This thriller takes place on the fictitious island of Aokuni-jima, located in the Pacific Ocean roughly 1,100 kilometers south of Tokyo?farther south even than the Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands. The story begins when former police detective Yasuhiko Takasu arrives to take up his post as village "sheriff"?actually more of a private security position since, like the Ogasawaras, the island is officially under the jurisdiction of Tokyo Prefecture?following the death in office of his predecessor with six months left in his term. The island was occupied by the United States following World War II as a trust territory, but was returned to Japan 25 years earlier, in 1978, and now has a population of just 940 people; Takasu had applied for the position expecting it to be a job with little real work to do. But on his very first day, an elderly man falls into the ocean and drowns. Then a sign prohibiting tourists from entering a section of beach where sea turtles lay their eggs is torched, and this is followed by the owner of the only video rental store on the island being gunned down. It is the first murder the island has ever experienced, and detectives soon arrive from Tokyo to investigate, including Takasu's former boss, Yamaji. The investigation fails to make much headway before Aokouni-jima's only doctor, an American named Otto who has lived on the island since it was under U.S. occupation, is also gunned down. Meanwhile, Takasu is advancing his own investigation, and is searching the former sheriff's home when he is attacked by an unidentified assailant and sustains a serious head injury. Aokuni-jima has never promoted tourism, and its only real industry is fishing. But it now comes out that there was a time when an American GI cultivated coca and the murdered doctor trafficked in the cocaine extracted from it to support the island's finances. Suspicion of a long-standing cover-up of related incidents falls not only on the dead doctor but on current village leaders as well . . . A page-turning entertainment that combines the grit of the hardboiled with the charm of the isolated-island thriller.
(Vol. 1) ISBN 978-4087468229, 456pages
(Vol. 2) ISBN 978-4087468236, 464pages