It’s another Monday and another hangover for Asato Tsuzuki, Shinigami of the Hades Summons Department. Tsuzuki’s plan to keep a low profile until the effects of last night’s drunken revelry wear off is scuttled bright and early by his new partner Hisoka who is all too ready to get to work, model employee that he is. Hisoka died and became a Department employee at the tender age of 16, but in terms of experience and expertise in the field he’s no kid. Tsuzuki’s boss is hoping Hisoka can keep his partner focused on work, but Tsuzuki himself wants nothing more than to be left alone to pursue his cases in whatever haphazard way seems best. Arguing all the way, our mismatched couple set out to investigate the non-death of Hisae Tojyo, a young woman who was supposed to die during heart surgery several months ago. Somehow Hisae, a beautiful dancer who wants Tsuzuki for a partner, manages to sidetrack the investigation leaving Hisoka on the sidelines cooling his heels. The second half of the book finds our heroes investigating the grisly past of an apparently haunted violin that has taken over the soul of a young musician, threatening mayhem to innocent bystanders, Shinigami, and the Ministry itself. Tsuzuki has to call on all of his hidden skills to battle this mysterious new enemy, but even his occult powers and fantastic inner strength may not be enough if he can’t first defeat his own inner demons. While the first half of the book is a reasonably lighthearted romp through the streets and dancehalls of Kyushu, the second story is a grim descent into perversity and emotional turmoil. Don’t let Matsushita’s slapstick sense of humor fool you into thinking this series will be light reading.
Descendants of Darkness, vol. 2