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Reviewed by Barbara Garcia for Readers' Favorite
Yokai Blues by John LaTorre is the story of Nick, a detective that deals in Yokai Relations. Nick finds himself being stalked by a demon that kills people with a toxic cloud of cigarette smoke, evidently not only by the stench, but a yellowing of their skin. Nick, a heavy smoker and an alcoholic, is tormented by visitations of this demon, not just in his waking life, but in his dreams as well. Nick and his partner, an ogre named Tom, are finally able to destroy the demon, only to find that it was merely a friend of the real demon that haunts him. Nick also learns that it's actually him the demon wants and was only killing the other people to get his attention. With this grudge revealed, Nick must set out in earnest to discover what this demon really wants with him, and more importantly, what it will take to eliminate him.
Yokai Blues takes place in Tokyo, Japan, in a time where ogres and other assorted human like creatures, collectively known as Yokai, are a part of the masses. I appreciated the vivid descriptions author John LaTorre gave these creatures. It really brought them to life for me, and gave me a real sense of their lowly place in a society that just barely tolerates their presence. I laughed more than a few times at the ample, and often humorous, descriptions that showed the complete disarray of Nick's life. It's wasn't hard at all to see why he's haunted by demons, but I got a sense that the demon he was actually fighting came from within, a struggle not unfamiliar to most people. This was a lighthearted read, laced with deeper meaning I think people can relate to.