Isaac Adamson (Author)
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A serial killer with a penchant for severed hands. A watch that runs backward and forward - at the same time. An Eastern European gangster known only as Rumplestiltskin. The Nazi invasion of Prague, Soviet-era Czech secret police, 16th century alchemy and black magic - mild-mannered American Lee Holloway never thought any of these would intrude upon his ordinary life.

But that was before he received a mysterious letter from a woman named Vera, a cryptic missive implying Lee's estranged brother Paul, who disappeared years ago in Prague, was actually murdered in an attempt to steal The Rudolf Complication, a priceless watch commissioned by the eccentric Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, rumored to hold the power of eternal life. When Lee goes to Prague to investigate, his involvement with the enigmatic Vera, as well as the guidance offered from a mysterious travel book, triggers a series of violent and bizarre events that force Lee to confront disturbing truths about his brother as well as himself. Unless Lee can reconstruct the final hours of his brother's life, and separate truth from myth in this haunted city, he might not get out of Prague alive.

Complication is a twisted, mind-bending, contemporary thrill ride- in the spirit of such mind-bending narratives as House of Leaves and Memento.-set in the dark heart of Europe, a place where old ghosts and ancient legends still walk the streets.

Product Details

$15.95  $14.67
Soft Skull Press
Publish Date
April 10, 2012
5.5 X 0.9 X 8.2 inches | 0.65 pounds
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About the Author

Isaac Adamson is the author of Tokyo Suckerpunch and other books in the Billy Chaka mystery series. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two children. He doesn't own a watch.



"A freshly imagined work, [Complication] boasts clever twists and revelations right up until the end." --Kirkus

"Adamson's atmospheric and satisfyingly twisted tale... could easily have collapsed under the weight of its own complexity, but Adamson pulls it off with style and a whopper of a twist." --Publishers Weekly


"The hip but hysterical book of my dreams-Adamson glides through his punk-noir world like he's channeling Raymond Chandler."
-Baltimore Sun

"This pop romp through the Tokyo of martial arts, yakuza, and legendary geisha has more sly smarts than a Hong Kong gangster shoot-'em-up."
-Publisher's Weekly


"Faux-Chandleresque pomo-picaresque and sort of engagingly, stubbornly goofy, these are novels written by someone young enough to never have thought in terms of "genre" in the first place." - William Gibson, author of Neuromancer, Idoru and Zero History

"Billy Chaka's adventures are as vibrantly hypnotic as the best Japanese anime. Adamson's wild, witty whodunit deftly sends up the genre while providing extreme doses of excitement."
-Publisher's Weekly

"Adamson, as he did in his book Tokyo Suckerpunch, evokes an animated Tokyo-as-Toontown that is simultaneously vivid, vibrant, gaudy and in glorious decline. It's a big adventure, but Adamson's teen rag writer takes it all with a shrug."
-Time Asia

"well-written, observant and funny. Isaac Adamson does a high-wire act, balancing silliness with credibility."
-Asian Review of Books

Chosen for Powell Books "14 Favorites" (Spring 2002)
Chosen as one of NewCity Chicago's Top 5 Books of 2002


"Isaac Adamson paints an ultra-modern Tokyo that contrasts with its enigmatic history like neon against a dark sky. The characters resonate, the mystery engages, and the rich narrative takes us on a vivid tour through a culture that few of us will ever see. You can't ask for more than that from storyteller. "
-Christopher Moore
author of Lamb and Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story

"[Dreaming Pachinko] blends noir atmosphere with broad satire; Adamson turns what might have been a fairly straightforward mystery into a splendid romp, an offbeat adventure with wacky characters, oddball dialogue, plenty of laughs, and style to spare. This over-the-top, delightfully weird series is well on its way to making the jump from cult favorite to mainstream success."
-Booklist May '01 2003

"Like its predecessors, this third Billy Chaka crime novel is an exuberant mix of urban noir and anime-style action, salted with cheeky humor- Chaka flashes his trademark deadpan, Chandleresque wit and suffers a constant barrage of inventive physical injuries at the hands of both friends and enemies. Adamson sticks close to the hybrid formula he has perfected; his fans will find this a familiar but welcome addition to his oeuvre."
-Publisher's Weekly

"Noir light: charming, funny, satisfying."
-Kirkus Review

"Dreaming Pachinko" is full of vibrant images straight out of Tokyo and characters that are so 3D that your mind's eye will be bursting by the time you finish the last chapter. Every thing from a hotel receptionist with a handle bar mustache nicknamed "The Walrus" to a house that's so postmodern it makes the Cowboy-bebop world Adamson paints more lifelike while still retaining a wonderfully cinematic feel-Adamson's witty commentary and quirky character intermix with classic pulp fiction components to make a punky style all its own. "

"Adamson describes Chaka's Tokyo in ways that make us see the paradox of a city that exists halfway between a thickly tradition-laden past, and a shockingly Neon-Chrome future. This Tokyo is exotic, unfathomable, and decidedly non-Western. It's almost science fiction, almost pre-Blade Runner-put aside the wit, and the great descriptive voice and you're still left with a good old fashioned Whodunit. Dreaming Pachinko can be highly recommended to anyone."

"A Dream of a hardboiled noir thriller-Chaka is a hero Generation X should love. Dreaming Pachinko is a fastball right down the middle, exciting and smart, puckish and suspenseful. Adamson should be read on beach blankets and anywhere else discriminating readers lie, sit, stand, hang, or squat."

..".an imaginative and fun and at times very wild ride through modern, formless, neon Tokyo. A great tale."


"With a shifty plot, shadowy settings, oddball characters and dollops of Bunraku lore sprinkled throughout, Kinki Lullaby is unfailingly entertaining."
-Washington Post

"Anyone who has followed the Billy Chaka series knows that author Adamson's approach to crime fiction is innovative, dark, idiosyncratic and fast-paced. The rapid-fire conclusion of Kinki Lullaby cements Adamson as a name to watch."
-January Magazine

"Adamson combines noir mystery style with elements of Japanese animation: weird characters, fast-paced plot, quirky humor. Even now, in its fourth book, the series still feels fresh and exciting, and the author's jokes still hit their mark. Billy's the kind of guy they ought to make a movie about-or, at the very least, put in hard covers for a change."

"It's rather like Lost in Translation meets Raymond Chandler and The Big Sleep with Ridley Scott handling the visuals...Adamson manages to capture the pathos and ennui associated with overwhelming urbanization, and the story floats along like some sort of waking dream, a fevered fusion of noir sensibilities and madcap mayhem."

"I must plead mea culpa to the cardinal sin of judging a book by its cover. Like the covers on Issac Adamson's predecessors, "Tokyo Sucker Punch" and "Hokkaido Popsicle," "Kinki Lullaby" is festooned with garish artwork, and I was forced to overcome a certain initial distaste to purchase and read it. I'm certainly glad I did: The book hums with lively prose that, title aside, won't put readers to sleep."