DRC Review: The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda, Alison Watts (Translator)

Genre: Mystery Thriller

I wasn’t swept away by the wave. It simply lapped at my feet.

Have you ever read a story where you’re so completely transfixed that the world around you just seems to slip away? You’re not breathing or existing, you’re just so in the moment in another galaxy that the only thing that matters are the words on the page.

This book was transfixing and written beautifully and that seems odd to say since it’s centered around death, a lot of death. There has been a hideous perfect crime. In a castle city based on the coast of the Sea of Japan there has been a mass murder. 17 people of the same family have died from Cyanide Poisoning and there are only two survivors. A gentle housekeeper and the daughter of this elite family who happens to be blind. The daughter’s name is Hisako and she is riveting in every way to all. Well, almost all, there is somebody out there who suspects Hisako of committing this heinous crime and he seeks her out in order to finally bring justice. He just might be too late.

The Aosawa Murders is a novel where the perspectives of at least 10 people are told. We are first introduced to Hisako’s childhood friend Makiko who has written a book off her experience of witnessing the murders. It’s heartbreaking as we go through the chain of events and timelines that led up to and after the murder. It’s a lesson that even years after the fact, such tragedy can leave lifelong scars on both survivors and their family members. My heart particularly broke for the housekeeper as she became a shadow of who she once was.

This book can be confusing at times but with me, Japanese novels often are and that’s okay. I was lost in the descriptive words and delicate writing and enjoyed myself way more than I thought I would. The end eluded me but after rereading it and the beginning again I think I got the gist of it. The mystery is not just neatly handed to you, it’s something you will have to work out yourself. This is a heartbreaking, creepy tale told beautifully. It serves a reminder that not everything is what it appears to be.

Thanks very much to Edelweiss and the publisher for a copy of this ARC. All opinions are my own.

💮💮💮💮 4/5

Expected publication: February 18th 2020 by Bitter Lemon Press

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9 thoughts on “DRC Review: The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda, Alison Watts (Translator)

    1. I completely get whet you mean about murakami! this one is more to the point! another good book is out by natsuo kirino. straight and to the murderous point lmao.


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