Signed First Edition
(Signed by translator Sam Bett)
May 2, 2023 Publication Date
The aftermath of the murder of a bondage teacher reveals the darkest corners of the human mind in this chilling new mystery from the master of Japanese literary noir.
Two detectives. Two identical women. One dead body—then two, then three, then four. All knotted up in Japan’s underground BDSM scene and kinbaku, a form of rope bondage which bears a complex cultural history of spirituality, torture, cleansing, and sacrifice.
As Togashi, a junior member of the police force, investigates the murder of a kinbaku instructor, he finds himself unable to resist his own private transgressive desires. In contrast, Togashi’s Sherlock Holmesian colleague Hayama is morally upright to a fault, with a stalwart commitment to the truth and nearly superhuman powers of deduction. When Hayama notices a dangerous measure of darkness within Togashi, he embarks on a parallel investigation, which soon spirals out of control.
Unflinching in its flayed-raw treatment of identity, violence, sexuality, power, the occult, and the divine, The Rope Artist is both viscerally painful and unexpectedly hopeful—a genre homage that shines a light on the most dangerous elements of the human psyche.