cover image Bullet Train

Bullet Train

Kotaro Isaka, trans. from the Japanese by Sam Malissa. Overlook, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-1-419-75633-7

Set on a bullet train traveling from Tokyo to Morioka (and soon to be a movie starring Brad Pitt), this impressive thriller from Japanese author Isaka (Remote Control) races along, like the eponymous train, at a frenetic pace. In the first of multiple story lines, Yuichi Kimura boards the train, armed with a revolver, in search of the person who pushed his six-year-old son, Wataru, off a roof, leaving the child comatose. When Kimura finds his quarry, the sadistic teen Satoshi Oji, Oji manages to incapacitate the grieving parent with a taser. Oji, who makes it clear he planted clues to lead Kimura to his location, ties his victim up and threatens to have Wataru killed if Kimura doesn’t follow his instructions. Kimura’s desperate attempts to save himself and his son alternate with other violent plots, one involving the kidnapping of a crime lord’s son, another a missing suitcase stuffed with cash, and a third a snake. Isaka keeps the suspense high throughout. Fans of intricate action fiction will be enthralled. Agent: Yuma Terada, CTB. (Aug.)