“Jigoku” by Naomi Hirahara is a puzzling mixture of fantastical after life and murder mystery. Hirahara creates a disturbing picture of hell complete with bewildering self examination, isolation, and the unyielding torment of unanswered questions. As the tell-tale drama of the mystery unfolds, she leaves the reader wondering not if the lead character, Hideyoshi, will be found out, but how. How will this murdering psychopath slip up? Hirahara paints the disturbing picture of a father-son murdering pair that almost has the reader feeling for the son, and wondering how a parent could lead their child toward such a self destructive end. While at the same time wishing one could reach into the story and save the victims from their abrupt demise.
Personally, I liked the story. She paints a disturbing picture of hell in a fresh new way. I found myself wishing there was more to read, that I didn’t want it to end; there were so many questions I wanted to ask the characters, so much more I wanted to know about their lives.