Bullet Train

Mysterious Book Report No. 459

by John Dwaine McKenna

Just published—and soon to be released as a major motion picture starring bonny Brad Pitt himself—Bullet Train, (Overlook, $28.00, 432 pages, ISBN 978-1-419-75633-7) by Kotaro Isaka, (translated from the Japanese by Sam Malissa), is a high-energy action and drama-filled robbery, kidnapping and murder mystery combined with a venomous snake creep show . . . told from multiple points-of-view by good, bad and ugly characters . . . all of whom are on board one of Japan’s high speed bullet trains, traveling from Tokyo to Marioka.  And just like that opening sentence, the pace will leave you breathless.

The novel begins when a man named Yunichi Kimura boards the train in Tokyo with the intention of killing the person who pushed his six year-old son Wataru, off of a five story building . . . leaving him comatose.

The person Kimura’s looking for is a rich and sadistic teen named Satoshi Oji. But the  evil young genius surprises the grieving father with a stun gun, incapacitates him and ties the older man up with duct tape.  Oji then tells his captive that he’ll have Wataru killed if Kimura—who seems to have a special skill set—doesn’t do his bidding.

As Oji begins tauting Kimura in order to break his spirit and make him easier to manipulate, the focus shifts to a pair of not-too-bright but vicious and deadly thugs named Tangerine and Lemon, who’ve just killed more than a dozen people while rescuing the young son of their crimelord boss.  They’re supposed to bring the boy, and the suitcase filled with cash for his ransom, back home.  But they have problems.  Huge problems.  Life and death type trouble.

As the narrative shifts back and forth between those points of view . . . more thugs, thieves and mysteries enter the plot . . . including a lost bag of cash, an empty bag, multiple corpses and, oh yeah, there’s another bag with a missing poisonous snake  inside . . .

If you’re a fan of non-stop action and relentless plot twists, Bullet Train is a great way to wrap up your summer reading.  You won’t be disappointed.  It’s kick-ass!


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