Jonathan Lee

Heinnemann Hbk £12.99

Released: 5th August 2010

Reviewer: Ayo Onatade


Ayo Onatade is an avid reader of crime and mystery fiction. She has been writing reviews, interviews and articles on the subject for the last 12 years; with an eclectic taste from historical to hardboiled, short stories and noir films


Rob Fossick once a famous photographer has been a virtual recluse since his wife died now dependent on pills and alcohol his life takes a turn for the worse when his mother dies whilst he is visiting her.  Could he have done anything to save her?  One wonders.  However, his mother leaves him with a small package.  It being her last wish for him to take the package to a Mr Satoshi in Japan.  Who is Mr Satoshi and what is or was his relationship to Fossick’s mother?

Reluctantly and after a push from his agent he goes off to Japan to track down the mysterious Mr Satoshi.  Japan is a shock to him. Barely able to leave his hotel Fossick he lurches from one disaster to another as he tries to assimilate the Japanese culture he now finds himself immersed in.  It is only with the help of a pink-haired young Japanese girl and a former Sumo wrestler that Fossick begins to unravel the mystery that his mother has left him.

Who is Mr Satoshi? is basically a novel about a quest and the way in which the protagonist conquers his fears along the way.  It is a well-written debut novel but I feel fairly sure that it will be seen more as a literary novel as opposed to a mystery novel despite the fact that there is a mystery as well somewhere in the story.

I found this novel hard going and I did not actually like it.  I did however finish it.   It tries a bit too hard to impress and the writing at times is somewhat strained.  The word pretentious comes to mind.  Fossick is a rather unlikeable character as a protagonist in my opinion but the other characters are quite colourful and they do bring a certain ambience to the novel but I still found it rather hard going.  Who is Mr Satoshi?is one of those novels that you have to make up your own mind to either like or hate.






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