cover image Cult X

Cult X

Fuminori Nakamura, trans. from the Japanese by Kalau Almony. Soho Crime, $26.95 (512p) ISBN 978-1-61695-786-5

A man’s search for his missing girlfriend drives this gripping novel from Nakamura (The Boy in the Earth). After Ryoko Tachibina disappears from Toru Narazaki’s life after hinting that she is going to kill herself, he gets a lead on her potential whereabouts from a PI friend, who reports that she was a member of a mysterious religious organization in Tokyo—the kind “people didn’t hear many good things about.” When Toru goes to its headquarters, he’s told that, while Ryoko had been there, she was actually a member of a rival group—a “nameless cult,” labelled simply “X” by Japan’s Public Security Bureau. As Toru continues his quest for the truth about Ryoko’s loyalties, he learns more about X, which proves to pose a threat to the entire country. Though lengthy digressions in the form of transcribed lectures about faith and science demand some patience, and some readers may be uncomfortable with the explicit sex scenes, this noirish thriller will resonate with Ryu Murakami fans. (May)