Thursday, October 10, 2013

review; people who eat darkness

People Who Eat Darkness: Love, Grief and a Journey Into Japan's Shadows, Richard Lloyd Parry

The other day I was in town with my mum scouring charity shops and came across a really good find - a book I've had my eye on since I popped in my Wishlist on my Amazon back in May 2013. It cost me a single hard-earned pound, saving me a good amount, too. Just to preface the review; I am well aware these kind of books aren't everyones cup of tea, but I have a strange interest in true crime fiction, that started when I read In Cold Blood back in sixth-form. I have a few books on criminal psychology and 'interview with serial-killer' style books, and whilst I understand how they can be problematic in glorifying the killer, not the victim, I found that this book did the opposite; honouring the victim, in a way.

People Who Eat Darkness: Love, Grief, and a Journey Into Japan's Shadows is so intriguing to me because Japan is a culture that is completely alien to me. It is very intensely researched, written by a journalist who investigated the case when it occurred when he lived in Tokyo, drawing from a huge archive of interviews with the family and friends and police that were involved with the case. It is the story of a British girl called Lucie Blackman who disappeared in 2000 from Tokyo, whose body was later found in a cave at the seaside. The case is something that I remember vaguely from my childhood, one of those things that was always hastily turned off by my mother, like that of Milly Dowler, whose body was discovered in my local woods: seen but never spoken about.

The book is well written, unfolding throughout a series of interview transcripts, with Lucie's father, sister, other friends, but told in such a way that it feels like fiction. The most interesting aspect was the view of the Japanese police force, which is alarming at best, and the way that they dealt with the case. I urge you to read it to find out the facts behind the case, because I have devoured the book in a matter of days, it's that engaging.

The most compelling reason for encouraging you to read this book, though, is the overwhelming humanity and sadness of it. I know I have the ability to completely separate my emotions from cases like these, but the  amount of depth and insight into her life and family at the beginning of the book made finding out what happened to her really intense and I actually got very sad and emotional reading it. 

I'll say again; I really do recommend this book with caution: it is quite graphic and sexual and definitely not for anyone unprepared or under eighteen, probably. That said, I think its a very interesting read, if a little hard at times.


  1. I've seen a few people talking about this book but I've never researched into what it's about, so thank you for this post - I've marked it as to-read on good reads!

    Jennie xo |

  2. "true crime fiction"? it's not fiction.


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