There is a place way down in Los Angeles they call the Nakamota Tower! And it been the ruin of one woman, and now I can’t think of a rhyme.
Anyway, Michael Crichton is a moralizing asshole a lot of the time. It would be one thing if the novels would just speak for themselves. They’re incredibly one note already, but he often ends them with a chiding epilogue that tsks tsks us into taking a problem he sees seriously. In this novel it’s the takeover of American businesses by Japanese companies. But what he doesn’t acknowledge or maybe know is that American businesses don’t care that much about things like market saturation and product lines but about profit, pure and simple. And because so much money is made off of other money, they really don’t care about longterm fitness. Michael Crichton knows these things, but he mistakes it for naivete instead of callousness. He also likes know things about Japanese culture, which as we know is monolithic and singular. He also hates when people think that racism has happened. It’s interesting because in the film version they cast Wesley Snipes in the role of the lead detective, something that is not true about the book. You know a character in a Michael Crichton book is Black because he’ll tell you and then theorize about Blackness a little. It’s pretty awful. We’re spared that here kind of, because he does a lot of that about the Japanese.
Anyway, this novel begins with a liaison detective being called into a murder investigation at newly opened corporate skyscraper on the night of their big party. A woman has been killed in the board room with the party happening below. He’s told to pick up a semi-retired detective who has special expertise and experience dealing with Japanese companies. When they arrive, the responding detective is sparring with the corporation and so the detectives have to step in. They secure the scene and try to get the security tapes, only to find they’ve gone missing. Later, when they finally receive them, it’s clear they’ve been tampered with. In the meantime, they’ve learned that the woman is a known companion to Japanese businessmen, and this leads them to investigate the possibility of Yakuza involvement. So we move on to that. Lots of twists and turns happen later.
This was one of the books I wanted to read when I was kid and was not allowed to because it was so much about sex.