Book - 2017
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"The tense, chilling story of four women haunted by a childhood trauma. When they were children, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko were tricked into separating from their friend Emili by a mysterious stranger. Then the unthinkable occurs: Emili is found murdered hours later. Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko weren't able to accurately describe the stranger's appearance to the police after the Emili's body was discovered. Asako, Emili's mother, curses the surviving girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter's murder."--
Publisher: New York :, Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Company,, 2017.
Edition: First English language edition.
ISBN: 9780316349154
Characteristics: 229 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Gabriel, Philip 1953-


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Lovestoread5 Jun 18, 2018

Great plot line, characters, and setting. Very interesting writing - I haven't read anything like it before. It's a sad thriller that touches on the lives of the girls, and shows how they've been haunted and crippled by a past traumatic event. Good read!

lydia1879 Aug 07, 2017


I was disappointed by this one. I'm not usually a reader of thrillers but there's something about thrillers written by Japanese women that I love. I read Out by Natsuo Kirino this year and it turned out to be one of my favourite books of this year. I read it in February and it's still on track to be my favourite book of this year, so I was super disappointed in this one.

It centres around 4 girls who were witnesses to an awful crime that occurred in a small town. The mother of the victim swears that if these young girls don't find the murder, she'll get revenge or they'll have to do penance.

I really enjoyed it at first, it felt really disturbing and suspenseful but then it just fell flat. Each chapter features one of the girls who was a witness to the crime and I just felt like I didn't get to know the characters well enough. Ordinarily, I'd suggest something to do with the translation perhaps, something got muddied or lost, but I've read quite a few Philip Gabriel books before and had no issues with any of his translating work at all. I've always found his work to have its own touch and I like his work.

The plot points felt cheap and sometimes forced. The links the girls' lives had to the crime almost seemed tangental and in the end, I didn't care about the characters. When it came to the big reveal, I didn't really care about that either.

This felt so promising and I'm so sad that it wasn't. This might be someone else's best book of 2017, but it's not mine.

May 30, 2017

This book had me from the first few sentences and I read it in 2-3 days. Four girls find the body of their dead friend one summer and their lives are forever changed. Especially when the dead girl's mother holds them responsible. Each chapter is told from a different girl's perspective 15 years after the murder, just when the statute of limitations on the crime is about up. We get a peek into these women's lives and how the murder affected them so many years later. A very good read.

fineplan May 19, 2017

Amazing and psychologically twisty, with more than healthy dose of disturbing... But in the right ways.

This is my second Minato novel and I am definitely going to keep an eye out for anything else released in English by her. As you can see from the book summary, it's about four girls who are told they have to find the murderer or atone by the victim's mother. What follows is a bit of a mystery, though it's fairly light, and more of an exploration of how the murder and the threat affect them in their lives as they grow into adults. It's fascinating, for sure.

Apr 07, 2017

Dear SMPL, thank you for listening to my 2 requests!

I use this novel in my classes and only a handful of students don't like. The vast majority of people will like this novel even if it is a mystery thriller. The characters are great and since they have their individual stories, they all have something different to offer. Although 5 is a bit too many stories to handle for one novel, I think it's worth a read.

This novel, to me, is better than her original novel "Confessions," which is considered her prize work. I hope they continue to translate Minato's work, so I have a chance to use it in the future.

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