Shield of Straw
By Kazuhiro Kiuchi
BASIS OF THE TAKASHI MIIKE FILM | SOON TO BE A MOTION PICTURE STATESIDE
Ever since Assistant Inspector Mekari’s wife passed away, he has found no joy in living. As a member of Japan’s security police, he once served in the prime minister’s detail, but it’s been a while since he took himself off the promotion track. He thinks he’s ready to take a bullet, but something begins to change in him when he’s ordered to escort a child rapist-murderer who relapsed after being released from prison.
The multibillionaire grandfather of the suspect’s new victim is offering a staggering bounty to anyone who would kill the man, Kiyomaru, who might be spared the noose yet again. The government and the police brass, meanwhile, can’t tolerate such a challenge to the rule of law and their own authority. From the southern city where, fearing for his life, Kiyomaru has turned himself in, he must be transported alive to Tokyo, where the crime occurred.
As Mekari and the transfer team weave their way across the nation, its entire populace seems to salivate for the billion-yen reward. On guard against both civilian aspirants and fellow cops, the depressed assistant inspector has to wonder: What is duty? What is his?