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A shocking thriller from one of Japan's most lauded female mystery writers. Nothing in the sometimes hazy history of Japanese literature prepares us for the stark, tension-filled, plot-driven realism of Natsuo Kirino's award-winning mystery OUT, a work that took the Japanese literary scene by storm and continues to haunt the popular consciousness as a recently released major motion picture submitted for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Kirino's novel tells a story of random violence in the staid Tokyo suburbs, as a young mother who works the night shift making boxed lunches, brutally strangles her dead-beat husband and then seeks the help of her co-workers to dispose of the body and cover up her crime. The ringleader, Masako Katori, emerges at the emotional heart of OUT and as one of the shrewdest, most clear-eyed creations in recent Japanese fiction. Her own search for a way "OUT" of the straitjacket of a dead-end life leads her, too, to take drastic action. The complex yet riveting narrative seamlessly combines a convincing glimpse into the grimy world of Japan's yakuza with a brilliant portrayal of the psychology of a violent crime and the ensuing game of cat-and-mouse between seasoned detectives and a group of clever but inexperienced criminals. Kinno has mastered a "Theima and Louise" kind of graveyard humor that illuminates her stunning evocation of the pressures and prejudices that drive women to extremes and the friendship that bolsters them in the aftermath.