It was an accident that I started reading “The Salaryman’s Wife” and ultimately not a happy one. My Goodreads queue includes a book called “The Pearl Diver,” and I searched for it on my library’s website to borrow digitally. What came up was the 8th book in a mystery series and without looking at the author’s name, I thought “damnit, my bad, better start at the beginning…” Damnit, my bad, indeed.
This whole thing was such a monumental waste of time. The tropes are tedious. The cultural insensitivity is uncomfortable. The sex is “fade-to-black,” unrealistic garbage. The red herrings aren’t tricky. And the murderer was a gimme. Details are repeated again, and again: did you forget that Rei (our heroine!) has a short-boyish haircut and a waifish body? Don’t worry; you’ll hear all about it again in just a few paragraphs, after you’re reminded that Hugh, a Scotsman, NOT an Englishman! (our heroine’s love interest, even though she is a strong and independent woman who doesn’t need a man, but she’s so physically drawn to him, she just can’t help herself!) is big in Japan.
It’s a long book with no pay off. It’s disappointing when easy fiction can’t be a guilty-pleasure. I enjoy a good airport book, and you can give me some Miss Marple any day of the week and I’ll be totally satisfied. It just feels like this book is trying so hard to nail that genre, but only manages to be awkward and obvious.
There are 11 books in the series (so far), but this is where I leave it.