Hanzai Japan, edited by Haikasoru is an anthology of supernatural crime. It features bloody murder, forgery, sumo wrestling corruption and identity theft aided through occult power of cruel, alien technologies.
At 352 pages, Hanzai Japan features stories by a score of heavy-hitters: from Catwoman’s Genevieve Valentine to Hiroshi Sakurazaka, author of ALL YOU NEED IS KILL, the anthology is very imaginative and highly entertaining throughout. My personal favorites, ‘Monologue of a Universal Transverse Mercator Projection’ by Yumeaki Hirayama and ‘The Electric Palace’ by Violet LeVoit seemed to channel the right amount of the Golden Age of noir investigators, repurposed to fit the anthology’s exotic backdrop.
A special mention should be made of the cover art, by Yuko Shimizu; the quiet pandemonium does wonders to prepare the reader for the nature of the stories that wait inside its pages.
My only gripe with some of the stories is that they tend to take some particularly bold liberties with their resolutions, with less than stellar results. Yusuke Miyauchi’s ‘Sky Spider’ and Brian Evenson’s ‘Best Interest’ for example, masterfully craft interesting settings and characters, if only to (seemingly) deprive their predicaments of a resolution.
Despite its few flaws, Hanzai Japan was a gripping read throughout. If you feel that itch that only quality crime fiction can scratch, then this anthology is for you.