Obregón manages to capture a specific noirish Japanese quality, which is infused with his very own style. Blue Light Yokohama is an intricately woven web of crime, lies, corruption and emotions. It is an exceptional read.
One of the aspects I really found intriguing was the inspiration for the book. Taking a forgotten cold case and building an entire story around it with the sole purpose of giving the victims closure or some sort of ending to the horrendous murder of an entire family.
Iwata is driven mainly by his denial and fight or flight response. Trying not to dwell on his miserable childhood and his even more tragic adult life, makes him even more determined to solve the crimes that have landed n his lap.
His coping mechanisms are barely keeping him above water. The guilt he feels about his wife and child are overshadowed by the anger he feels towards his wife. I’m glad Obregón didn’t try and make it a cotton candy issue. The emotions Iwata feels are honest and raw. He has a right to be angry and a right not to forgive her, despite perhaps being the catalyst for her actions.
Simultaneously the reader gets an insight into his childhood and quite a few unresolved issues, which play a part in the development of his psychological well-being. His personal life flows in and out of the crime story to the point where both storylines are seamless and become one and the same. Iwata and his strong enigmatic personality dominates the other characters. His refusal to give up and walk away is a reflection of his past experiences. No matter how hard it gets there is always a way forward.
It’s interesting that his character actually manages to endear himself to others. Instead of turning their back on the troublemaker and lost cause, a lot of his encounters become friends and confidantes.
Although Iwata is a fascinating main character I wouldn’t be doing the story any justice if I gave him all the dues. The plot is cleverly woven from the past into the future with plenty of red herrings and political intrigue.
Nicolás Obregón is definitely an author to watch, and I can’t wait to read the sequel to Blue Light Yokohama.