cover image Crossfire


Miyuki Miyabe, , trans. from the Japanese by Deborah Stuhr Iwabuchi and Anna Husson Isozaki. . Kodansha, $24.95 (404pp) ISBN 978-4-7700-2993-5

This provocative paranormal police procedural from the prolific Miyabe, like her two previous crime novels translated into English (All She Was Worth and Shadow Family ), examines the dark side of Japanese society. The complex story is seen through the eyes of two very different women: Junko Aoki, who's afflicted/blessed with pyrokinesis, the ability to start fires through willpower, which she uses to avenge unsolved crimes, and Sgt. Chikako Ishizu of the Tokyo police department's arson squad, a pragmatic skeptic. Chikako and her partner gradually piece together a series of baffling cases in which suspected criminals, cars and even buildings are inexplicably incinerated. Their investigation leads to those with supernatural powers, including a troubled young girl, as well as to an underground citizens' organization of justice seekers. Despite uneven pacing and some unlikely coincidences, this startling genre mix keeps the reader turning the pages right up to the breathtaking climax. (Mar.)