Staff Review: Koko – Peter Straub

Reviewed by Jilles

Koko - Peter StraubKoko is classic crime by master storyteller Peter Straub, of Ghost Story and The Talisman fame. It is his most gripping and most hallucinatory thriller, exploring the eerie psychic badlands where nightmare and insanity fuse with the perception of reality.

Fifteen years after the Vietnam War a string of murders in Southeast Asia convinces four Vietnam veterans that one of their platoon mates is the murderer. His trademarks are mutilation and a playing card with “Koko” scrawled on it. They decide to go to Vietnam to find him before the police do. Led by the platoon’s one-time lieutenant, who is responsible for a cold-blooded killing of villagers, they follow Koko’s trail to the sleazy underworld of Singapore and Bangkok, finally arriving back in New York where one of them becomes Koko’s latest victim. A look into the killer’s grim childhood uncovers his true identity, as well as the answer to how he became a psychopath.

All the characters are amazingly realistic and complex, and the story keeps haunting you, long after you have finished the book.

Please note that Koko is part 1 of the Blue Rose trilogy. Parts 2 and 3 are Mystery and The Throat, respectively, and they are just as unmissable.

JillesJilles is ABC Amsterdam’s Crime Fiction, Consciousness, Eastern Philosophy, and Film & TV buyer.

More staff reviews can be found here.

An ebook of Koko can be found here.