A Kiss of Fire

Masako Togawa, Author Dodd Mead $0 (245p) ISBN 978-0-396-09260-5
Lovers of puzzles-within-puzzles may like Togawa's (The Master Key, The Lady Killer) latest thriller, but it is a tangled story mired in farfetched coincidence. Japanese fireman Ikuo prowls the streets off-duty to catch a successful arsonist. He reproves a drunken woman for leaving cardboard boxes next to her house, and she drives him off with loud insults. Later that night, she dies in a fire. Dead with her is her circus lion, and in the animal's stomach is found Ikuo's I.D. Police detective Ryosaku probes the case, unaware that he and Ikuo were involved, as 5-year-olds, in a fatal fire 26 years before. A third chum from their boyhood, Michitaro, is the son of the original dead man, and he is also the current arsonist. Or is he? And who is Chieko, Ikuo's girlfriend? Why does she also sleep with Ryosaku? Who are the kidnappers of Michitaro? Did Michitaro's mother set the original fire? Did she commit suicide? Peeling this onion might be fun except for the clumsy writing (or perhaps translation). And in the end, the skein of hidden relationships is simply not credible. Paperback rights to Ballantine; major ad/promo. (March)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-345-35580-5
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