Japanese crime writer Natsuo Kirino first became known to English readers with the publication of Out, the 2003 translation of Auto (1997), her harrowing tale of four apparently demure women suddenly engaging in murder and body dismemberment. The success of Out led to the 2007 translation of Gurotesuku (2003; Grotesque), a mystery in which Kirino continues her focus on women and crime. Grotesque, the story of a double murder of two Tokyo prostitutes, reveals as much about a perpetrator’s deviant mind as it does about the severe peer pressures and bullying confronting young Japanese women.
In Japan, Kirino’s crime fiction has won her six major awards. Out was nominated for the 2004 Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel, the first nomination for a translation from Japanese. With her strong focus on female protagonists and perpetrators, Kirino is part of a group of innovative Japanese female crime writers such as Miyuki Miyabe who have been challenging, changing, and developing crime fiction in Japan since the 1990’s. Kirino’s combination of deep psychological insights and her stark depiction of social and economic pressures has made her crime fiction internationally popular.