Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama, translated by Jonathan Lloyd-Davies [in Library Journal]
Six Four, the first available-in-English-translation novel from Japanese phenomenon Hideo Yokoyama, requires serious commitments of time and memory space. It runs over 24 audible hours, with so many pertinent players that the print version includes a densely-populated “Cast of Characters.”
Dead and missing daughters populate this exquisitely plotted tome which pivots around former detective-turned-press-director Mikuma, who was previously involved in investigating the 1989 kidnapping and murder of a 7-year-old girl. Referred to as the titular “Six Four” – 1989 is Showa 64/Heisei 1 in the Japanese calendar – the unsolved case’s 14th anniversary is about to become a major press event and Mikuma must convince the girl’s mourning father to receive the head of the National Police Agency. Meanwhile, Mikuma is dealing with his own anguish—his runaway teenage daughter remains missing; his heightened desperation drives his own unofficial investigation into Six Four until closure – for some – becomes possible.
With his crisp British accent, narrator Richard Burnip proves to be an encouraging enabler of translator Lloyd-David’s fluid rendering: Burnip reads with requisite detachment, never prematurely giving anything away, but his emotive adjustments are immediate whenever parental attachment trumps professional neutrality.
Verdict: International thrill-seekers (with patience) will find Yokoyama’s English debut essential listening.
Review: modified from “Audio,” Library Journal, October 15, 2017
Published: 2012 (Japan), 2017 (United States)