cover image A Man

A Man

Keiichiro Hirano, trans. from the Japanese by Eli K. P. William. Amazon Crossing, $24.95 (302p) ISBN 978-1-54-200688-0

Hirano’s English-language debut, a shape-shifting psychological thriller, begins with the death of Daisuké Taniguchi, a forester crushed by a cryptomeria tree. After Daisuké’s wife, Rié, tells Daisuké’s estranged brother the news, Rié discovers that the man she was married to was not Daisuké, but someone using the real Daisuké’s identity. The story follows Akira Kido, a divorce attorney with a failing marriage, as she investigates the identity of the dead man and slowly becomes obsessed with the case—and with the real Daisuké. Kido interviews a bartender who makes mouthwatering vodka gimlets, a con man who believes people can live to be 300 years old, and a former pro boxer who, once upon a time, had been bullied. As back-alley gritty and entertaining as a Raymond Chandler novel, the book asks what it means to be “you,” and suggests that the answer means nothing at all. Hirano’s stylish, suspenseful noir should earn him a stateside audience. (June)