cover image Lonely Hearts Killer

Lonely Hearts Killer

Tomoyuki Hoshino, . . PM Press, $15.95 (203pp) ISBN 978-1-60486-084-9

Something feels lost in translation in Hoshino’s parable-like tale of intrigue set in a conformist island nation that bears a striking resemblance to Japan. After the popular young emperor dies and is replaced by his less-than-competent sister, two alienated young men post online a personal/political manifesto and participate in a murder-suicide that sparks wave after wave of copycat murder-suicides. Narration is then assumed by Iroha, a young woman who was connected to both men and is now hidden away at a mountain retreat because she fears for her life and wants to avoid the public scorn stemming from her relationship with originators of the murder-suicide trend. Unfortunately, the prose is achingly dull, and the narrative’s lack of focus prevents readers from connecting. Clearly, there’s supposed to be symbolic and satirical significance, but the lack of clarity—both in the writing and the concept—is deadly. (Mar.)