Last Stop Tokyo was published by Transworld Digital on 24 August 2017 and is available to buy here
The funny thing with suffering is just when you think you’ve suffered enough, you realize it’s only the beginning.
Alex thought running away would make everything better. Six thousand miles from the mistakes he’s made and the people he’s hurt, Tokyo seems like the perfect escape. A new life, a new Alex.
The bright lights and dark corners of this alien and fascinating city intoxicate him, and he finds himself transfixed by this country, which feels like a puzzle that no one can quite explain. And when Alex meets the enigmatic and alluring Naoko, the peace he sought slips ever further from his grasp.
After all, trust is just betrayal waiting to happen and Alex is about to find out that there’s no such thing as rock bottom. There’s always the chance it’ll get worse . . .
Today I will be walking around bearing the scars of being up half of the night reading. Last Stop Tokyo is to blame. How dare a book be that engrossing, that I ignore the need to sleep. Last Stop Toyko is the fabulous debut thriller from James Buckley.
If you have ever wanted to teach English abroad, in a foreign culture or to escape from the UK, Last Stop Tokyo is for you. It should act as a warning. That life may not entirely go as planned. That you could be leaping from the frying pan into the fire.
Alex is in his twenties. A young ex-pat English teacher living in Tokyo. He has things in his life, that he wants to move on from. Nightmares from England. So we get to know Alex, as he teaches his classes and tries to blend in. We see Tokyo and the Japanese culture, through his eyes. It is bewitching. It is alien. It is full of bizarre rules. Alex is fortunate to have an old friend in Japan, a Japanese man that he got to know in the UK. They meet up and socialise. Alex finds himself attracted to a gorgeous Japanese woman. Everything goes wrong for Alex, after he associates with Naoko. If ever I have wished impotency and the loss of sexual attraction on a character, it is Alex. Things get very crazy for Alex. His situation gets desperate.
I must admit to have never travelled to Japan in my life. Whilst I was reading, I had photos of Tokyo open on my laptop. It looks amazing. A beautiful vibrant urban city. I found the cultural aspects formed a fascinating part of the novel. Tokyo was a character in itself. The way the Japanese behave towards foreigners without giving much away is blatantly discriminatory. They will always trust a Japanese person, above a foreigner. We would never allow that kind of behaviour in the UK. As for women, I don’t know where to start. My eyes have been opened. My jaw dropped a fraction. Casual prostitution. Women as second class citizens. Slightly shocking.
This was a stunning debut, with an ending that left me in agony. I am assuming there will be a follow up. No author could be that cruel, to leave readers hanging. I definitely want more, James Buckley. I am putting in my order right now. Last Stop Tokyo is a strong and totally absorbing thriller, that I hope will become massive. It deserves a legion of fans!
Totally recommended to fans of the best crime.