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Six Four is a hard book to review. One, because I was so eager to read it after the synopsis that I was surprised to find that it wasn’t the story at all and two because while it wasn’t that story the story it actually was, was pretty interesting. So the synopsis says, “For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter’s kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again. For the fourteen years that followed, the Japanese public listened to the police’s apologies. They would never forget the botched investigation that became known as ‘Six Four’. They would never forgive the authorities their failure. For one week in late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case. He could never imagine what he would uncover. He would never have looked if he’d known what he would find.

But the synopsis should actually say, “When Mikami, a detective newly assigned to media relations, a department he despises and the whole police force is suspicious of, discovers that there is something underhand happening in regards to the Six Four case, a botched kidnapping case of a 7 year old girl, he tries his best to find out what it was. But his problems with the press and inter department politics make this more difficult than he thought, especially since his own daughter is missing. Soon he realises that Media Relations is more shunned than he originally expected and doors are shut in his face everywhere. Will he find out the truth about this botched case, find his daughter and be able to keep the press under control?”

This follows Mikami, a detective who’s been shunted sideways into Media Relations, a department he knows the entire force distrusts because of their closeness to the press. So he is determined to show that he isn’t close to them so he can win back the department’s trust and get his old job back in the upcoming reshuffle. But to his dismay this only riles up the press further and makes him look incompetent in front of the eyes of the superiors he so desperately wants to impress. To add to his woes his daughter is missing, presumably she’s run away from home. But a couple of blank calls to their unlisted landline number make both parents believe that she is alive, thought she may be close to doing something they can’t bear to talk about.

The story opens up with Mikami and his wife Minako driving to a distant police station to identify a body that is around the same age as his daughter. And you immediately get sucked into their sorrow. Both the relief and the distress that it isn’t their daughter, glad that she isn’t dead but not knowing what’s happening to her. It kills them and through the pages it reaches out and affects you as well. I assumed that the story would continue with the search for his daughter and that is where he would ucover something about the Six Four case and solve it. But that’s not what happens, the two are completely different tangents and are almost completely unconnected.

This book is completely about police procedurals and politics. It isn’t about a missing girl. On the interesting side it offers you an insight into just how uncaring and inhumane the police are. No one seems to care that Mikami’s daughter is missing, they only care that he does his work and no one seems to care that there’s a secret undercurrent that’s killing the department. They only care that everyone does what they are expected to do so the headquarters at Tokyo is happy. Unfortunately it doesn’t work and Mikami is left to take three times the load, of figuring out Six Four, handling the press and taking the loss of his daughter.

If this second synopsis sounds interesting to you, please grab this book. It will really appeal to people who like documentary style films of how government offices and departments work. I do enjoy police procedurals so this was an interesting read for me and the twist at the end was so unexpected that I was surprised! On the other hand if you want a thriller that’ll have you biting your nails throughout, skip this.

Buy on Amazon India, Book Depository, Wordery or Flipkart.


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For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter’s kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again.
For the fourteen years that followed, the Japanese public listened to the police’s apologies. They would never forget the botched investigation that became known as ‘Six Four’. They would never forgive the authorities their failure.
For one week in late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case. He could never imagine what he would uncover. He would never have looked if he’d known what he would find.


*I requested a review copy and was very kindly sent one by the publisher, but opinions expressed are my own.

I have a giveaway on my Instagram story for this book. It’s only up for 24 hours so check it out now. India Only. 

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