A young staffer at a jewelry store in the posh Ginza district wants to take his own life, no longer able to bear the intense workplace bullying that besets him in the wake of a particularly unjust customer complaint. As he looks for a place to die, he is accosted by a mysterious figure attired in a gray suit and tie who purports to be able to identify those who are contemplating suicide. When the youth is saved from himself, he has no idea that the elegant robbery in broad daylight for which he is being recruited is no more than the middle act of a rebellion against the One Percent.
A vendetta for the times of Anonymous, Occupy Wall Street, and the Arab Spring, Gray Men hints at how darkly skeptical a materially blessed nation in the Far East has become of its very social fabric and economic structure as well as political elite. With heists, hideouts, and heinous villains galore, the award-winning debut novel is also bound to remind readers who fondly recall tramping after the Count of Monte Cristo and Maurice Leblanc’s gentleman-thief Arsène Lupin that the old often is new.
Born in 1985 in Kanagawa Prefecture, by day Tomotake Ishikawa is a gainfully employed salaryman. In his spare time, including on his commute, he writes. When Gray Men won the Grand Prize of the second annual Golden Elephant Award—bestowed on new genre fiction with the potential to reach a global audience—he became a published author. He cites among his influences the master storytellers of yore such as Alexandre Dumas.