Synopsis: (From the back of the book)
Undercover detective Msaki Shiiba has one mission in life – to eradicate guns in Japan. It’s an overwhelmingly tough job, but Shiiba’s willing to give up his body, his soul, even his life to achieve his goal. He’s also willing to use anyone to get what he wants.
For almost a year now, Shiiba has been using Keigo Munechika as his “S,” his spy, to get information on the gun dealings of the Yakuza world. Shiiba uses his body in exchange for Munechika’s sensitive information… and only his body as far as Shiiba is concerned. Shiiba vows their relationship will not go beyond that.
A new case and some new information further complicate this difficult relationship. When a rowdy young man with a penchant for piercing and an enigmatic Yakuza leader cross paths with the young detective, sins of hte past are unearthed once more. Sins— sins that just might shatter the fragile bond between the detective and his “S.”
I love the first two books in the series so I have high expectations for Book 3. The title for this volume is Split. Based on the title, I imagined that it would bring out the angst.
And it did not disappoint.
Saki Aida mentioned in the Afterword of the book that the theme has to have “breaking” and “cracking.” Let me tell you, a lot of things did break in this book.
While Shiiba had already come in terms about his feelings for Munechika, he also felt like he wanted more. This posed a problem to their relationship. As much as the Detective x Yakuza thing looked sexy in BL, it was difficult walking on that fine line for our main characters.
It didn’t help that after the events with Nagakura, Shiiba started doubting his resolve on being a detective. His previous decision was put into question once more, especially with the news of a possible suspect for his sister’s case.
Kuro and Godou
Meanwhile, the two new characters shook Shiiba’s world. On one of his rounds, Shiiba met a flashy youngster with a penchant for piercings, named Kuro. Kuro pursued Shiiba while also trying to help Shiiba in his investigations which often ends up as a waste of time.
In one of the instances where Kuro drags Shiiba in a bar, Shiiba met another head of Yakuza named Godou. He is described as someone having the oppressing feeling like Munechika but with fake gentlemanly manners. Munechika seemed to know him too. To make matters worse, Godou acted like he had an upper hand to everyone. Even to Munechika.
When Kuro and Godou appeared, Taylor Swift’s song “I Knew You Were Trouble,” come to mind. They both seemed like someone you’d stay away from despite looking friendly. It’s as if they’re baiting Shiiba and waiting for him to make a mistake.
Kuro, despite looking like a happy-go-lucky bocchan, had a violent streak. On his first meeting with Shiiba, one of his friends picked a fight with Shiiba. When the guy didn’t listen to Kuro’s warning, he kicked the guy and said “leave and don’t appear in front of me. Ever.” Or something along those lines. The same thing happened when his friends from another club wouldn’t leave him alone with Shiiba. All the while acting like a puppy with our detective.
Meanwhile, Godou was similar to Munechika. But unlike our seme, Godou didn’t care one bit about our detective. He’d rather watch the two crash and burn.
This volume is a big step forward for Munechika and Shiiba despite the tiny cracks threatening their relationship and careers. The two found their resolve to stick to each other and face their feelings. I loved how they shed the pretense of sex for information. By now, it’s pretty clear that they cared for each other more than just business partners.
I also love that this volume showed more Munechika. In the previous volumes, he’s just the enigmatic, powerful, and rich seme who never gets tired of seducing Shiiba. In this book, we get to see his past. It was briefly touched in Book 2. But with the reveal, his actions in the previous volumes made sense too.
The book ended in a cliff-hanger – a literal Split. Things have reached their breaking point, threatening to destroy the things Shiiba and Munechika have built till now. I’m looking forward to Book 4 – Afterglow.