reviewed by Thomas Pluck
Hardboiled and Japan are made for each other; both can be direct and to the point, with unspoken notions of fatalistic destiny and invisible bonds of honor. The classic Red Harvest became Yojimbo, which defined the untethered ronin; the yakuza story is its own genre, brutal and fatalistic as the life they have chosen, but is as hardboiled as they come.
“Best Interest” by Brian Evenson takes the classic yakuza tale of the soldier caught between doing his oyabun’s bidding and doing what is best for the clan, and transposes it to a fantasy Tokyo where kaiju rise from the sea or descend from space to do battle in our midst, trampling puny humanity beneath their feet. This one’s more The Glass Key than Red Harvest but it is as true to Hammett as it is to the cold heart of a yakuza tale.
The story is curt as a good hardboiled tale should be, and manages to entwine Gojira and a brilliant bank heist in a few pages, as one underling must do what is in his clan’s best interests, fortune be damned.
A solid read and one of my favorites from this equally strong and eclectic anthology.