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3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  435 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
A harrowing tale of murder and retribution.
Young, pretty Junko Aoki has an extraordinary ability-she can start fires through sheer force of will. When she begins using her gift of pyrokinesis to take the law into her own hands and punish violent criminals, her executions attract the attention of two very different groups: the Guardians, a secretive vigilante organization
Hardcover, 404 pages
Published January 13th 2006 by Kodansha (first published 1998)
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Norwegian Wood by Haruki MurakamiThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki MurakamiKafka on the Shore by Haruki MurakamiBattle Royale by Koushun TakamiHard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Best Japanese Books
128th out of 493 books — 2,332 voters
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Japanese Literature
90th out of 184 books — 210 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,338)
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Feb 08, 2015 Rage rated it really liked it
Although "Crossfire" is about pyrokinesis, it also touches on aimless youth, the criminal justice system, class distinctions, and obstacles women face in traditionally male-dominated fields. Chikako and Junko are both sympathetic in their own ways - Junko seems cold in the beginning, but the more chances she has to open up to people, the more compassion she starts to feel, and the more she questions her own actions. Meanwhile, Chikako is methodical and content with her quiet life, but unable to ...more
Very readable story of vigilante justice set in Tokyo with a touch of the paranormal. This started off a bit slowly and it took me awhile to really get engaged with the story but by the end I was burning through the pages and thought Miyuki Miyabe did a great job pulling all the plot strands together into a satisfying ending.
May 17, 2015 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent thriller/science fiction novel by Miyuki Miyabe. Junko Aoki has the gift of pyrokinesis - the power to start fires. Think Firestarter and you'll get the idea. Junko has had this ability since childhood, but has managed to keep it a secret. However, things are about to change. Periodically, Junko has to "release" her power, which builds up over time. She also becomes a vigilante, using her horrifying powers to against criminals. In the process, though, Junko becomes a criminal herself, ...more
Jun 22, 2016 Mike rated it did not like it
I picked up this book at random for a light yet entertaining read. Unfortunately for an action / thriller I didn't feel like it was very exciting or entertaining, so not worth picking up. I also had a few other problems with this book…


Besides feeling like this novel wasn't really entertaining, my main problem is with one of the central mysteries / twists in the novel. First of all it wasn't much of a surprise that the ex-cop working for the vigilante group (sorry already forgot h
Oct 08, 2015 Lokidm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

La idea es original y los personajes son creíbles y carismáticos. Al unir los poderes psíquicos con una novela policíaca tenía mis dudas (aunque es una autora que me gusta mucho), pero en ningún momento me resultó poco creible.

Hay un par de episodios que ni están a la altura (parece relleno) y el final (aunque bueno y muy bien llevado) es un poco precipitado.

De los tres de la tetralogia de Tokio que he leído es el que más me ha gustado.
Feb 01, 2016 Beverly rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1001-bymrbyd
I picked this book from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die List and was very pleasantly surprised. I hope to read more books by this author. Junko Aoki is a young woman who was born with an unusual ability--she can start fires simply by projecting energy. Luckily, her parents were very understanding and taught her various methods of controlling herself so that she could discharge the built up energy without harming anyone. As she ages though, she is incensed by crimes committed by a gan ...more
Sep 04, 2014 Ursula rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 1001-books, japan
Crossfire is a Japanese novel that I read because it is on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. I was a bit skeptical about why it would be on the list, since it looked like just a run-of-the-mill mystery novel. Usually the mysteries that make it onto the list, though, are there because they provide a certain kind of insight into a culture or a time period, so I had that in mind while I read.

Junko is our main character, and we find out early on that she has a supernatural power: pyr
David B
Mar 10, 2014 David B rated it liked it
Maybe more like 3.5 stars. Junko Aoki is a lonely young woman who uses her pyrokinetic abilities to avenge the victims of violent crime. A chance encounter with a gang of teenage psychopaths leads her on a personal crusade that brings her to the attention of the police and a secret vigilante organization called the Guardians.

Despite the cliched premise, this novel maintains interest, even though it felt a bit too long. Author Miyuki Miyabe presents interesting characters and some effective surpr
Jun 21, 2016 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before reading Crossfire, I had a dim view on mysteries. I was forced to read them as a children and that made em dislike the genre. Now that I'm in my mid thirties, this is a rather silly reason to not to read mysteries.

Personally I think a sign of a great book is one that manages to change people’s ideas about a certain genre and thankfully Crossfire does this. Not only do have I changed my view on mystery books (In fact one of the best books I read in this challenge was a whodunnit – In Sear
Dec 30, 2014 Caitlin rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this, not just for the story but for the strength of the characters' depictions. There was a nice variety of interesting and intriguing characters who weren't all necessarily likable. I also really enjoyed the diversity of female characters in Crossfire, as well as the respectful treatment of them as a whole. They were depicted in a variety of different ways and coming from a variety of walks of life, while still managing to have common ground and make strong, human connections w ...more
Jul 24, 2011 Drew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An okay read. I liked her novel Shadow Family but didn't like another of hers called All She Was Worth. I've had this book on my shelf for awhile and turned to it in hopes of inspiring my own writing. Japanese fiction really put a spark under me for what I wanted to write, especially Natsuo Kirino and Kenzo Kitakata. So, I picked Crossfire up and read it.

It's a little sci-fi, a little mystery and a little police procedural. The plot was a little too neatly wrapped up, with characters convenientl
Dec 23, 2009 Novia rated it it was amazing
I visited JF-Library (Japan Foundation) about 2 weeks ago and I finally found the corner where they put all mystery, horror and suspense books. I was overwhelmed by this discovery. From the title and the summary on the cover…they all sound like great books. I couldn’t decide which one I am going to borrow.

Out of impulse I chose Crossfire by Miyuki Miyabe. I honestly chose this book because it reminds me of Stephen king’s Firestarter (tho I haven’t read it but I know the outline of the story). An
Kazuko Kato
Jun 24, 2010 Kazuko Kato rated it liked it
After watching the movie version of the book I have decided that...
The characterization of Aoki Junko in the book was much better than the one in the movie. In the movie she seemed to be totally different from the character in the book which is a shame because in the movie many of the unique traits of her personality were lost. Never mind the fact that I thought the movie was terrible and that the portrayal of Junko was poor. I can say that I can sympathize with Junko (in the book) in many ways
Oct 29, 2009 Sensitivemuse rated it liked it
This book was all right. I liked how they showed both sides of the story and both point of views. It was a nice even exchange between chapters and it went smooth for the most part. I have to admit though, although the beginning of the book really got me it just started to fall short and falls flat midway and I found myself wondering what's going to happen next and how soon because to be honest, I was starting to get a little bored of the book. Not to mention besides the main characters, there we ...more
Apr 15, 2011 Asma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever since she was a child, Junko knew she had the power to start fires at will. Now as an adult, she has to take the utmost precaution not to accidentally incinerate her surroundings. But by chance, she happens upon a violent kidnapping, and Junko unleashes a trail of burned bodies in the wake of her mission: save a victim, and cleanse the world of evil. Her actions spark the interest of a secret vigilante group, and the Metropolitan Police, who are puzzled over the murders, but as detective Is ...more
Gerald Kinro
Dec 04, 2012 Gerald Kinro rated it liked it
Miyabe borrows a page from Stephen King’s “Firestarter,” with the main characters being able to start fires at will. This is the only similarity. Miyabe covers not only the paranormal, but turns into a light mystery as well. Junko Aoki, a young woman, is capable of unleashing fire-based assaults by concentrating. In her personal war, she is on a crusade to avenge serious crimes that are becoming more prevalent in modern Japan. Chikako Ishizu is a middle-aged female detective working in arson inv ...more
Dec 14, 2009 Nan rated it liked it
This book was on the 1001 books list (yeah, I know, it's pathetic what a list whore I am). I'm not really sure why; it's basically Firestarter set in Tokyo.

Genre fiction really ain't my thing, primarily because it tends towards lines like, "She mused to herself" and lots of "with an [amused/aggravated/offended/etc. tone in her voice." This is no different, and though I wanted to blame the translation, after a while I couldn't. This should be a 2.5 rating, but you can't do that, and 2 stars doesn
Sep 09, 2012 Sophia rated it liked it
Recommended to Sophia by: 1001 books you must read before you die
At first glance, the paranormal thriller Crossfire doesn’t seem like the type of book to make the list of 1001 books you must read before you die. Junko Aoki is a loner who can start fires with willpower alone; she sees herself as a vigilante “hired gun.” When she stumbles across the commission of a crime, she uses her powers to try to save a young kidnapped woman. Chikako Ishizu is a middle-aged detective on the arson squad trying to make sense of seemingly impossible deaths caused by fire. How ...more
David Bonesteel
Jun 09, 2013 David Bonesteel rated it really liked it
Maybe more like 3.5 stars. Junko Aoki is a lonely young woman who uses her pyrokinetic abilities to avenge the victims of violent crime. A chance encounter with a gang of teenage psychopaths leads her on a personal crusade that brings her to the attention of the police and a secret vigilante organization called the Guardians.

Despite the cliched premise, this novel maintains interest, even though it felt a bit too long. Author Miyuki Miyabe presents interesting characters and some effective surpr
May 24, 2012 Jerome rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 20, 2010 Emmanuel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japon
La quatrième de couverture ne me disait vraiment rien, mais ce que j'ai déjà lu de Miyuki Miyabe m'ayant intéressé, j'ai lu ce livre. Le cocktail est assez étrange entre une enquête policière très classique, une société secrète et des pouvoirs surnaturels. J'ai ressenti un léger surdosage des superpouvoirs (c'est difficile de lesw contrôler, n'est-ce pas ?), mais sans que cela ne nuise à l'ambiance générale. Bref, pas mal mais j'ai préfèré le réalisme d'Une carte pour l'enfer.
Kam-Hung Soh
A rather prosaic police procedural with psychic powers thrown in.
Nov 05, 2013 Kylie rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is another fantastic suspenseful novel by Miyabe involving the paranormal and vigilante justice. It has interesting, likeable characters and a plot that builds with perfect timing. It is suspenseful, and yet still thoughtful. This is a book that shows a lot about Japanese culture and social problems, and that raises a lot of questions about crime and punishment. This author is very popular in Japan and I think should be a lot more popular in America.
Jun 23, 2010 Asa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked the ideas in thos book, about a young woman living in Tokyo who is a fire-starter and the middle-aged female arson investigator who tries to catch her after she starts killing people. The problem with the book is the way it is written, to me at least, with everything being presented to you as if the author didn't trust that her readers are able to figure out things for themselves.
May 09, 2013 Becky rated it it was ok
This was all a bit Dan Brown for me. Lots of action, plenty of suspending belief, one dimensional characters and a plot that kept the pages turning but never really hooked you in. In fact, I hadn't really realised I'd read the climax until I got to the end, thanks to the inclusion of those annoying "book club questions" at the end. Perhaps this means it was badly translated. Anyway. So so.
Could be described as "Firestarter" meets a Japanese police procedural with a sophisticated vigilante group thrown in. It all works, sort of and I like that Miyabe takes those chances. The female arson detective grounds the story, but a few of the characters aren't just darkly shaded, which is ok, but annoying and glib. All She Was Worth for me was a stronger work.
Jun 25, 2012 Tom rated it liked it
I enjoyed the story more than the writing, or maybe the translation. While I don't read a huge number of translations this is the first one that I was conscious of the translation. There are many places where the dialog or wording seemed contrived to me and I would wonder if it was that way in the native Japanese or a result of the translation.
Sophie Goasguen
Sep 29, 2010 Sophie Goasguen rated it it was amazing
Un très bon roman qui se laisse lire.
Le style de l'auteur est irréprochable.
L'histoire accroche l'attention, car l'auteur fait côtoyer (de manière habile) deux genres littéraires: polar et fantastique. En prime, l'auteur nous offre une analyse sociologique des plus intéressante sur Tokyo et ses habitants.

A lire: la postface!!
A Japanese novel about a young woman named Junko who uses her pyrokinetic abilities to take revenge upon criminals, and a female detective named Chikako who investigates the case as the charred remains pile up. Not the most eloquent of writing (possibly something lost in translation?), but nevertheless I found the story quite compelling.
Feb 25, 2012 Sae-chan rated it really liked it
Shelves: japanese-writers
I found myself not drawn to the mystery, or even the supernatural side of the story, but more to the characters and their struggles in judging their actions.

If I have the power to punish, do I also have the fairness to judge? If I let people do what they think is right, is it my fault if they decide wrong?
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See also 宮部 みゆき.宮部美幸

Miyuki Miyabe (宮部みゆき Miyabe Miyuki) is a popular contemporary Japanese author active in a number of genres including science fiction, mystery fiction, historical fiction, social commentary, and juvenile fiction.
Miyabe started writing novels at the age of 23. She has been a prolific writer, publishing dozens of novels and winning many major literary prizes, including the Yamamo
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“Chikako could see Nobue's flowers reflected in Kaori's eyes. They looked like stars. Like love itself.” 2 likes
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