Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka / Z-View

Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

First sentence…

Tokyo station is packed.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Bullet Train is an international best seller about five assassins on a Japanese bullet train trying to retrieve a mysterious suitcase before one of the others can get to it.  Descriptions of the book that compared it to a stylish modern day yakuza film directed by Quentin Tarantino got my interest.  When I learned that Bullet Train was being made into a action thriller directed by  David (John Wick franchise) Leitch starring Sandra Bullock, Brad Pitt and Zazie Beetz.  I was sold.

I went into Bullet Train with high expectations for a fast moving, exciting tale with interesting characters and action.  What I got was far from that.  The assassins are on the train.  They have names like The Prince, Tangerine and Lemon.  There’s a subplot about a hospitalized boy in danger.  Instead of action we get tons and tons of talk.  Some of the assassins (and the main psychopath) are school children.  Two that work together (Tangerine and Lemon) spend pages and pages talking about Thomas the Train.  The dialogue often seemed forced at best.

I seldom quit a book before finishing it.  I’m usually a pretty good judge of what I’ll like.  Bullet Train sounded like exactly the type of story I’d love.  Sadly it wasn’t.