Book review: 『99%の誘拐』by Futari Okajima

99%の誘拐 (きゅうじゅうきゅうぱーせんとのゆうかい)
Title: 99%の誘拐 (きゅうじゅうきゅうぱーせんとのゆうかい)
First published: 1988
Page Count: 448
Yoichiro Ikoma is trying to save his company from disaster when his son, Shingo, is kidnapped. 20 years later, another kidnapping takes place and links between the two cases soon became apparent. However, this second kidnapping uses technology that completely baffles the police.

When it comes to crime fiction, I find kidnapping to be the less interesting topic, and unfortunately, this novel didn’t make me change my mind.

I found the first part of the novel, the one about the first kidnapping, to be very long. The outcome is also known from the start, so it is not very suspenseful. The steps that lead to the final exchange felt so long and unnecessarily complicated, that I was tempted to skim through the pages. When this part ends, it’s hard to know where the novel is leading to, and I was not very motivated to keep reading.

Eventually though, we get to the main storyline with the second kidnapping and the novel becomes more and more interesting (even though it has a similarly long passages towards the end). The second kidnapping is what makes this novel stands apart from other kidnapping stories. The main point is the use of technology and programming to remotely monitor the whole kidnapping. More than the plot, the use of computer science is what makes the novel interesting.

Unfortunately, I think you get the best reading experience if you read the novel when it was published, in 1988. For me, it was hard to grasp all the cleverness of the tricks or how amazing it must have felt for a reader of the time. If you are interested in computer science, I think that this novel will be more appealing. To me unfortunately, programming and kidnapping are two topics that I am not particularly interested in, so I cannot say that I completely enjoyed reading this novel, even though the second half was better and the end was quite good.