So this book is another audiobook that I borrowed from my library. It’s narrated by a British guy, so everything sounds better. I love love love the way he says the name of the town/district this all occurs in. I just repeat “Robongi” over and over in my head after I’m done listening.
Lucie Blackman was a young, tall, blonde girl from England. She lived a fairly normal life, and had a sister named Sophie, and a brother (whose name I can’t remember – sorry got it – Rupert). She had lots of friends, and was well liked by everyone. Like many of us, she racked up some debts in her youth. She was a British Airways stewardess for a while. Unfortunately, the big money is made in transatlantic flights, and they also drain the life out of you. One of Lucie’s friends (Louise) decided to go to Tokyo to make some money. Louise’s sister was already there, and she was going to help them out.
Lucie and Louise went to Tokyo and eventually became “hostesses”. Their job was basically to entertain men at the bars they worked at. They weren’t escorts or prostitutes, but they did flirt with the men. Their jobs translated to “the water trade” (hence my title). The hostesses got paid extra to go on dinner dates with their “clients”. One night, Lucie went out on a date to the sea, and never came back.
Her family and friends looked for her for months and months. Con-men and psychics came out of the woodwork and got money out of the family, with no results. Eventually, the police got around to investigating multiple girl’s claims that they were drugged and raped by a guy who lived by the sea. They found the bad guy. He goes by literally dozens of names, so I’m calling him Mr. Rapist.
Mr. Rapist kept “meticulous records” of his sexual activities. Barf. He was eventually convicted of 9 rapes, but wouldn’t confess, especially to anything about Lucie. Eventually they found DNA evidence and a picture that she was at his house. They also found roofies and Chloroform. OOOOH, and also videos of lots and lots of the women he raped. Mr. Rapist was so freaking vile. Although he liked his dog above all things, this does not endear him to me (due to all the rapey stuff and murder).
Another girl was raped and basically drugged to death years before. It wasn’t connected to Lucie’s disappearance until they searched Mr. Rapist’s home.
I knew pretty early on that Lucie wasn’t going to come out of this alive. I still cried (at work) when I heard about them finding her body. There was still hope until they found her.
The trial of Mr. Rapist took 6 years. Apparently in Japan, there is a 99.85% conviction rate.
For the entirety of the description of the trial, I wasn’t sure if he’d be convicted or not. I feel like the author was preparing me for the chance of Mr. Rapist’s acquittal.
Holy freaking crap, he was acquitted of raping and killing Lucie. HOWEVER, he got life in prison for other rapes, and another rape and killing. The judges said there wasn’t a smoking gun on how she died. They did believe that he got rid of her body. Additionally, in Japan, you can apparently appeal an acquittal.
After the appeal, Mr. Rapist was found guilty of the abduction, drugging, attempted rape, dismemberment & illegally disposing of her body, but still acquitted of her murder. His life sentence was held up.
Things that made me cry:
There was a description of Rupert (Lucie’s brother) smoking and looking out the window before they found Lucie’s body. There was still hope that she was alive. He said that he was wondering if Lucie was looking at the same sky as him. Afterwards, he was severely depressed for years.
Sophie tried to kill herself the night after they buried Lucie’s ashes. She was so lost and alone without her. She spent 9 months in psychiatric care.
Lucie’s parents really seemed like assholes at times. Her mom wouldn’t let anyone else participate in figuring out what to do with her ashes. She also tried to sue Lucie’s father and get him into jail. Her dad accepted $800,000 from Mr. Rapist. That part was slightly understandable, because he spent tons of money trying to find her, but he was icky at other times. I understand that their grief is (thankfully) unimaginable to me. It still felt weird at times.
Poor Louise was near suicidal too. She didn’t really do anything with her life for years and years. She felt guilty in everything that she did afterwards.
It’s amazing how one (GIANT) asshole’s actions can change so many people’s lives forever.