, Australian author Browne places this thriller in modern-day Japan—alas, with lackluster results. Tokyo inspector Hideo Aoki has suffered a complete breakdown after a series of misfortunes: his investigation of a corrupt politico was suddenly quashed, his father died and his wife committed suicide. Sent to a remote inn to recuperate, Aoki has to contend with an old unsolved case involving the inn's former owner, three grisly murders, a mysterious Go player who may be an assassin, and a chef who may be preparing special dishes from human body parts. Endlessly Aoki wanders the inn's dim hallways, agonizing over what he knows and what he suspects, but taking no action, sort of like an Asian Hamlet but without the poetry. Heavy with exposition, this flat, unengaging novel is hopefully an aberration for this talented writer. Agent, Maria Massie. (Nov.)