A New Mystery Novel by Shūsuke Michio, One of the Top Japanese Storytellers Today

A new mystery novel by Naoki Prize-winner Shūsuke Michio is dazzling readers with his trademark layered foreshadowing and intense twists. In just two months since its July release, Ikenai (You mustn’t) has sold over 86,000 copies and is already on its fourth printing. One of the selling points of this new book has been its unique narrative style.

Each chapter appears to be standalone at first glance, one concerning a string of murders beginning with an incident near a “suicide cliff” while another sees a pair of detectives investigating an apparent suicide of a religious organization member. However, as one reads through the final chapter, it begins to draw upon all the previous chapters, and the book transforms into a single long-form narrative.

In addition, a single photograph at the end of each chapter reveals a truth hidden in each story, making the reader turn back to the first page in order to spot the clues subtly nestled in the text. Younger readers in their teens and twenties have praised this unconventional style, with many on twitter noting they immediately read through the book again two or three times.

Writer Profile
Shūsuke Michio

Born 1975 in Tokyo. His debut work, Se no me (Eyes behind my back) was awarded  the 5th Horror Suspense Award’s Special Award in 2004. As a writer known for having a unique view of the world, his novels have drawn considerable attention and acclaim. Winner of the 2007 Honkaku Mystery Award for Shadō (Shadow) and the Mystery Writers of Japan Award for Best Novel for Karasu no oyayubi (By rule of crow’s thumb) in 2009, the Tokuma Haruhiko Award for Ryūjin no ame (Rain of the dragon god) and Yamamoto Shūgorō Prize Kōbai no hana (The flower of intermediary light) in 2010, and the Naoki Prize for Tsuki to kani (Moon and crab) in 2011. His other works include Himawari no sakanai natsu (A summer when the sunflowers do not bloom), Katame no saru (One-eyed monkey), Noeru (Noel), Baku no ori (Cell of the tapir), Tōmei kamereon (Invisible chameleon), Sutafu Staph, Sāmon kyatchā the Novel (Salmon catcher the novel). Throughout his career, his works have cumulatively sold over 5,000,000 copies.