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Summary

In the summer of 2000, Jane Steare received the phone call every mother dreads. Her daughter Lucie Blackman - tall, blonde and 21 years old - had stepped into the vastness of a Tokyo summer and disappeared forever.

That winter, her dismembered remains were found buried in a desolate seaside cave. Her disappearance was mystifying. Had Lucie been abducted by a religious cult? Who was the mysterious man she had gone to meet? What did her work, as a 'hostess' in the notorious Roppongi district of Tokyo, really involve? And could Lucie's fate be linked to the disappearance of another girl some 10 years earlier?

Over the course of a decade, Richard Lloyd Parry has travelled to four continents to interview those caught up in the story and been given unprecedented access to Lucie's bitterly divided family to reveal the astonishing truth about Lucie and her fate.

©2011 Richard Lloyd Parry (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about People Who Eat Darkness

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Less of a Rollercoaster, More of a Runaway Train..

Both instances involve a fast-paced, exhilarating ride with twists and turns and highs and lows, but the former typically concludes with a smooth, controlled stop, whilst the latter instead culminates in a regrettable and devastating crash.

The writing is consistently good. Excellent even. Where the book falters is in the content and the editing. Most of the way through the book, I was thoroughly enjoying myself and had expected to wholeheartedly endorse it. Imagine how jarring the contrasting section must have been given that I must instead bestow it with the worst endorsement a book can receive. I couldn't finish it. I just didn't want to hear the rest.

The book has flaws, both large and small. It seems to have undergone a radical "Americanisation" to its detriment. Many chapters end with a reality-television-esque cliffhanger ending, as though the editors were paranoid the reader would lose interest in the intervening turn of a page to the next chapter. This seems to be par for the course, as far as true crime novels are concerned, but is still rather irritating.

The author seems to attribute far too much time to the inevitable, foreboding omens that seem to accompany all tragic events. Those along the lines of "two weeks before my daughter left, I had a dream where she was surrounded by sinister Asian men, and then when she went missing and I knew that it had been a sign all along." That sort of nonsensical hindsight bias is frequently indulged and my eyes roll harder with every incident.

By far the biggest issue is the Author's incessant need to interject himself and his opinions into the subject matter. The Author's role in the events of the story is evidently minuscule, yet entire chapters seem devoted to personal accounts and anecdotes about people and events only tangibly relevant to the narrative. He devotes enormous amounts of time to chastising the media for their biased depictions of the involved parties, defending the inept Japanese police force amidst a torrent of blunders and the eerily sycophant justifications for Tim Blackman's behaviour.

The events having reached their seeming conclusion, I found that I still had almost two entire hours left of the book and what followed was just an impassioned, yet hypocritical, sermon of the immoral sensationalization of the events and long-winded assertions such as that it's unfair to blame Japanese culture, and by extension, the entire Japanese nation for the actions of a few bad apples, and how we shouldn't be so quick to judge people faced with difficult choices we will likely never have to face, and the paralyzing waft of condescension and sanctimony because too much to bear.

It was at this point I decided to give up, satisfied that I had gleaned the meat of the story and that what would follow would simply be more of the same tripe.

The narration is excellent. The reader has an irritating habit of pronouncing silent h's in words like "which" and "when", but that seems to be shared by every audible narrator.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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incredibly sad story. but gripping

I'd heard of Lucie naturally. But didn't really know the story behind her sad death. This book gives incredible detail about her murder and that of her assailants other victims. a truly evil individual.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Tragic Tale And A Uniquely Brilliant Book

Instantly one of my favourite books and my favourite in the true crime genre. I bought the book on Thursday and finished it by Sunday afternoon. It's one of those books that is impossible to put down and complemented by great narration. It's also the saddest and most personal account of a disappearance and murder I've ever come across. Parry tells the story in a way that will knock the wind out of you at every turn. He brings Lucy and her family out of the newspaper columns and into a horrifying grim reality in a way that not many writers can.


Parry is very intimate in his coverage of the people involved, this is where the best part of the book is. Not like most true crime books which simply process through the background, murder and investigation, but in showing everyone involved in a way that makes them very real. You will relate with their real suffering, conflicts and faults in their search and bereavement. You will feel pain for Lucy and her family as you enter their shattered world and learn about their tragic story in a depth that leaves no question unanswered. Not for the faint of heart.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Not enjoying as much as I hoped.

Struggling to finish. Narrator performs well, but I find some parts of the story a bit off. I enjoy true crime, but I find the author is sticking to opinions more often than solid facts. The worst part I find is a couple parts of poor Lucie's diary entries. I'm sure the family must've given permission for their use, but obviously Lucie is unable to give permission. I doubt she would've wanted the world to know her most personal feelings. Considering her fate, I found her diary entry where she was attacking everything about her looks and personality sad and disturbing. I personally find it hard to listen to these parts and I'm worried about hearing more dark diary entries. I think the book would've been better if the author had left out her diary.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

great book but a bit chaotically put togeter

the thing that makes it a bit strange to read is the order of the introductions of the people involved in this book.
the book is still great and understandable.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unforgettable

One of the best books I have encountered in a long while, combining the fascination of a murder mystery brilliantly told with the sheer alien-ness of a society so very different from our own, and at it's core the epitomy of darkness itself, the perpetrator. This book will stay with me for a long time.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Nothing unexpected

The book is full of filler material. Thankfully, a good portion of that is of interest to me.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Heavy going

On the one hand I'm glad I persevered with this title, but was tempted to return it in the beginning because I found it random and tangential from the outset. The crux of the story is good though, but the ending is meandering like the beginning.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An in-depth look in the darkness.

The story of Lucy blackman is sad & horrifying turn of events. The book written by Richard Parry is a true form of wordsmanship, his ability to not only capture the events as they have conspire but to home in on the thoughts, feelings and essence of Lucy loved ones, the culture of Tokyo and the position we all have as human beings digesting the information which is bestowed on us are truly remarkable, this is a must read.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Unsettling and morbidly fascinating

What a compelling and enthralling book this is. I couldn’t give 5 stars because of the way it left me feeling when it stopped. The story hasn’t concluded. It is so intensely crafted and was clearly a labour of obsession for Richard Lloyd Parry. It draws you in chapter by chapter and Simon Vance’s impassive narration style complements it synergistically but still there is something so deeply hidden here and you never get to the bottom of it. You want to remain detached and not sucked in to the darkness. It certainly moved me. Such a sad account. I don’t think I shall ever be visiting Japan now. Read it and weep.