Saturday 3 April 2021

Book Review: Bullet Train by Isaka Kotaro (Thriller/Black Comedy)

Title: Bullet Train
Author: Isaka Kotaro
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Publication Date: 3 August 2021
eBook - EPUB
Genre: Thriller/Black Comedy
Source: ARC via NetGalley

Nanao, nicknamed Lady Bird—the self-proclaimed “unluckiest assassin in the world”—boards a bullet train from Tokyo to Morioka with one simple task: grab a suitcase and get off at the next stop. Unbeknownst to him, the deadly duo Tangerine and Lemon are also after the very same suitcase—and they are not the only dangerous passengers onboard. Satoshi, “the Prince,” with the looks of an innocent schoolboy and the mind of a viciously cunning psychopath, is also in the mix and has history with some of the others. Risk fuels him as does a good philosophical debate . . . like, is killing really wrong? Chasing the Prince is another assassin with a score to settle for the time the Prince casually pushed a young boy off of a roof, leaving him comatose.

When the five assassins discover they are all on the same train, they realize their missions are not as unrelated as they first appear.

Bullet Train is the first book I have read by Isaka Kotaro and I found it entertaining. Although a thriller in many respects, there is also a very strong seam of black comedy throughout, which takes the edge off the drama a little, but in a fun way. The books strongest point is its characters. All come across well as individuals and you get a good sense of each of them and their foibles within the first few chapters. The weakest point for me was the fact that the changing POVs did lead to some repetition of information the reader already knew. However, the story moved at a good pace and was engaging enough that this didn't have too negative an impact.I found the ending satisfying and was happy when my favourite character made it out alive. This book is being turned into a movie and I can see it working really well in that format as there are plenty of good "visual" moments in the piece. Overall, this was a solid four-star read for me. I would definitely check out the movie of this book and other works by Isaka in the future.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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