Tokyo Suckerpunch: A Billy Chaka Adventure

Isaac Adamson, Author Harper Paperbacks $13.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-380-81291-2
This pop romp through the Tokyo of martial arts, yakuza and legendary geishas has more sly smarts than a Hong Kong gangster shoot-'em-up. First-time novelist Adamson hooks the reader with fast action, clever dialogue and all-over atmosphere, while complicating the plot mightily and implausibly. Billy Chaka is a popular columnist for the Cleveland mag Youth in Asia. He's come to Tokyo to cover the 19 and Under Handicapped International Martial Arts Championship. While Chaka is waiting in a bar for the arrival of his old friend filmmaker Sato Migusho, an apparently drunken woman enters and rushes for the ladies' room. Immediately recognizing her as a geisha in disguise, on the lam from disgruntled clients, ChakaDwho has a weakness for geishasDhelps her escape and handles the tough guys with some dandy kickboxing moves. After Chaka learns that Sato has died in a seemingly accidental fire at his secret luxury hideout, the Garden of Earthly Delights, he ducks his reporterly duties and sets out to find the geisha. While on this quest, underwritten by a yakuza leader named Kwaidan and an unnamed religious cult, Chaka keeps stumbling over imponderables in the Sato case, including the news that Sato was about to film an unauthorized version of Chaka's own life, entitled Tokyo Suckerpunch. This novel is all speed and no depth, but that's forgivable in a narration that detours around such marvelous (and doubtful) Japanese pop esoterica as current fashions in Japanese motorcycle gangs and the tape-recorded politesse of Japanese vending machines. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/2000
Release date: 11/01/2000
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