The Alibi: a Booked ezine

Issue 4, October 7, 2005

Watch BOOKED Investigates Natsuo Kirino's Out
(all times EST):

  • Saturday, Oct. 8, 8PM on ACCESS Television
  • Tuesday, Oct. 11, 12:30PM and 8:30PM, and Wednesday, Oct. 12, 4AM on BookTelevision
  • Friday, Oct. 14, 9PM on CLT
  • Wednesday, Oct. 19, 7AM, 6PM, and 11PM on CourtTV Canada
Contest Announcement!

BOOKED Interactive and the ALIBI are giving away five Canadian Crime fiction prize packs!
Each pack contains copies of Jon Evans’ Blood Price and Giles Blunt’s Forty Words for Sorrow.

The first five BOOKED Club members to send an email to with the answer to the question below will each win a prize pack. Emails must include the following information: your full name, Club username, and mailing address. Winners will be notified by email. Not a member yet? Join the club here.

THE QUESTION: In Jon Evans’ Dark Places, backpacker Paul Woods stumbles across a body in Nepal. How does he know the victim is Canadian?

Prize Pack: Blood Price by Jon Evans, and Forty Words for Sorrow by Giles Blunt
Booked Television: October 1-12
BOOKED investigates Natsuo Kirino's Out Image

Out by Natsuo Kirino ISBN: 1400078377

This book had Japanese men fearing for their lives as in this novel a group of coworkers dismember their friend’s husband in an effort to cover up his murder. BOOKED experts discuss the increasing role of women in violent crime as they dissect the story of four women drawn by a gruesome act into the underbelly of Japanese society.

In this episode, our host Fred Yackman is joined by:

Booked Experts
Writer Rap Sheet: Natsuo Kirino

Natsuo Kirino, the second of three children, moved to Tokyo with her family when she was 14. Married at 24, when she became a mother at 30 she began writing and at 41 made her major debut on the Japanese literary stage. Since then she has written 13 novels and three volumes of short stories. A graduate of the law department of Seikei University, Kirino had a variety of jobs before she came to writing. Beginning with romance novels of the ‘bodice-ripper’ variety, Kirino quickly migrated to hard-boiled crime where she has had immense success.

Kirino’s Out is the first of her books to be translated into English. “The reaction to Out was one of shock. Men were very shocked that a wife could kill her husband, but the most shocking part of it for many people is that it’s written by a married woman who has a family and a child,” she says.

Out’s four main characters are representations of women in modern Japanese society. “In Japan, gender roles are fairly rigid,” explains Kirino. “Masako is a symbol of Japanese women who cannot be promoted in society. Kuniko represents the rampant consumerism Japan went through in the 1980s. Yoshie lives in poverty, and takes care of her ailing mother-in-law, and Yayoi is the typical housewife in the family, always less than the man.”

Kirino researches her stories carefully, always visiting the places in which they are set “so I know how the wind blows, how the asphalt feels”. For Out, she researched dismemberment murder cases. While doing so she discovered that there have been a number of women responsible for these kinds of crimes, “perhaps largely because corpses are too heavy for women to carry.”

Kirino’s only book in English is Out. Grotesque and Soft Cheeks are both being translated into English, with no set North American release dates.

“I’m fascinated by the psychological aspects of crime. When a person is cornered, they do unimaginable things – things that they think they would never do. There is this single moment when a person becomes susceptible to committing a crime. To explore these things is to explore the whole of human psychology.”

--Author Natsuo Kirino

Case Book: Jonathan Alston, Criminal Intelligence Analyst
Jonathan Alston Photo

“Never say that a woman is incapable of a crime. I have seen women commit a whole range of criminal offences, everything from child abuse, domestic violence, homicide, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, gang violence, everything. Women are capable of just as much as men are.”

--Jonathan Alston

Criminal Intelligence Analyst Jonathan Alston talks about the similarities and differences between male and female perpetrators of violent crime:

"There is no question that in recent years there has been a convergence in female and male violent crime. If you looked at all the female offender homicides before 1990, you would find that the vast majority of victims were intimates - husbands, children, other family - of the offender. You would rarely have heard of a woman attacking a stranger such as a prostitute or other vulnerable victim. Now these cases come often. Men still dominate largely in every violent crime category, but women are catching up."

However, gender differences do exist in violent crime. For example, while studies have shown that domestic violence is fairly even in terms of raw numbers or incidents of violence in the home, male violence typically causes more harm.

When it comes to murder, there are other gender differences. For
example male serial killers tend to kill for the sake of killing; female
serial killers tend to kill as a means to a goal, like killing for money
such as for an insurance payout. "There is, as far as I know, no female
serial killer in modern times who, acting alone, has killed principally for
the pleasure of it," says Jonathan, "Aileen Wuornos (dramatized in the movie 'Monster') comes the closest to that in that she was killed out of a need for revenge. But even that was complicated as a pleasure motive as Wuornos suffered from serious mental disorders."

Writer Rap Sheet: Natsuo Kirino

From the Mod:

This week in the forum BOOKED club members talked about Canadian crime fiction - specifically about why we care about reading crime fiction written by fellow Canadians.

Other topics on the go include crime fiction and the 'climate of fear', the importance of realism in fiction, psychopaths as vigilantes, and variations on the crime genre. Also, some helpful club members have been posting touring schedules for some of crime fiction's best writers (thanks to froggy), making it that much easier for us to get our precious novels signed.

If you're interested in participating in any of these discussions, or have a topic you'd like to discuss, drop by the Forum. You must register as a Booked Club member to leave posts in the Forum. Sign up here!

From the Forum this week:

Ms.Seeker: hi all, i'm new to crime fiction and was wondering if anyone could recommend some great cdn crime fiction authors.

Carmen Sandiego: why does it matter that they're cdn?

Tallgirl: I think it's just about supporting Canadian art -- just like watching a Canadian movie. They're not always fantastic (mainly because the budgets aren't up there) but there's something great about it being homegrown. ("Eh? You hoser.")
Also -- just like in Giles Blunt's Blackfly Season, there is a lot of reference to Canadian places that readers can relate to. It doesn't take place in US places like New York, LA or Miami, it's Ontario.

LaWolfe: Well, lots of us have inferiority complexes, so we like to see fellow Canadians achieving some success

Lisafer: Yeah for sure. I'm willing to let some stuff I see in American (for example) fiction slide just because I don't know if it's referring to some subtlety of culture that I don't understand or know about, whereas with Canadian writing about Canada it's on my turf.
But what about, for example, Canadian writers who weren't born here, and write about the place that they're from rather than where they are? Like for example Peter Robinson, who is from the north of England as is Inspector Banks. He lives in Toronto though, and is considered Canadian. Does that count as Canadian crime fiction?

Last Words

Coming up on BOOKED Television:

BOOKED investigates Jon Evans' Dark Places. Expert lineup for this show: Intelligence Officer, Roger Adkin; Crown Prosecutor, Technology and Internet Crime, Steve Bilodeau; Journalist and Novelist, Rita Feutl; Hacker and Computer Programmer, "John".
Check Broadcast Dates and Times

Look for the next Alibi - we'll introduce you to author Jon Evans, and Crown Prosecutor Steve Bilodeau will talk about the Internet and the law.

Here are the upcoming books, in order, that our experts will be dissecting in the weeks ahead.
Get reading!

Dark Places - Jon Evans
The Closers - Michael Connelly
Blackfly Season - Giles Blunt
Blood Memory - Greg Iles
The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammett
Memory Book - Howard Engel
Shock Wave - James O. Born
Cross Bones - Kathy Reichs
He Who Fears the Wolf - Karin Fossum

For more information about the booklist or upcoming shows, visit

Newsletter Admin Centre

Read Privacy Policy

Contact Us

Booked Interactive
Reel Girls Media
9860A - 33rd Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
T6N 1C6
T: (780) 488-0440
Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm MST

If you enjoyed this ezine, please forward it to your friends!