Unknown Male by Nicolas Obregon

After a gap of ten years, Kosuke Iwata has returned to Tokyo to investigate the murder of a young British student, Skye Mackintosh. The Olympic Games are about to begin, the eyes of the world are on Tokyo, and the Japanese authorities have to be seen to do everything by the book. DC Anthea Lynch from the Met has been sent over with Skye’s family to assist as she speaks some Japanese. Like Iwata, she has a disregard for authority but is also an excellent detective.

There is a parallel storyline about the disappearance of sex workers; there does not appear to be any connection between the two cases. The story mostly focuses on Iwata, interspersed with the thoughts of Mr Sato – an ‘invisible’ man in a suit, with a horrific secret.   

I have read all of Nicolas Obregon’s books featuring Kosuke Iwata (Blue Light Yokohama and Sins as Scarlet) and this is his best yet – a gripping thriller with just the right mix of description, action and dialogue. Even though Nicolas Obregon is not a native of Japan, his poetic descriptions of the neon-lit streets of Tokyo, and insights into Japanese culture, make Unknown Male a wonderful example of Japanese noir. It remains to be seen whether this is the last book to feature Kosuke Iwata, but I hope we catch up with him again one day. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a copy to review.