Review by Ian Keogh
As introduced in the first book, Ryo (alternatively Randy) and Dee are two New York cops of Japanese descent, partners on the job and with a curious and playful attraction off it. This is another three teasing chapters of will they or won’t they? It does, however, take the pair a little further than before in terms of romantic engagement.
We begin with Dee and Ryo having managed to wangle their vacation time for the same two weeks, so taking a trip to England together. Unfortunately for Ryo’s plans, Dee notices another handsome lad on arrival, and the pair discover a corpse, recently deceased, when taking a boat trip on the lake. It turns out four people, all of Japanese descent have turned up dead or gone missing at that hotel. The feeling of this being a more gruesome version of a Scooby Doo plot is accentuated when a ghost manifests.
The running joke has been that despite their best efforts, Randy and Dee are on the verge of consummation when the mood is interrupted and spoiled, usually due to the appearance of Bikky and Carol. The former is the world’s most precocious and irritating thirteen year old, and the latter the slightly older object of his affections. As with the previous book the final story is more of a focus on Bikky and Carol, with Ryo and Dee reduced to cameo roles. Despite Carol being a couple of years older than Bikky, he’s jealous when he sees her with a guy nearer her own age. That burgeoning relationship, however, is complicated by a gang of vicious and armed bank robbers hiding in the locality.
We also learn a little more of Dee’s past, including a most unlikely role model, amid a plot about land sharks, which injects a far greater tension into the book. The primary crime is a matter Dee takes very personally, and from a relatively trivial start it grows into a plot with some depth and emotional resonance.
Sanami Matoh’s writing is good. She strings along the tease of the possible relationship, and whenever the story appears to be too contrived and trivial he twists it around. The art’s more of an acquired taste. The pages are crowded and at the end of the book there’s an editorial in which she admits some are rushed. It shows, as there was more of an attempt to embed the cast into their locations in the previous book, whereas here, as far as possible, the art’s restricted to figures. Matoh doesn’t make a direct connection, but mentions working on two other series simultaneously.
Fake has its moments, but they’re few and far between in this book.