This was a very difficult book to read. I start it nearly a year ago and had to keep putting it down. I remember Lucie's disappearance very clearly, the pretty blond girl who vanished and was then found such a long time later, buried in a cave, in pieces. I remember her father and his attitude, her sister - so desolate. But I learned so much more from this book.
I learned about Lucie's past, what drove her to go to Japan with her friend. Her need to raise money to pay off her debts. The bad feeling between her parents. I learned about the culture in Japan, how the justice system works, how the police can't cope with truly horrific crimes because they hardly ever happen, how they rely on confessions, how trials take place in monthly sessions.
But mainly I learned how evil some people can be. How it's possible for a man to drug and rape women over the course of decades and evade any kind of justice, because his victims didn't know what had happened to them. If it was reported the police didn't seem to take the claims seriously.
How a man can video and keep diaries of his conquests and kill two women (although in Lucie's case he was acquitted of killing her due to the lack of any DNA evidence directly tying him to her death, but he was found guilty of drugging, raping and disposing of her body - after the prosecution appealed his original acquittal). To offer "condolence money" to the victims and families of the dead.
This book was very well balanced, it showed Lucie and her family as real people, people who were not perfect and didn't always make the right choices, but people who had to deal with a terrible situation. Their grief was palpable, the fallout was so well described.
The only consolation is knowing that the perpetrator of such crimes will be well into his 70's if he ever leaves prison.