One of the many beautiful surprises, that showed up in my mailbox this year. Tetsuya Honda is a bestselling author in Japan and his series about Reiko Himekawa (this is the book Soul Cage) is about the life and work of a female Homicide Detective. Originally, I wasn´t sure if I wanted to continue with this series. But when it was in my mailbox and I had it at home, I thought why not give it another try. Well, not sure what to think of it now. There is still plenty of things in the plot that I am not getting warm with and my view of being a woman is totally different from the one, Reiko shows.

Stahlblaue Nacht*
by Tetsuya Honda
Reiko Himekawa Series #2
Translation Irmengard Gabler
Original Title Soul Cage
Publisher Fischer TB on November 23, 2017
Genre Thriller
Pages 432
Format Paperback
Source Publisher

A severed hand, but no body. But a big pool of blood. For Reiko Himekawa and her team, the investigation into the case of the architect Takaoka is extremely difficult. Where is the corpse? When Reiko shows the missing person´s picture to an old friend, it gets even more complicated. Because he claims that the man in the photo is not Takaoka at all. But who is it then? And where is Takaoka? (personal translation ©Vi at Inkvotary) 
Reiko is forced to work together with two men she can´t stand. Both are eager to prove that they are way more capable to solve the case than she is. One of them even tries to convince her that he´s madly in love with Reiko and would do anything to get her in his bed. But Reiko isn´t willing to let one or the other happen. She wants to do her job, wants the respect she believes that she deserves, and does everything in her power to solve a murder she knows by instinct that something is wrong with.

Yes, this is a fictional story, and yes, the humor of the Japanese people seems to be a bit different from the rest of the world. But why on earth is the main figure letting her male colleagues treat her like she´s a sex toy? And why is Reiko doing so tough and thinks all those disgusting things but never calls her team to stop it? She is their boss for crying out loud! Good, there is one scene, where she asks her colleague to stop it, but the insipid aftertaste for the reader was already there.

Tetsuya Honda´s writing style is clear, he shows very openly the Japanese lifestyle and his language is sometimes very blunt and vulgar. Many brutal and very bloody scenes are among the ongoing story and some dialogues are filled with obscene words and show you that it isn´t easy for a female Homicide Detective to work the way Reiko does. And then there is all the information the author gives you. Information that seemed sooooo important to the police but not to the reader itself. Was that as a filler to get more pages into the book or is that normal for Japanese police to investigate? Well, I don´t know. All I know is that for a reader from Europe it read very weird.

Maybe it is me, or the fact that I am grown up in the western hemisphere of this planet. But every time one figure in this book was talking with Reiko as if she´d be a bitch and only there to give her male colleagues a nice view while doing a cruel job, I could have smacked that figure right into his damn smiling face. On the other hand, Reiko seemed to feel a perverse pleasure during those dialogues and scenes. For me, it was as if they were playing in a bad erotic movie.

All in all, I am not getting warm with Reiko and her behavior. She is told to be a tough woman and that she has her very own style while investigating a case. Yes, she has her very own way. But she is also complaining in her head about the lacking respect she gets from other colleagues and that she can´t stand a certain figure but has to work with him to solve the case. During the first book, there was a secret in her private life, one that led to her behavior she shows today towards others. In this second book, Reiko seemed more of a minor character and that was sad.

Phew, now that I am done with this book I am kind of relieved. The open end wasn´t mine though. I have no clue where this will lead or what the author is trying to tell his readers about Reiko and her story when it comes to men or one in particular. Too many open questions and too many confusing things here. But one thing is clear: the case had many unexpected twists and turns, and the final solution was one I didn´t expect at all.

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by Fischer TB in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

*In English published Soul Cage by Macmillan Publishers on July 18, 2017

Tetsuya Honda
Tetsuya Honda ©Tetsuya Honda

Tetsuya Honda is one of Japan´s best-selling authors with the ongoing crime series featuring Reiko Himekawa, a Homicide Detective with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. The series has sold roughly 4 million copies in Japan and is the basis for two TV mini-series, a TV special, and a major theatrical motion picture. So far there are four books in this series. Honda lives in Tokyo.


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