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People Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucie Blackman

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  19,135 ratings  ·  1,765 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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Xanthi I found this: "borrowed it (with the author's encouragement) from the title of a Japanese book, 'Yami o guu hitobito', which translates as 'People Who…moreI found this: "borrowed it (with the author's encouragement) from the title of a Japanese book, 'Yami o guu hitobito', which translates as 'People Who Eat Darkness'. In Japanese, "eating darkness" means flirting with the dark side."(less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  19,135 ratings  ·  1,765 reviews

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Paul Bryant
Feb 24, 2011 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
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting true crime account of a young British woman who went missing in Tokyo. At times Parry goes on a bit too much with excessive minutia but this is a fascinating look at the Japanese system of justice. Hmmm.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it

In 2000, a 21-year-old English girl named Lucie Blackman - unhappy with her job as an airline hostess, deeply in debt, and wanting an adventure - moved to Japan with her friend Louise Phillips.

Lucie Blackman

Lucie and Louise rented a cheap apartment and took jobs as hostesses in the 'Casablanca' nightclub in Roppongi, a district of Tokyo teeming with nightspots and night life.

The Roppongi district in Japan is teeming with nightspots

The job of a hostess was to chat up Japanese businessmen and get
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rather seldom read real life stories, however, chose this one as it was on a GR Friend's list. The book, written by a foreign correspondent living in Japan, is an account of a tragedy that took place in 2000 and gives all details of it, but also provides the reader with a good insight into a Japanese society, including court procedures. ...more
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 ch
Michael Ferro
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read PEOPLE WHO EAT DARKNESS faster than any true crime book I've ever read, though, admittedly, I am not a big true crime reader.

That's going to change.

Richard Lloyd Parry has written an extremely engrossing, fascinating, and well-researched book that examines the darker side of our human nature. Despite being one of the safest countries on Earth, Japan was host to an atrocious crime that turned the lives of one English family, and much of the world, on its head back at the turn of the centur

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 13, 2012 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
Paquita Maria Sanchez
So, a dirty little secret of mine is that I love true crime. Ever since, at nine years old, I found a book about Jeffrey Dahmer in a drawer in my grandmother's guest bedroom and read it all the way through in one sitting, I have been stuck on the idea of people who can be revoltingly awful without remorse. I have always been a person who overkills (no pun intended) on the guilt when I do something shitty (which is often, hence: nagging depression and anxiety), so the idea that there are people i ...more
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
Sam Quixote
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lucie Blackman was deep in debt and her poorly paid job as a British Airways stewardess wasn’t going to get her out of it. And then the 21 year old heard about making big money in Japan as a hostess to Japanese salarymen: paid bar companions to talk to men, light their cigarettes, pour their drinks, and sing karaoke; there is no sexual component to hostessing as touching is forbidden. Attractive foreign women, like Lucie, are seen as exotic in Japan and even in the seedy Tokyo district of Roppon ...more
Nancy Oakes
Jan 16, 2013 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
Laura Leaney
Feb 13, 2012 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. ...more
This was a very interesting book. It told of the murder of Lucie Blackman, some history on Koreans immigrating to Japan and some facts on Japanese culture and their legal system.

In regard to Lucie Blackman, I had no idea young women moved to Tokyo to "hostess" in clubs to earn money. The book tells how her family and friends dealt with and live with what happened to her. And what happened to her is horrific.

The trial section of the book got to be very long and detailed, I suppose because the tr
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I finished the last page I sat in silent mourning for Lucie. Richard L. Parry is another journalist with an unprecedented talent for connecting his readers to the people in his books. His caring and respectful treatment of this story will remain in my memory for a long time. Parry avoids passing judgement. Neither does he come across as a writer that needs to be seen as noble for doing this. There’s no self aggrandizing here. Rather, we get a journalist telling a story that in less capable ...more
Johann (jobis89)
I loved this book from start to finish. I’m sad it’s over. A new favourite true crime book!
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Disturbing ... engrossing ... very difficult to put down!
Jun 26, 2012 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 28, 2013 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,
``Laurie Henderson
For fans of the book In Cold Blood this true crime tale should be a riveting read. ...more
L.A. Starks
Jan 05, 2016 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. ...more
I have really been enjoying true crime lately, and have had this on my Audible wishlist for a long time - nearly 2 years. With a title like that, it had to be interesting, right? Kinda. The story of missing Lucie Blackman was interesting and quite layered and varied, and ultimately tragic, but... not what I thought it would be from the title. More on that in a bit.

There WILL be spoilers below, so proceed at your own risk.

OK. So, as I mentioned, the title for this book is... misleading. This is
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-true-crime, 2016
One of the first true crime books I ever read and I’d still class it as one of the scariest. Lucie Blackman worked as a hostess in the Roppongi district of Tokyo. Although this sounds sordid it’s actually more of a meet up, chat and light my cigarette scenario and I guess a chance for the men of East Asia to enjoy the company of a beautiful blonde Western Girl. At the age of 21 Blackman had gone to Tokyo in an attempt to earn enough to pay off her debts and on the 1st July 2000 she went on a dou ...more
Jun 12, 2012 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
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This true crime book covers, to the extent possible, the life of Lucie Blackman, a young woman from England who moved to Japan to become a bar hostess to try and work off some of the debts she'd worked up early in her working life. It's also the portrait of "Joji Obara" (one of many pseudonyms), a serial rapist who lured Lucie into his home with the promise of a cell phone--a much bigger deal in 2001 than it is now--and who was instrumental in her disappearance and post-mortem dismemberment.

Dec 31, 2012 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
Jan 13, 2016 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 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fucked up, creepy, extremely well-written, and profoundly sad. This one’s about the disappearance of 21-year-old British woman Lucie Blackman in Tokyo in the summer of 2000. Lucie was a hostess at a night club in the city’s Roppongi district. In this context the word “hostess” basically means just being paid to flirt and be friendly with the club’s patrons, light their cigarettes, mix their whiskey-and-waters, and so on and so forth. Lucie failed to return to the home she shared with her roommat ...more
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Richard Lloyd Parry was born in north-west England, and has lived since 1995 in Tokyo, where he is the Asia Editor of The Times newspaper of London. He has reported from twenty-eight countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq and North Korea. In 2005, he was named the UK's foreign correspondent of the year. He has also written for Granta, the New York Times and the London Review of Books. ...more

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