The bastard child of Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 and Stephen King’s CARRIE, KAI explores how one innocent girl becomes the target of enormous rage living inside another girl-who is seemingly from another world.
Satsuki Takamoto is an invisible otaku teenager in Hiroshima. The only thing she has going for her is the upcoming birth of her sister. No longer will she be alone. But when her mother has a gory miscarriage right in front of her, Satsuki loses her one chance at happiness. She spirals into a deep depression, shutting out everyone and everything by locking herself inside her bedroom-for good. Her sadness, however, pales in comparison to her uncontrollable anger. It spreads like a nuclear fire, ambivalent to what or who it destroys, and won’t stop until Satsuki accepts her sister’s death.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in Evanston, Illinois, Seul Bi Rissiello can’t sleep because every time she closes her eyes, she relives her adoptive parents’ gruesome deaths. Why is she thinking so much about them now, ten years afterward? As she struggles with working at a clinic for the mentally disturbed, Seul Bi starts to unravel under the weight of living a lonely life and being twice an orphan. Her life devolves into a series of ominous and dangerous hallucinations that threaten not only her sanity, but her very existence as well.
As both girls struggle to understand what is happening to them, their enigmatic connection comes into focus, raising the question: What if all the suffering in your life was carefully choreographed by somebody you’ve never met?
Winner of the National Indie Excellence Award for Best Horror Book of 2016
REVIEWS FOR KAI:
"Two young women- a Japanese schoolgirl in Hiroshima and a Korean orphan in the US- seemingly living parallel lives are drawn together in a Japanese horror story of interconnections and dark imaginings. Through the fevered imaginations of its protagonists Vasconi takes us on an ever-changing journey across oceans and continents and through a maze of sexual tensions, horrific miscarriages, and malevolent thoughts, against the ever-present backdrop of the Atomic Bomb and its searing disfigurements. Yet through the clouds of nuclear dystopia come rays of transformative light in a compelling finale that grips the imagination and leaves one looking back at the interconnections at the heart of this gripping tale."
-Ian Reader, Author of Religious Violence in Contemporary Japan: The Case of Aum Shinrikyo
"KAI combines horror, drama, mystery, and philosophy in an engaging, gory and violent character study of two young girls." -IndieReader.
"The style immediately reminded me of 1Q84...Like Murakami, Derek manages to create a very blurry line between what is real and what isn’t. The detailed descriptions and graphic imagery really helps create the world both Satsuki and Seul Bi live in, and the difficulties they go through. If you’re squeamish though, be warned, as some scenes in the book can be quite difficult to stomach." -Nihon in London
"This book is quite an eloquent, yet biting read: the slow, creeping, eventually brutal feel of the piece is truly terrifying at times. It’s got a lot of nuance and subtle pacing that makes Asian-inspired horror fiction great, all the while drawing from American Gothic to make a really eclectic, varied feel – and all the more disturbing for it. To be blunt, it’s weird as hell, in the best of ways." Self-Publishing Review
"Derek weaves a compelling tale in ‘Kai’. The story shifts focus smoothly between Satsuki and Seul Bi, from the understated opening chapters, right through to the grand reveal of just what it is that connects these two girls. Most importantly the characters you are introduced to are believable, making the occasional visceral moments all the more potent." -Ross Lovell, Emily Loves Japan Official Blog