Blue Murder

Buruu maadaa / ブルーマーダー

AuthorTetsuya Honda
ISBN 9784334769185
Page Count 436 pages
Size 15.4 x 10.5 cm (HxW)
First Edition November 2012
Category Crime novel, Fiction
Publisher Kobunsha
Foreign Sales
  • Korean,
  • Simplified Chinese,
  • Traditional Chinese,
Simplified ChineseModern Press
Traditional ChineseEurasian

Blue Murder

Buruu maadaa / ブルーマーダー


A year after the events of Inbijiburu rein (Invisible Rain), Reiko Himekawa’s team in Criminal Investigation Division I of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has been disbanded, and Reiko herself, now 32, has been reassigned to the station in Ikebukuro Ward, where she remains as busy as ever. One day, a recently paroled crime boss named Joji Kawamura is murdered. Although he shows barely a scratch on the outside, nearly every bone in his body is—mysteriously—broken. It is the first of several murders with the same m.o., and each of the subsequent victims is either a full-fledged yakuza or someone with at least one foot in that world. It soon comes to light that a masked killer, dubbed “the Blue Hitman” after the color of his mask, has been terrorizing the Ikebukuro underworld.

As the investigation progresses, police lieutenant Masafumi Shimoi of the Nakano Ward Police Department, who worked with Reiko in Inbijiburu rein, mulls a disturbing possibility about former cop Kazumasa Kino. Long ago, Shimoi had recruited Kino to infiltrate a crime syndicate as a mole, but for the last seven years his whereabouts have been unknown—ever since an informer from inside the police department blew his cover and he was “disciplined” by the syndicate he’d been sent to spy on. Details from eyewitness reports lead Shimoi to suspect that Kino may be the Blue Hitman.

Meanwhile, Kazuo Kikuta, a former member of Reiko’s team now assigned to the Senju station, receives word of a possible sighting of Tokio Iwabuchi, a bank transfer scam suspect who escaped from police custody while being transported under guard. Kikuta begins a stakeout of the building contractor’s office where Iwabuchi is thought to be hiding.

In his efforts to find Kino, Shimoi contacts a crime boss he knows, but ends up falling into a trap set by Kino. Kensaku Katsumata, a.k.a. Gantetsu, the police lieutenant who always seems to have it in for Reiko and is full of acerbic remarks, comes to his rescue. Thanks to his efforts, Kino is taken into custody. Then, while Kino is still being questioned, word of a hostage-taking arrives. The hostage is Kikuta, who has been staking out Iwabuchi. Reiko arrives on the scene and, ignoring the objections of the others present, goes in alone to negotiate with Iwabuchi. When she successfully brings Iwabuchi out, it soon emerges that he has been secretly working with the Blue Hitman, who is indeed Kino.

Seeing that the police remain unable to “deactivate” organized crime even after new enforcement measures and laws were put in place, Kino had decided to take matters into his own hands. As the Blue Hitman, he had made himself into organized crime’s worst enemy. It is revealed that he is suffering from terminal cancer, and does not have long to live.

The following day, Reiko visits the severely wounded Kikuta and asks, “If I can find a way to reinstate the Himekawa Team, would you be willing to come back?” He replies, “In a heartbeat.” Until this, Reiko had never fully appreciated Kikuta’s feelings, nor been able to convey her own to him, but now they are able to affirm the strong bond they share as fellow members of the force.

About the Author

Tetsuya Honda誉田 哲也

Tetsuya Honda (1969–) was born in Tokyo and graduated from Gakushuin University. He notes that he was influenced a great deal by manga and anime when he was growing up. He began playing bass in rock bands in middle school, eventually writing his own lyrics and music and attempting to make it as a musician, but threw in the towel at age 30. He got his feet wet as a writer reporting on combat sports, of which he is a fan, and then began trying his hand at fiction, which he considered an extension of his songwriting. His literary debut came in 2002 with Ayakashi no hana (Ethereal Flower), which won an Excellence Award in the Mu Mystery Novel Grand Prize contest on its way to being published. The following year his novel Akusesu (Access) received the Special Prize in the Horror and Suspense Grand Prize contest. He soon joined the ranks of Japan’s best-selling authors with police novels featuring female cops—the Jiu trilogy (2005–06) and the ongoing Reiko Himekawa series that began with Sutoroberi naito (Strawberry Night, 2006). His youth novels Bushido shikkusutin (Bushido Sixteen), which evolved into a series, and Shippu garu (Girl Like the Wind) have also been well received.

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