Book Review – Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa


Title: Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa

Author: Benjamin Constable

Genre: Mystery

Length: 352

Rating: 3 Star


What writer Benjamin Constable needs is a real-life adventure wilder than his rampant imagination. And who better to shake up his comfortable Englishman-in-Paris routine than the enigmatic Tomomi “Butterfly” Ishikawa, who has just sent a cryptic suicide note?

She’s planted a slew of clues—in the pages of her journal, on the hard drive of her computer, tucked away in public places, under flowerpots, and behind statues. Heartbroken, confused, and accompanied by an imaginary cat, Ben embarks upon a scavenger hunt leading to charming and unexpected spaces, from the hidden alleys of Paris to the cobblestone streets of New York City.

But Butterfly’s posthumous messages are surprisingly well informed for the words of a dead person, and they’re full of confessions of a past darkened by insanity, betrayal, and murder. The treasures Ben is unearthing are installments of a gruesome memoir. Now he must draw a clear line between the real and surreal if he is to save himself, Butterfly, and what remains of their crazy and amazing friendship.


I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

In terms of structure there were a lot of issues. I have found this to be the case with a lot of NetGalley books and because I like to believe that authors pay much more attention to what they are doing even in a first draft that these structural stuff ups are intentional. I don’t know if its to spot something if people publish leaks or something or to discourage that kind of thing it is greatly annoying. Its very hard to just focus on the story when different people speaking isn’t broken up into different sections or when just one person speaking starts a new line multiple times after a couple of words. It also went from bold and italics for apparently no reason all the time. Very very distracting. I know that leaks would be an issue, but when there is so much wrong with the structure of the book its really hard just to focus on the story and rate it justly.

Now for the story. This book confused the hell out of me. It started off not confusing at all but the more you read of it the more confused you get and you just question everyone’s sanity and yours because you got sucked into their madness. You start off with a friend telling another in a letter that they are committing suicide and that they have set up a treasure hunt for them to follow and receive things if they work out the clues. This starts off both cute and fun, though a little weird because you know that both these people are a little weird, buts that’s it. A weird fun little treasure hunt. One joke that happened though at was funny got carried out too long. A piece of paper gets referred as a shit of paper at one point and from then on that’s what they are always referred to as. The joke got old very quickly. I don’t know anyone who would have found it funny for as long as it was played out.

The first sign of weirdness that happens is that our main character has a much large than the normal house cat. But he’s imaginary. He can’t talk or anything, even though he’s an imaginary cat and could make him talk if he wished. He talks to the cat all the time though, and it follows him. I personally love this cat and his relationship. The cat is awesome. Its the only relationship I love in this whole book though. Everyone is is bloody nuts with everyone else.

The treasure hunt doesn’t really get weird until it leads him to do a different country. Its there that we seriously start to leave the land of cute and fun. Our dead friend keeps telling him stories about how she has killed a bunch of people and our main character just kinda goes along with it. Then we find out she isn’t dead and when our main character finally hunts her down she takes him captive and constantly threatens to kill him with a gun. Still our guy just goes along with it. In the end she kills herself and lets him go, and he still just goes along with it. In the end he says goodbye and makes a comment about it all being very strange. Well no hell. It was all very strange. Very very strange. What kind of a person would just roll with everything that happened? Like I said, I question everyones including mines sanity.

This book was simply really confusing and a bit mind boggling. It was an experience though, and I would recommend it to people for the experience. It was a bit hard to put a genre on it for this reason.