This could be defined a book about cryptocurrency, or rather, a fiction book on cryptocurrrency. While illegal digital currency exchanges are the leading thread of this mystery novel, the author unravels the dark side of Tokyo elite, with all of its perverse industries and the related depravity, where a crime is never a surprise, but an unexpected rule!
I am discussing about Tokyo Traffic, the Book3 of the acclaimed mystery series by Michael Pronko. And this is my review about this gripping and unconventional novel. Let’s start from a few clues about the plot.
The story is set in the multiethnic city of Tokyo, where aspiring entrepreneurs are more and more involved in borderline businesses that aim only to make money.
Yes, money, but what t a type of money? That is not the usual currency, but crypto currency, namely a digital currency exchanged only through online platforms that are impossible to be tracked. This digital currency is used for an awful human traffic where underage girls are kidnapped and brought to Tokyo by boat.
The girls are drugged to be turned into porn actresses under the lascivious gaze of the so called bystanders. These are wealthy and powerful persons who pay producers and movie directors to attend the shooting… The younger the girls are, the more they pay… But, one day, this profitable mechanism breaks and a brutal murder takes place… One of the victims is an underage girl!
It is in this stage that readers will be involved in the investigation of Japanese detective Hiroshi Shimizu. The detective is very attentive and never forgets details. He has been trained in the United States and speaks English. It has, hence, the flair of a Western policeman, such as a modern Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes.
Truth to tell, this Japanese hero reminds me a popular Italian detective. I mean Inspector Montalbano. The latter moves in a dark scenery made of lies and depravity, where respectable persons are never such. In Tokyo Traffic, Hiroshi Shimizu is just the hero called to unmask the evil disguised as respectability.
The novel splits in alternate chapters, where readers will meet another gripping character: Thai girl Sukanya. She escaped her captors and holds a PC that can be pivotal to discover the shocking reason of the crimes occurred in the Tokyo porn studio.
I know well the writing style of the author of this new Japanese mystery. It is an American professor who lives and teaches in Tokyo. I already reviewed the book1 The Last Train and the book3 has the same unmistakable style. It is perfectly written in English and pushes readers to think about the dark sides of global economy and modern world.
Here, Tokyo is described in all of its beauty and ugliness, where the sparkling world of music clubs, internet cafes and teen hangouts are tainted by a dismaying traffic of young people.
In the story, teen girls are like consumer goods, where they count less than money, because the latter is more important and often funded by politicians, with the complicity of the law makers! Tokyo Traffic explores human trafficking, cryptocurrency and porn crimes without ever fall into morbid descriptions.
Indeed, the novel is not an erotic mystery. It is a literary work with a well arranged background, where the borders between good and evil are perfectly outlined and never granted!
It is a must read book, one of a few excellent novels against the international traffic of teenagers. The work is, in short, a strong call to save many innocent girls from the awful grip of sexual trafficking.