A young insurance saleswoman is found strangled at Mitsuse Pass. Her family and friends are shocked and terrified. The pass—which tunnels through a mountainous region of southern Japan—has an eerie history: a hideout for robbers, murderers, and ghostly creatures lurking at night.
Soon afterward, a young construction worker becomes the primary suspect. As the investigation unfolds, the events leading up to the murder come darkly into focus, revealing a troubled cast of characters: the victim, Yoshino, a woman much too eager for acceptance; the suspect, Yuichi, a car enthusiast misunderstood by everyone around him; the victim’s middle-aged father, a barber disappointed with his life; and the suspect’s aging grandmother, who survived the starvation of postwar Japan only to be tormented by local gangsters. And, finally, there is desperate Mitsuyo, the lonely woman who finds Yuichi online and makes the big mistake of falling for him.
A stunningly dark thriller and a tapestry of noir, Villain is the English-language debut for Shuichi Yoshida, one of Japan’s most acclaimed and accomplished writers. From desolate seaside towns and lighthouses to love hotels and online chat rooms, Villain reveals the inner lives of men and women who all have something to hide. Part police procedural, part gritty realism, Villain is a coolly seductive story of loneliness and alienation in the southernmost reaches of Japan.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Villain|
|Release Date: 08-03-2010|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Pantheon Books|
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Yuichi turned on the overhead light in his car and angled the rearview mirror toward him. In the darkness the reﬂection of his face was indistinct. He moved his head from side to side, combing his ﬁngers through his hair. His hair was soft and feline; the ﬁne strands ﬂowed through his rough ﬁngers.
In the spring of last year, Yuichi had dyed his hair for the ﬁrst time in his life. He dyed it a brown that almost appeared black, and when none of the guys on his construction site noticed, he dyed it a lighter brown, then even lighter the next time, until ﬁnally now, a year and a half later, his hair was nearly blond.
Since the change in hair color was so gradual, no one kidded him about it. Only once did another worker, Nosaka, laugh and say, “Hey, since when are you a blond?” His blond hair went well with his skin, tanned from outdoor work, so perhaps that explained the lack of teasing.
Yuichi was not a ﬂashy guy, though when he went to Uniqlo and other inexpensive clothing stores to buy sweatshirts and sweatpants, he always wound up going for bright colors, reds and pinks. He would tell himself he’d get something subdued, black or beige, something that didn’t show dirt easily, but when he got to the store and stood in front of the racks of clothes, for some reason he’d reach for the brighter colors. It’s only going to get dirty anyway, he told himself.
His old chest of drawers at home was stuffed full of similar sweatshirts and T-shirts, all of them with threadbare collars, frayed sleeves, the cloth all worn out. All of this made the colors stand out even more,