cover image Soul Cage

Soul Cage

Tetsuya Honda, trans. from the Japanese by Giles Murray. Minotaur, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-06158-4

The discovery of a severed hand inside a sealed plastic bag in an illegally parked minivan propels Honda’s excellent second mystery featuring Lt. Reiko Himekawa of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police’s homicide unit (after 2016’s The Silent Dead). The vehicle was reported missing, by 20-year-old Kosuke Mishima, from a garage rented by his employer, Kenichi Takaoka of Takaoka Construction. A large pool of blood was on the garage floor. Mishima notified the authorities only after he was unable to reach his boss by phone. When the DNA from the hand and the pool of blood match, the police proceed on the theory that Takaoka was murdered. Though Mishima’s new girlfriend, whom he met about a month earlier, provides him with an alibi, Reiko is intrigued to learn of an unusual coincidence: both Mishima’s and his girlfriend’s fathers died in construction accidents. Honda heightens suspense by leaving the reader to wonder how that revelation connects with the novel’s cryptic prologue; the ultimate answer to this clever blend of procedural and whodunit doesn’t disappoint. (July)