The Cage

The Cage - Kenzo Kitakata, Paul Warham I wanted to like this since I do like hard crime and noir novels, but I found this to be pretty disappointing. The premise seemed so good-- former Yakuza gang member trying to go straight but getting pulled back into the life. Granted, it is a pretty simple premise, and it has been done before. However, if done well, it works. However, this novel just did not grab me. By the time I got to see the detective chasing the protagonist, I honestly did not really care. Takino is just a bit on the bland side. Sure, tough, but he just seems to meander. Does not really care about the women in his life; in fact, he is pretty blah about them, no passion there. And while there are some action scenes, overall, the characters are not ones you really care for, in part because they seem so bland. I just did not feel too excited about this book, and it does not even give that much of a look into the Yakuza. In other words, a lot of what other reviewers said as well as what the book description promises is just not there. To be honest, I wonder if some readers are just over-praising the book. I did not think it was such a big deal. And the ending was just a basic cliche. I am not giving up on reading Japanese fiction in translation, but I may not look up this particular author anytime soon. The book may have worked for others, but it did not for me. At times I just skimmed parts just to get to the point and the end. That for me is a sign the book did not hold my interest, but I did not want to drop it. Glad I am done so I can move on to other things.