By Jacob Ritari
(Unbridled Books, Paperback, 9781936071654, 256pp.)
Publication Date: July 2009
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A disillusioned and raggedy American reporter
and his drunken photojournalist partner are the last
to see three Japanese schoolgirls who disappear
into Taroko Gorge, Taiwan’s largest national park.
The journalistswho are themselves suspects
investigate the disappearance along with the girls’
homeroom teacher, their bickering classmates,
and a seasoned and wary Taiwanese detective.
The conflicts between themcomplicated by
the outrageousness of the photographer and the
raging hormones of the youngraise questions of
personal responsibility, truthfulness, and guarded
The world and its dangersboth natural and
interpersonalare real, changing, and violently
pressing. And the emotions that churn in dark
rooms overnight as the players gather in the park
visitors’ center are as intense as in any closet
drama. There’s enough action and furor here to
keep readers turning the pages, and the cultural
revelations of the story suggest that the human
need for mystery outweighs the desire for answers.