First look: Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama


Here’s an innovative approach to an eye-catching early review copy of a crime novel. It looks, in the picture, just like an ordinary compact cassette from back in the 1980s, but in fact it’s a whopping book of 634 pages – the latest Japanese crime fiction to appear in English.

Sideways croppedOriginally released in Japan in 2012, publisher Quercus hopes that Hideo Yokohama’s Six Four will take the English-reading world by storm next year with this translation by Jonathan Lloyd-Davies. The story is about the kidnapping of a child, which devastates the unlucky parents and captures the lurid imaginations of millions of Japanese onlookers. The case is dubbed ‘Six Four’, but is never solved. Then, 14 years on, the press officer who handled the original case notices an anomaly. And thus the nightmare begins all over again…

Presumably, the messages sent by the kidnappers to the parents were recorded on cassette, prompting Quercus’ designers to use this type of imagery on the cover. On the back of the book, written out like the track listing of a cassette, are the key themes of the story within – child kidnapped, child murdered, foiled authorities, regret, the impossible truth, and so on (see below). Perhaps not quite as clever as the concept itself.

Here at Crime Fiction Lover, we have a job to do, and that is to read what Six Four is all about, and report back to you on whether or not the book justifies the clever advanced publicity. Watch for our full review in due course, and if you like the sound of it you can get the book from 3 March 2016 at £8.49 for Kindle and £14.88 as a hardback. Pre-order your copy here.

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