cover image Lady Joker, Vol. 2

Lady Joker, Vol. 2

Kaoru Takamura, trans. from the Japanese by Marie Iida and Allison Markin Powell. Soho Crime, $28.95 (600p) ISBN 978-1-64129-029-6

Set in 1995 Japan, Takamura’s satisfying conclusion to 2021’s Lady Joker, Vol. 1, picks up where the previous book ended with the Hinode Beer corporation, suspected of having allowed unhealthy working conditions for its employees for decades, receiving a threatening message from the shadowy criminal gang calling itself Lady Joker. The group asks that a ransom of ¥600 million be prepared and the demand kept secret from the police to avoid harm to an unnamed hostage. The police, who have been alerted by Hinode’s leadership, desperately try to identify who the members of Lady Joker are and what they’re up to, given that no hostage is known to exist. The extortion scheme is just one piece of the puzzle, which includes tampering with Hinode’s product so that the beer appears tinged with blood and possible stock manipulations. Admirers of intricate crime fiction, which both engages the intellect and offers insights into the hidden parts of a society, will hope for further translations of this gifted author’s work. Agent: Chigusa Ogino, Tuttle-Mori (Japan). (Oct.)