Police Dragoon: Dark Market

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Police Dragoon: Dark Market
Author: Ryoue Tsukimura
Specifications: ISBN  978-4152093219
412 pages
13.8 x 19.8 cm / 5.5 x 7.9 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Hayakawa Publishing Corporation
Tokyo, 2012
Awards: Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for New Writers, 2013
Buy now: amazon.co.jp


This is the third in a highly popular series that delivers science fiction set in the near future within the police novel genre. The protagonist is Yuri Ozhnov, hired by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department's newly established SIPD ("Special Investigator, Police Dragoon") unit to pilot a battle robot, operated by a human from within, dubbed a "Dragoon." The story begins when Ozhnov's contract with the MPD is canceled. He promptly gets in touch with his old childhood friend Zolotov, now a boss in the Russian Mafia, and joins the illegal arms trade in Tokyo. He has in fact been ordered by Okitsu, a maverick high-level bureaucrat transferred from the Foreign Ministry to the MPD, to infiltrate the arms traffic network.

Meanwhile, an investigator from another department of the MPD is tortured to death by a group of foreigners thought to belong to the Mafia. The investigator had learned that a politically connected Russian businessman known as "the manager" has scheduled a meeting in Japan to take bids on a new battle robot. As arms dealers, Ozhnov and Zolotov are among the invited?along with other major traffickers from all over the world. By successfully planting Ozhnov, Okitsu has set in motion a bold plan to clean up the international black market arms trade in one fell swoop, but communications from Ozhnov break off, and his cover is blown to the manager's henchmen . . .

Ozhnov's father was a policeman in Moscow, and he had followed in his father's footsteps, only to be framed for the murder of a fellow policeman and driven from his homeland. The undercover investigation that led to his exile was directed by the manager, then a bureaucrat in Russia's Ministry of the Interior, and Zolotov had played a role in it as well. The story progresses along three major plot lines: the fateful links between Ozhnov, who had failed in Russia but regained his position as a police officer in Japan, and Zolotov, who started out the son of a failed Mafioso and worked his way up to being a boss; the culture of corruption in the new Russia, where the bureaucrats, the new financial conglomerates, and organized crime are in bed together; and the internal power struggles within the Japanese police organization. The treatment of each of these themes is hard-hitting and realistic, with solid plotting to support the death matches between battle robots, as well as other exciting action scenes?making for a top-notch hardboiled read that's sure to be targeted by Hollywood for adaptation to anime and live action film.