The Earthquake Bird by Susanna Jones (Picador)

The Earthquake Bird

“Early this morning, several hours before my arrest, I was woken by an earth tremor.  I mention the incident not to suggest that there was a connection – that somehow the fault lines in my life came crashing together in the form of a couple of policemen – for in Tokyo we have a quake like this every month.  I am simply relating the sequences of events as it happened.  It has been an unusual day and I would hate to forget anything…”

What a great opening for the story told by Lucy Fly – an Englishwoman from Yorkshire who currently works as a translator in Tokyo and has just been arrested in connection with the disappearance of another British woman – Lily Bridges.  The police have discovered a torso in Tokyo Bay believed to be part of the remains of Lily Bridges and the last person to be seen with the dead woman was none other than Lucy Fly.  There was an altercation between the two as well, according to a witness.

Although a friend of Lucy’s tells her to act normal when being questioned by the police, she is not all that cooperative, as she does not want to implicate her friend and lover Teiji.  The mystery takes on a whole new life as the police continue to question Lucy. Slowly she divulges to us, the readers, why she left her home and family in the first place.  How she became friends with Lily.  And then with Teiji.  And how their three lives intertwined.

What brought Lily together with Lucy was the fact that they were from the same area in England—although Lucy wasn’t really thrilled with hanging out with someone from her old neighborhood, as she moved to Tokyo to get as far away as she could from her roots. Still, Lucy couldn’t help but like Lily, who had a friendly and positive attitude towards life.

Lucy seems resigned to the fact that she’s guilty of something. She may not be directly implicated in Lily’s death and mutilation, but somehow she feels responsible for it.  Could the usually reserved Lucy really be a killer in disguise?  Why is she being so uncooperative with the police?  Does she really have something to hide?  Or does she just not care what is going to happen to her?  The outcome may surprise you and might make you rethink your position on the power of love.

This debut novel set entirely in Japan is the kind of story that stays with you long after you have finished reading the book.  At first, I was undecided in featuring this title or not, but after much thought, and seeing how the story stayed with me for a while, it was clear to me that other people will enjoy it as well.  by Ernie Hoyt