It's been a while since I've read a truly strange story. I do reread Gaiman, and once again dipped my toes into H.P. Lovecraft's works. Of course, there are scores of other strange stories and they liven up my bookish existence.
But I also love mysteries, and I've found a book that contains a great amount of strangeness and a clever mystery. It's a book that I found almost impossible to set aside once I hit my stride. Intensity colors the second half of the story, and questions became theories, and theories became questions. Vicious cycle.
'Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa', written by Benjamin Constable, is a tad confusing at the beginning, but trust me: You won't put it down. At once a story about relationships, secrets, and murder, it evolves into an elaborate treasure hunt, setting the protagonist, Ben Constable (yes, the author used his own name), on a journey that takes him over and under his home city of Paris and then through Manhattan.
Ben and his friend, Tomomi 'Butterfly' Ishikawa, both live in Paris, where they occasionally meet for drinks, smoking, and laughter. But then Butterfly sends a letter to Ben, telling him that she's killed herself. She includes instructions about a mysterious treasure hunt, but the deeper Ben digs, the more he discovers about Butterfly's dark past.
When the truth and Butterfly's strange invention finally came together, I was reluctant to hit that final page.
And it wasn't until I finished that I remembered that the author didn't really describe the physical characteristics of his characters, which, in my opinion, would have slowed down his marvelous storytelling. But physical descriptions aren't necessary once you get involved (more like obsessed) with this strange, interesting tale. It will promote great discussions during reading group meetings, and talking about it over a few beers would be fitting.
Dip your toes into 'Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa' when it's released in early June.
And then tell me how you thought it would end.
'Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa' by Benjamin Constable will be released on June 4, 2013 by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster