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People Who Eat Darkness

Narrated by: Simon Vance
Length: 13 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (187 ratings)

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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

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    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.

15 people found this helpful

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    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.

6 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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.

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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.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Smug Narrator sounds too smug.

Ruined by irritating reading style, I will listen to samples before buying from now on.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Shocking!!

What a shocking story, so sad but a brilliant listen. The story is rated in the top 10 shocking non fiction books and did not disappoint.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A very moving and dark true crime story, powerfully told

The author is clearly a very good journalist, and he tells this story with a lot of humanity, and a great deal of appreciation for the complexities of human behaviour.

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couldn't stop listening

narrator was brilliant and the twists and turns were great! the story is so harrowing but the book is informative and not voyeuristic

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Stunning

Brilliantly well written. Nuanced, complex, multi-layered evocation of the impact of murder on a family. Narrator is mannered and affected but doesn’t spoil the story.