I just finished tearing through People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry, a fascinating true crime read. The book recounts the case of Lucie Blackman, a twenty-one year old British woman who moves to Japan to become a hostess at a club in Tokyo. The book dives into the world of the Japanese “water trades”—the range of nightlife establishments, from refined to grubby, that cater to sexual exploration. Blackman disappears a short time later, swallowed up by the Tokyo underworld, and Parry follows the case. People Who Eat Darkness is a great read, giving a glimpse into Lucie’s motivations for taking on such work in Japan.
The book also spends considerable time exploring the trauma that her family and friends undergo as they search for Lucie in a foreign country with vastly different customs than their own. As an American, one of the most compelling elements of the book is the insight into the Japanese criminal justice system. The path that the investigation takes and how the subsequent trial plays out are a far cry from how such a case would be handled in America or Western Europe. People Who Eat Darkness was truly eye-opening on many levels. Highly recommended.