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The differing perspectives offer insight into the failure of the partners to communicate -- the two characters make assumptions about each other that, left unspoken, make it impossible for them to work as a team.
The subordinate role of women in Japanese society is a recurring theme in Japanese crime fiction (it appears in Out and The Cage among other novels); in The Hunter, Takako does her best to ignore the persistent sexism she encounters, even when it hobbles her investigation.
The novel isn't a whodunit -- there isn't much in the way of clues for the reader to piece together -- but the story moves quickly and in unexpected directions.
The connection between the crimes is a bit farfetched, but that's common enough in thrillers.
The investigation seems to be running out of steam when a second gruesome death occurs, this one apparently caused by a wild dog or a domesticated wolf.
One other important matter regarding the mask, Nobunaga's body was never found.
Divorced and living alone until her annoying sister shows up, Takako's personal life frustrates her as much as her job.
Takako's perseverance makes her a sympathetic character, but she is also easy to like: she's smart, she's tenacious, and she has a biting sense of humor (although, for the most part, she keeps her sarcasm to herself).
For its intriguing central character and enjoyable story, I would give The Hunter 4 1/2 stars (if that option were available).
The plot is very creative and unique - more "mysterious" than a lot of mysteries.