The Drowning God
By James Kendley
Author Website: http://kendley.com
To uncover modern Japan’s darkest, deadliest secret, one man must face a living nightmare from his childhood
Few villagers are happy when Detective Tohru Takuda returns to his hometown to investigate a string of suspicious disappearances. Even the local police chief tries to shut him out of the case. For behind the conspiracy lurks a monstrous living relic of Japan’s pagan prehistory: The Kappa. Protected long ago by a horrible pact with local farmers—and now by coldly calculating corporate interests—the Kappa drains the valley’s lifeblood, one villager at a time.
As the body count rises, Takuda must try to end the Drowning God’s centuries-long reign of terror, and failure means death…or worse.
It had been a while since I read a book like The Drowning God, and it turned out that I got more than what I was expecting from it. The book took me through memory lane, and made me reaffirm why I like this kind of genre. The book mixes mystery with old Japanese folklore tales giving it an alluring approach and capturing the readers interest, yet at the same time not forgetting that it’s a crime story.
The story starts off with an attempt of kidnapping. There’s a strange man near the river bank and he is trying to get a little girl to go towards him. After his failed attempt, Detective Takuda goes down to the village to investigate the case, and along with him comes officer Mori. The suspect is arrested and taken into custody at the local police station where he confesses, but Takuda doesn’t believe he’s the kind of man to go kidnapping children.
I really liked this books, and I especially like Takuda, Mori, and Suzuki, who became like the Three Musketeers of the story. Takuda is like the lone wolf that is still fighting to leave his past behind in the valley, but his honor won’t let him find peace. Mori is described as an officer with a bright future, but as the story progresses, he is a character full of surprises. As for Suzuki, the priest, he is introduced to the readers as a calm, mysterious villager, but transforms into a character with many useful qualities, and funny moments.
The story’s development is slow at the beginning, which was something I didn’t like so much, but as it progresses and a few chapters in, it gets really good. At first, Takuda is reluctant to believe that there’s something supernatural in the village, but the reader is informed of the possibility of the Kappa very early into the story, so when Takuda finally comes across the creature it was non-stop reading for me (except when it got scary I have to confess).
Another aspect that I liked was the author’s take on the Kappa tale. He created a background story for the village that combined folklore and mystery, giving the readers a grasping crime book. There were several scenes that made me wish that the book had concept art to go with it, for example describing the scene where they find the Kappa’s temple. I can imagine it with its green foliage, statues, and a very detailed inside of the mountain. Definitely some of my favorite parts of the book when the author gave us these great scenes through his writing.
Eventually, the reader comes to the end of the story discovering the truth behind the Kappa and the village. Takuda, along with several other characters, is able to find peace ans put his past behind him. All in all, The Drowning God is a great mystery, and I recommend it to fans of this kind of genre. But Takuda’s work doesn’t end in the valley, author James Kendley already has a sequel coming out soon, where we’ll be able to see the ex-detective solving one more mystery.