cover image Man with No Name

Man with No Name

Laird Barron. JournalStone, $9.95 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-1-942712-86-2

Barron (The Croning) demonstrates his prowess in combining disparate narrative threads into one captivating, complex tale. Nanashi, a member of the Yakuza, has deliberately shrouded his own past, resting his fate on precarious ties with the Heron clan. He and his clan brothers are called to operate a covert mission: kidnapping the famed wrestler Muzaki, who’s under the protection of the Dragon clan, and using him as leverage in a dispute between the clans. When the Heron clan’s plans go awry, Nanashi is plunged into a maze of deception, and all is not quite what it seems. Barron’s beautiful language is intentionally murky, capturing the mysterious, and at times frightening, quality of Japan’s gang underworld. Nanashi is a classic flawed lead character, with enough personality to keep the story from straying into clichéd territory. Even at its short length, this thriller has plenty of exciting twists and turns. (Mar.)