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Return to Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven

Title: Return to Hiroshima

Author: Bob Van Laerhoven

Publication Date: 26 March 2018

Genre: Mystery and Thriller

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Rating: 3 out of 5.

The story still brings shivers down my spine. The nuclear bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, radiation poisoning, long-term effects of radiation poisoning and genetic disorders and malformations, well it doesn’t just end there. At least not in this story.

A Yakuza lord believes that he’s the reincarnation of the Japanese demon Rokurobei. He would go to any extent to get what he wants. He kills his wife and his daughter’s potential lover – reason: they were getting too close to his beloved daughter! Not just that, when his daughter confronts him and calls him a monster, he rapes her!!! The daughter, Mitsuko, gives birth to a son. The baby is deformed, just like the ones that were found after the nuclear bombing.

Xavier, the son of a Belgian diplomat returns to Japan, where he spent his youth, to come to terms with the death of his beloved sister, Anna. He meets Yori, a member of the suicide club squad. But Yori’s boyfriend Reizo is one possessive fella. He almost kills Xavier. If Beate Becht hadn’t heard his muffled screams, Xavier would have been dead by now.

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Mitsuko meets Yori in a park and Yori decides to take her to their lair. Reizo claims that he’s a writer but he’s also a member of a sinister group that believes in alpha powers and miracles. Inspector Takeda is dealing with issues of his own. His origin keeps coming back to him like a dark soul that one tends to avoid. His mother was raped while in the woman’s camp during the war and by the time Takeda was born, the war had ended and his mother decided not to kill him. But Takeda’s elder brother wasn’t as lucky as him. He was thrown into the latrines soon after he was born. Takeda’s relation with his wife is not better either. Though she’s loyal to him, the same cannot be said about Takeda.

The story is not for those who do not like gore or violence. There is a mention or two of pornographic manga, and also, a depiction of such a graffiti on a van. Each and every character’s life is explained in detail – their past and present lives. With so many characters and how their lives are intertwined, the book is 125 chapters long. The character portrayal was okay. The plot sounded very interesting but the story could have been a bit short – maybe cut down on the detailing a tad. Given that the story is set in Japan, a few Japanese terms are used, some of which are explained in the story.

I liked how the author has portrayed the emotional side of each character. From Takeda to Mitsuko to Xavier, each one of them has a heart-wrenching story to tell. I liked the twist in the story. From radiation effects to a sinister experiment, the story takes a 180-degree turn! I never expected that! Though the twist was in the last few chapters, it made the story interesting and engaging. If you are a fan of noir then do check out this book.


There’s a giveaway for this blog tour. Please click on the link below to enter the giveaway. The winner will receive two paperback copies of Return to Hiroshima.

Giveaway link here.

Thank you, Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for giving me an opportunity to be a part of this blog tour.

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