Kenzo Kitakata is the undisputed don of hardboiled and mystery writing in Japan, where he has received numerous literary awards. The Cage won the Japan Mystery Writers Association Award and is his third novel to appear in English. His American debut Ashes was one of Las Vegas Mercury's 10 Best Novels of 2003, a BookSense Selection, and a Village Voice Summer Read.
Shingo Takamura lived a quiet life in Jackson, Misssissippi as a watch repairman, fishing and growing roses in his spare time. One day, his long-time friend and business partner, Shuichi, traveled to New York to solve some problems he was having with his supplier, and never returned. Shingo followed to investigate and met the representative of the supplier, Tom Gin--nicknamed as such by Shingo, because of the man's penchant for gin-based cocktails. Gin tells Shingo that Shuichi has returned to Japan, but Shingo discovers that the supplier killed his friend. Taking matters into his own hands, he stalks the supplier and avenges Shuichi, by stabbing the supplier to death. When next Shingo meets Gin, he accepts Gin's offer to become Gin's assassin, he enters a world where timing IS everything.