cover image Three Assassins

Three Assassins

Kotaro Isaka, trans. from the Japanese by Sam Malissa. Overlook, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4197-6385-4

Former math teacher Suzuki, the protagonist of this engrossing thriller from Isaka (Bullet Train), has an opportunity for revenge two years after a drunk driver killed his wife. He’s concealed his past to join Fräulein, a company that ostensibly sells beauty products for women. In fact, the firm is a criminal organization, and its CEO, Terahara, is the father of the man who killed Suzuki’s wife. Suzuki hopes his position will enable him to confront the killer, but then his supervisor informs him that he’s under suspicion and can only prove his loyalty to Fräulein by murdering two people. Things get only more complicated when someone pushes Terahara’s son into traffic, where he’s fatally run over. Suzuki’s assigned to track down the culprit. Meanwhile, two other killers are at work: the Whale, who has coerced more than 30 people to kill themselves, and the Cicada, who slaughters a family after its youngest member burns a homeless person to death. Isaka makes what could be an over-the-top narrative work through his depiction of an everyman protagonist in way over his head. Fans of Bullet Train won’t be disappointed. Agent: Yuma Terada, CTB. (Aug.)