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Chris High reviews: Tokyo written by Mo Hayder 2004.

MO HAYDER - 'Tokyo'
Bantam Books (Paperback) 2004
ISBN: 0-553-84162-1

Front cover of Tokyo written by Mo Hayder


With this her third novel, Essex born author, Mo Hayder , has followed the maxim 'Write What You Know' to the full. On leaving school at fifteen, she took jobs as diverse as being a barmaid, a security guard, a film maker and - importantly as far as this novel is concerned - a hostess in a Tokyo nightclub.

Tokyo revolves around student Grey Hutchins, who comes to the city from London to fulfil her ambition: discovering the truth behind the slaughter of Nanking in 1937, carried out by the Imperial Japanese Army.


Grey has been fired into action by the mention of the existence of a cine-film containing footage of the massacre, which is held by the one man who can help her: a survivor of the carnage and now a Tokyo university lecturer.

Far from home, penniless and obsessed, Grey takes a job as a hostess in a nightclub and comes into contact with a wheelchair-bound gangster and his nurse, with terrifying consequences.

Following her previous bestsellers Birdman and its sequel, The Treatment, Mo Hayder has moved away from the 'traditional' serial killer plotline with powerful and atmospheric affect. With her use of tight prose and an ability to maintain a heart-racing pace, the reader can almost reach out and touch the surroundings and becomes immersed in the events so that the pages can only turn in a flurry.

With the emotionally damaged Grey as the 'far-from-the-norm' heroine up against such dangerous adversaries, the novel turns into a battle of wills that maximises tension and evokes sympathy and repulsion in equal, if emotionally opposite, degrees. All of which utilises the author's considerable skill of being able to weave a tale of complex intricacies with a lightness of touch that can only enthral at every turn.

The characters are both unique and familiar, the link between past and present is brilliantly handled and, whilst the horrible events of the past are described with clarity and precision, they are never over-played so as to become gaudy.

Tokyo is a novel of immense power that is guaranteed to keep the reader hooked from first page to last.

Order this book online - Linghams Booksellers

“Thanks for nice review of Tokyo. Every word is true (!)”
Mo Hayder - author of Tokyo.



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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