Author: Kiwamu Satō
Specifications: ISBN  978-4062202190
296 pages
13.8 x 19.5 cm / 5.5 x 7.8 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Kodansha Ltd.
Tokyo, 2016
Buy now: amazon.co.jp


The premise is nothing if not gruesome in this horror-mystery, which starts off with a family of four psychotic killers who daily indulge in mass bloodshed.

Narrator Aria Ichino, a 17-year-old high-school girl, is an ardent admirer of Marilyn Manson and Arthur Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell. The first chapter, “Kill House,” follows her and the three other members of her family—her mother, Kiyuka; Jōbu, her reclusive brother, four years her senior; and her father, Kirikiyo, a real-estate agent—in grisly detail as they set forth every day on murderous pursuits from their family home in suburban Tokyo. All are smart about covering their tracks, so that on the surface, at least, there is absolutely nothing untoward about them. Yet that seeming normalcy is shattered near the chapter’s end, when Aria discovers her brother inside the house stabbed to death with a bread knife. The body moreover inexplicably disappears, and the next day her mother too vanishes. Upon investigation, Aria comes face to face with a most shocking truth: her entire family life is a figment of her imagination, and neither her mother nor her brother existed in the first place.

The charade had all begun 13 years ago in 2003 with the killing of antiques dealer Kumika Itoyama and her dog, a male Doberman, inside her home in the Tokyo suburbs. Kumika’s husband, Kiriaki, and their four-year-old daughter went missing in the case, which was never solved; Aria is that daughter.

Kirikiyo, Aria’s supposed father, is in fact a top agent in a secret government organization that works to eliminate murderers in general and serial killers in particular. Back in 2003, Kirikiyo had been staking out Aria’s real father, a murderer known to have already claimed at least ten lives, so he could be captured after his next homicide and his brain intensively examined to see what makes killers tick. As expected, Kiriaki butchered his wife and her dog with a bread knife before Aria’s very eyes, prompting Kirikiyo’s team to swiftly move in to secure both their target and his traumatized daughter before the police could intervene. Ultimately, Kiriaki was rendered totally incapacitated by rigorous testing and torture, while Aria, now under observation herself as a carrier of his depraved genes, was raised by Kirikiyo as his “daughter.”

The fantastic conceits and erudite prose of QJKJQ promise great things to come from this author of singular talent.