The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of
Tokyo — and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up

By Richard Lloyd Parry

FSG (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), First American Edition, 2012 ($16.00)

ISBN-13: 978-0374230593

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Lucie Blackman was a young blonde twenty-one-year-old British girl, drawn to Tokyo for excitement and adventure. As many others before her, she accepted a job hostessing — drinking and chatting with male customers — at a late night club in the Roppongi entertainment district. One afternoon she left the house she shared with friends to meet a customer from the club and never returned. The local police were slow to take the disappearance seriously. Until the media and Lucie's family became more aggressively involved, the police dismissed the case, even though they had evidence that Lucie was not the first "foreign" girl to go missing and she wouldn't the last.

As the months stretched out and Lucie's whereabouts remained a mystery, the police continued to investigate the case haphazardly, despite their protestations that they were doing everything they could to find Lucie.

No one really expected to find Lucie alive, they did expect to find her body, eventually.

For me, the most interesting aspects of this case (and the book) are the way the police handled or mishandled the investigation (Opinions vary. The reader will no doubt come to their own conclusions.) and even more so, how the Japanese court system dealt with the case, when it finally came to trial.

The author is a British journalist and followed this complex case from the very beginning. Readers will be unsettled by this case long after they finish reading about Lucie Blackman, her family, and Obara, the man Lucie met that day.

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