"I jostled her shoulder and noticed when I did that her skin was cold to the touch....her entire torso was covered in tattoos from her collar bone to the midline of her thighs. All were of kimono motifs-fans, incense burners, peonies, and scrolls."
This ghastly scene was the last thing Ruth Bennett expected to encounter when she agreed to translate a novel by a long-forgotten Japanese writer. Returning to her childhood home in Kyoto had promised safety, solitude, and diversion from the wounds she encountered in the U.S. But Ruth soon finds the storyline in the novel leaking into her everyday life. Fictional characters turn out to be real, and the past catches up with the present in an increasingly threatening way.
As Ruth struggles to unravel the cryptic message hidden in the kimono tattoo, she is forced to confront a vicious killer along with her own painful family secrets.