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People Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucie Blackman
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People Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucie Blackman

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,978 Ratings  ·  1,060 Reviews
An incisive and compelling account of the case of Lucie Blackman. Lucie Blackman - tall, blonde, and 21 years old - stepped out into the vastness of Tokyo in the summer of 2000, and disappeared forever. The following winter, her dismembered remains were found buried in a seaside cave.

The seven months in between had seen a massive search for the missing girl, involving Jap
Hardcover, 404 pages
Published March 7th 2011 by Jonathan Cape (first published December 28th 2010)
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In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonTrue Hollywood Noir by Dina Di MambroHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
True Crime--Well Written
6th out of 221 books — 217 voters
Beautiful Ruins by Jess WalterThe Round House by Louise ErdrichBring Up the Bodies by Hilary MantelBehind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine BooThis Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz
New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2012
30th out of 100 books — 492 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul Bryant
Feb 26, 2011 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
This is a page-turner in which very little happens but a whole lot is discovered, about Japan particularly, and also about the grand-canyon-sized gulf of mutual squalor called the sex trade. It’s a sad and, well, banal story – Western girl goes to foreign parts to make some big money and never comes back. One day she walks out into the sunshine and eight months after that she’s dug up from a grave by the sea. Could that really make 400 pages of hypnotic reading?

Lucie Blackman was a tall striking
Even after reading the entirety of this seemingly interminably long book, I'm not exactly clear on who these supposed "people" are who "eat darkness." What I do know is everything (and quite a bit more than) I ever wanted to know about the disappearance/murder of 21-year-old British national, Lucie Blackman , in July of 2000.

Why, you ask, did I think I would want the ins and outs of the case? Well, for one, I like to treat myself to a bit of trashy true crime now and then. Two, the single chapt

Parry’s People Who Eat Darkness stands out for an almost otherworldly quality as it exposes the darker side of Tokyo while detailing the disappearance and murder of 20-something British woman Lucie Blackman. This quality true crime novel is expertly written and its subject meticulously researched and treated with a sensitive touch.

The book shines when describing various things unique to Japan, things many Westerners might find exceedingly strange. Here is an intimate por
Cindy Knoke
Jul 14, 2012 Cindy Knoke rated it it was amazing
This is a gripping, fascinating and thoroughly researched book. It covers the facts surrounding the disappearance of Lucie Blackman a twenty one-year-old British citizen who was briefly employed as a bar hostess in the Rappongi district in Japan. But the author with his meticulous research provides so much more than the details of this very tragic story.

The author was a British foreign correspondent who has lived for many, many years in Japan and has a deep respect for, and knowledge of, the cu
Laura Leaney
Jun 01, 2012 Laura Leaney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: True crime afficianados
This is a weirdly engrossing account of the Lucie Blackman case. Although I was alive and reading a newspaper in 2000, I do not remember reading about the search for her - or the resulting trial of Joji Obara, the man accused of her murder. The details of the case (as they are combined with other cases/crimes/psychological depravity) are fairly grisly, but more absorbing is Lloyd Parry's examination of the sociological and cultural aspects of Japan. And although it became a little tiresome, I al ...more
So many emotions and things I want to say about this book, but it's 1:30am and I need some sleep (even tho it might be hard to sleep after that). I'll come back and write a review later.
There is something so disgustingly exploitative about a true crime novel. Someone has suffered a gruesome and unfair death, leaving a horde of shellshocked family and friends behind, and then there is an author and his publisher, recounting the story for profit, and finally there is us, the readers, who feel a wispy nebula of sadness for the individual’s terrible fate, but who mostly feel a curiosity, an excitement to know all the criminal details, the bloodier the better.

Somehow Parry, a Britis
Jul 24, 2012 Carol rated it liked it
You kn0w going in that this isn't going to pretty and probably won't have a happy ending. That seems to be the nature of True Crime.

People Who Eat Darkness begins in the year 2000 with the disappearance of Lucie Blackman, once a British Airways flight attendant, who comes to Tokyo to be a hostess in the seamy Roppongi district. How did Lucie end up in here? The author, Richard Lloyd Parry does a thorough investigation and reporting of the case. Like the best of the true crime writers he does hi
There are some cases we read about in newspapers, or hear about on the news, or see in episodes of Dateline wherein we as the viewers know with every fiber of our being that the suspect is the one who did whatever horrific crime the story is about, and yet... justice has a different way of handling it. And we all sit here and rage about it, oh, the injustice, the unfairness of it all, is the jury blind.

But what it comes down, in most of these aggravating situations, is evidence, or, more importa
Nancy Oakes
Sep 10, 2015 Nancy Oakes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I seriously could not put this book down once I started it.

If you want to read the longer version I wrote for my blog, just click here. Otherwise, read on.

In the area of true crime, when I come across a journalist whose writing isn't motivated by the sensational, or who has taken years to research his subject before publishing, I'm generally not disappointed. Such is the case with People Who Eat Darkness, a very intelligently-written book that moves far afield of the usual true crime output. T
Valancourt Books
I can't remember the last time I was so engrossed in a story. True crime is not something I typically read but I scrolled past the name PEOPLE WHO EAT DARKNESS and of course I had to have another look. I started off listening to the audiobook but quickly switched to the physical copy after the prologue and first two chapters. If you don't know the name Lucie Blackman, she was a young woman from the UK living with her longtime friend in Tokyo's Roppongi district where she worked as a foreign 'hos ...more
Jun 12, 2012 Liviania rated it really liked it
So what sparked my interest in PEOPLE WHO EAT DARKNESS, the true crime account of the disappearance of British Lucie Blackman in Tokyo during the summer of 2000? The back blurb promised cultural and psychological insight on the level of Truman Capote's IN COLD BLOOD. It touched on one of my academic interests, East Asian culture, and one of my favorite books.

The comparison to IN COLD BLOOD on the back does PEOPLE WHO EAT DARKNESS no favors. Richard Lloyd Parry's lengthy and detailed account of t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 24, 2013 Lilian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After I finished the prologue, I already had chills going down my spine. It was not a good idea to start this in bed/before going to sleep, since there was this "a ghost is sitting on my bed smoking a cigar" scene. I've been reading a number of dark books lately, I didn't know if I could get through another and still have a good night's sleep (being the scaredy cat that I am.) I debated immediately returning the book to the library, but ultimately decided to stick it out. I had a plan where I wo ...more
Deborah Biancotti
Apr 27, 2011 Deborah Biancotti rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fic
I'm usually disappointed by true crime writing: it's too frequently sensationalist, melodramatic, & badly written. Not that I think those 3 things are unrelated.

Richard Lloyd Parry's writing is beautiful. He describes the "migraine hum of the expressway", and the Tokyo drinking places that were "tight with the torsos of American sailors and marines". He talks through the psychological profiles of the major players -- Lucie Blackman, her father, her sister, her mother, her string of still-lov
L.A. Starks
Jan 09, 2016 L.A. Starks rated it it was amazing
Fascinating true crime story of Lucie Blackman's disappearance in Japan. From Parry's reporting readers learn about not only Lucie and her attacker, but also much about Japan itself.
Mar 24, 2016 Jeanette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has the wrong title. It's outstanding and is closer to a dissertation for Japanese culture and criminal/justice system coupled with intense anthropology- and that title makes it seem like some kind of yellow journalism thrill sheet.

There are no words to convey how aghast I feel upon this depth of understanding for the Japanese policing and trial systems. They are abominable. Not only in this case but in their very constituency and processes.

In this case, the study of exact detail by R
Mar 05, 2013 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well crafted true crime story. Learned alot about the Japanese semi-underground "hostess" culture as well as their criminal justice system. Quite chilling at times, but what Parry did best (IMO) was in his written observations of grief in all its manifestations. Writing about how the family/friends of Lucie Blackman dealt with losing her is brilliantly penned and framed within the context of the long search for Lucie, through the investigation, the subsequent trial and the aftermath.

As an aside,
Joanne  Clarke Gunter
I won't recap the crime that befell Lucie Blackman since so many other reviewers here have done so. The first half of this book I would rate 4 stars, but by the second half, I was so tired of the book going nowhere because the trial of Obara, which played out over 6 years, slowed the book down to almost a standstill. Jurisprudence in Japan is very different from the U.S. in that cases do not even come to trial unless the defendant is thought to be almost assuredly guilty. Yet because Obara playe ...more
Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk)
May 04, 2016 Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk) rated it really liked it
If you already know the faith of Lucie Blackman, the book of Richard Lloyd Parry will break your sense of security only a little. It will just show you that it does not matter if you leave your continent, merge into someone else's culture - the evil is awake and waiting, behind fake smiles, behind studied bows, behind seeming elegance. It reminds of an amazing thriller, yet it is so much more terrifying because it is real.
If you know nothing of Lucie - you will end up crawling with fear. There
Oct 02, 2012 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Lucie Blackman and Louise Phillips were two young British girls who travelled to Tokyo, Japan to live and work. They took jobs as hostesses at a Tokyo nightspot. One afternoon in July 2000, Lucie told Louise that she was going out with a Japanese businessman and would be back by early evening. She never returned. Author Richard Lloyd Parry covered the story of Lucie’s disappearance for The Times of London. Once I began to read this story, I found it riveting—it was hard to put down. It is a firs ...more
Charlene Intriago
An absolutely horrible thing to happen to anyone or any family, but Richard Lloyd Parry does an outstanding job of investigative reporting put into book format. It's the story of Lucie Blackman, her family, friends, coworkers, and Joji Obara, a really sick man. It's hard to understand the lure Tokyo had on Lucie Blackman especially after we get to know the seedy side of that city. And, I am still having a hard time understanding Lucie's father, Tim Blackman, but people have different ways of cop ...more
May 24, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
May 24, 2015 Sookie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2015
Parry unveils Japanese "hostess" sub-culture that has gained notoriety in the way it gets presented. To anyone outside the culture, it sounds both immoral and illegal. Parry spends a great deal of time in presenting exhausting background about the said culture, sub-culture, the involved families, people and Japanese legal system. There is tediousness in the way search for Lucie progresses and if I, as a reader is frustrated with the way investigation is conducted, I can't possibly imagine what t ...more
Dec 06, 2015 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full review coming soon. Immediate reaction: a well organized account of the life, search and murder of a young foreign woman who trusted the wrong man. This was superbly written.
La Petite Américaine
Dec 30, 2012 La Petite Américaine rated it it was ok
Shelves: sucked, japan, biography, ugh
I bought this on impulse (damn Kindle)because the title was on some Amazon "Best Non-Fiction of 2012" list that came in my email. Best of 2012? Heh.

People Who Eat Darkness is the story of a Tokyo murder that happened in 2000, sort of like In Cold Blood meets Murakami. The only problem? People Who Eat Darkness has none of the Murakami and an excess of Capote.

What I'm saying is, all of these true-crime novels, from In Cold Blood to Helter Skelter to People Who Eat Darkness, are boring as hell. Th
The book is a thoroughly researched account of the life and disappearance of Lucie Blackman in Japan in the year 2000 and the man accused of her murder, Joji Obara. Richard Lloyd Parry is an amazing writer, not only was he able to create a very vivid representation of Japan and the its culture, but he also managed to give an objective perspective about the events and all the people whose life was changed because of this tragic event. It’s not just a retelling of what happened before and after Lu ...more
Jul 22, 2015 Gerry rated it really liked it
'People Who Eat Darkness' is a true crime book that reads like a thriller and as such Richard Lloyd Parry has produced an extraordinary, excellent and unputdownable book.

The setting is Japan, the perpetrator of the crime is Joji Obara, the unfortunate victim Lucie Blackman and the suffering family are Tim and Jane, the parents, Sophie and Rupert, the siblings plus many other friends. And it is an incredible story from start to finish, one that brings tears to the eyes and anguish to the heart a
Jun 04, 2015 Pustulio rated it liked it
Tres y media. Sigo pensando que después de tanto tiempo que no podamos dar medias estrellas a los libros QUIBOLE!

Bueno pasemos al libro. Una historia bastante interesante, y aunque el autor a veces se va por la tangente para hacer el libro un poco más largo, no acaba arruinando el libro.

La historia va que una morra de Inglaterra para pagar sus deudas y porque es dinero fácil se va a Japón a trabajar en Roppongi, que es como la zona de tolerancia de Tokyo, es muy común que muchachas extranjeras
Jun 19, 2012 Scott rated it it was amazing
This is a smart, sharp, skin-crawling true-crime page-turner about Lucie Blackman, a young, pretty Englishwoman who, while working as a hostess in Tokyo's Roppongi district (the sleazy part of town frequented by foreigners and the Japanese who lust after them), disappeared under strange circumstances, and stayed missing until... well, I didn't know, or had totally forgotten, the story of Lucie, and so read this totally cold, and, as much as possible, I suggest you do the same. So: you'll get no ...more
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