Bullet Train – Book Review

Title:- Bullet Train

Author:- Kotaro Isaka

Date published:- September 23rd 2010 (Japanese version)

August 3rd 2021 (English version)

No. of pages:- 432 pages

Genre:- Thriller

Rating:-

Plot:- 4/5

Writing:- 4/5

Overall rating:- 4/5

A dark, satirical thriller by the bestselling Japanese author, following the perilous train ride of five highly motivated assassins—soon to be a major film from Sony

Nanao, nicknamed Lady Bird—the self-proclaimed “unluckiest assassin in the world”—boards a bullet train from Tokyo to Morioka with one simple task: grab a suitcase and get off at the next stop. Unbeknownst to him, the deadly duo Tangerine and Lemon are also after the very same suitcase—and they are not the only dangerous passengers onboard. Satoshi, “the Prince,” with the looks of an innocent schoolboy and the mind of a viciously cunning psychopath, is also in the mix and has history with some of the others. Risk fuels him as does a good philosophical debate . . . like, is killing really wrong? Chasing the Prince is another assassin with a score to settle for the time the Prince casually pushed a young boy off of a roof, leaving him comatose.

When the five assassins discover they are all on the same train, they realize their missions are not as unrelated as they first appear.

A massive bestseller in Japan, Bullet Train is an original and propulsive thriller that fizzes with an incredible energy and surprising humor as its complex net of double-crosses and twists unwind. Award-winning author Kotaro Isaka takes readers on a tension packed journey as the bullet train hurtles toward its final destination. Who will make it off the train alive—and what awaits them at the last stop?

A dark, satirical thriller by the bestselling Japanese author, following the perilous train ride of five highly motivated assassins—soon to be a major film from Sony

Nanao, nicknamed Lady Bird—the self-proclaimed “unluckiest assassin in the world”—boards a bullet train from Tokyo to Morioka with one simple task: grab a suitcase and get off at the next stop. Unbeknownst to him, the deadly duo Tangerine and Lemon are also after the very same suitcase—and they are not the only dangerous passengers onboard. Satoshi, “the Prince,” with the looks of an innocent schoolboy and the mind of a viciously cunning psychopath, is also in the mix and has history with some of the others. Risk fuels him as does a good philosophical debate . . . like, is killing really wrong? Chasing the Prince is another assassin with a score to settle for the time the Prince casually pushed a young boy off of a roof, leaving him comatose.

When the five assassins discover they are all on the same train, they realize their missions are not as unrelated as they first appear.

A massive bestseller in Japan, Bullet Train is an original and propulsive thriller that fizzes with an incredible energy and surprising humor as its complex net of double-crosses and twists unwind. Award-winning author Kotaro Isaka takes readers on a tension packed journey as the bullet train hurtles toward its final destination. Who will make it off the train alive—and what awaits them at the last stop?

If you like

  • Thriller with five dangerous criminals
  • A book set in Japan

Then Bullet Train will be the best. The story involved a Shinkansen known as Bullet Train that will journey from Tokyo to Morioka. Inside the train, there are five dangerous criminals–Satoshi known as “Prince” is a teenage psychopath, Kimura who wants to avenge on his son’s injury, Nanao the unluckiest assasin and the duo, Lemon and Tangerine. The story starts of with Lemon and Tangerine saving a dangerous boss’s son carrying a suitcase filled with money. The son ended up dead on the train ride and the suitcase goes missing. We see that the suitcase was stolen by Nanao on the mission to get off at Ueno once he is done with stealing but soon he loses the suitcase. Throughout the journey to Morioka, we see that all these criminals are connected in someway, including the mysterious “snack” girl.

In my opinion, the beginning to me was interesting and the story is told from the five criminals POVs. We see some disturbing cases and I have to say, the author did a good job of drawing the reader into the story. I also like how Lemon and Tangerine (we don’t know their real names) mentions about Thomas and the train, mentioning about the characters. The whole book to me felt like I was watching an action packed movie, (in reality this book will be turning into a movie with Brad Pitt in it) that is keeping me on the edge of the seat. And not only that, we don’t really know what is going to happen to these five killers when they finally reach their destination. I wasn’t really engrossed into the story as there are some parts which are little boring to read but I actually enjoyed reading this book–worth solid four stars.

Kōtarō Isaka (伊坂幸太郎, Isaka Koutarou) is a Japanese author of mystery fiction.

Isaka was born in Matsudo City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. After graduating from the law faculty of Tohoku University, he worked as a system engineer. Isaka quit his company job and focused on writing after hearing Kazuyoshi Saito’s 1997 song “Kōfuku na Chōshoku Taikutsu na Yūshoku”, and the two have collaborated several times. In 2000, Isaka won the Shincho Mystery Club Prize for his debut novel Ōdyubon no Inori, after which he became a full-time writer.
In 2002, Isaka’s novel Lush Life gained much critical acclaim, but it was his Naoki Prize-nominated work Jūryoku Piero (2003) that brought him popular success. His following work Ahiru to Kamo no Koin Rokkā won the 25th Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for New Writers.
Jūryoku Piero (2003), Children (2004), Grasshopper (2004), Shinigami no Seido (2005) and Sabaku (2006) were all nominated for the Naoki Prize.
Isaka was the only author in Japan to be nominated for the Hon’ya Taishō in each of the award’s first four years, finally winning in 2008 with Golden Slumber. The same work also won the 21st Yamamoto Shūgorō Prize.

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