Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Return to Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven.
1995, Japan struggles with a severe economic crisis. Fate brings a number of people together in Hiroshima in a confrontation with dramatic consequences. Xavier Douterloigne, the son of a Belgian diplomat, returns to the city, where he spent his youth, to come to terms with the death of his sister. Inspector Takeda finds a deformed baby lying dead at the foot of the Peace Monument, a reminder of Hiroshima’s war history. A Yakuza-lord, rumored to be the incarnation of the Japanese demon Rokurobei, mercilessly defends his criminal empire against his daughter Mitsuko, whom he considers insane. And the punk author Reizo, obsessed by the ultra-nationalistic ideals of his literary idol Mishima, recoils at nothing to write the novel that will “overturn Japan’s foundations”….
Hiroshima’s indelible war-past simmers in the background of this ultra-noir novel. Clandestine experiments conducted by Japanese Secret Service Unit 731 during WWII become unveiled and leave a sinister stain on the reputation of the imperial family and the Japanese society as a whole.
You can watch the book trailer here.
It’s the first time I’ve read Noir Fiction and have discovered the genre isn’t really for me. However, I don’t believe it’s a reflection on the author or the story. This is a well written, complex story that is told from a number of different points of view. The story certainly had me gripped throughout and although I found it a bit of struggle to read, I knew I had to get to the end to see what happened.
The characters are all very dark, mainly with terrible backgrounds and there is also a lot of violence, gore and sexual references.
One of the things I did really enjoy were the historical references, although a very tragic and sad act in history, it did get me googling to find out more about the parts that I was unsure of.
If you’re a fan of noir fiction then I would imagine that this would be for you. As I say well written, and an interesting gripping storyline so definitely worth you checking it out.
about the author….
A fulltime Belgian/Flemish author, Laerhoven published more than 35 books in Holland and Belgium. Some of his literary work is published in French, English, German, Slovenian, Italian, Polish, and Russian.Three time finalist of the Hercule Poirot Prize for Best Mystery Novel of the Year with the novels “Djinn”, “The Finger of God,” and “Return to Hiroshima”; Winner of the Hercule Poirot Prize for “Baudelaire’s Revenge,” which also won the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category “mystery/suspense”.
His collection of short stories “Dangerous Obsessions,” first published by The Anaphora Literary Press in the USA in 2015, was hailed as “best short story collection of 2015” by the San Diego Book Review. The collection is translated in Italian, (Brazilian) Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish. “Retour à Hiroshima”, the French translation of “Return to Hiroshima,” is recently finished. In 2018, The Anaphora Literary Press published “Heart Fever”, a second collection of short stories. Heart Fever, written in English by the author, is a finalist in the Silver Falchion 2018 Award in the category “short stories collections”. Laerhoven is the only non-American finalist of the Awards.
Where can I buy this book….
Win 2 x Return to Hiroshima Paperbacks ~ Enter here.
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Don’t forget to check out the other fab bloggers on this tour:
Thank you to Rachel at Rachels’ Random Resources and to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review. All views are my own. I am not affiliated with any links in this post in any way.