In the Tokyo suburbs four women work the draining graveyard shift at a boxed-lunch factory. Burdened with chores and heavy debts and isolated from husbands and children, they all secretly dream of a way out of their dead-end lives.
A young mother among them finally cracks and strangles her philandering, gambling husband then confesses her crime to Masako, the closest of her colleagues. For reasons of her own, Masako agrees to assist her friend and seeks the help of the other co-workers to dismember and dispose of the body.
The body parts are discovered, the police start asking questions, but the women have far more dangerous enemies -a yakuza connected loan shark who discovers their secret and has a business proposition, and a ruthless nightclub owner the police are convinced is guilty of the murder. He has lost everything as a result of their crime and he is out for revenge.
Out is a psychologically taut and unflinching foray into the darkest recesses of the human soul, an unsettling reminder that the desperate desire for freedom can make the most ordinary person do the unimaginable.
Two prostitutes have been murdered in Tokyo.
Yuriko had been working as a prostitute all her adult life, starting while still at school, where her stunning beauty compensated for what she lacked in intellect and commanded attention from older men. Kazue worked for a blue-chip company and had good career prospects, but was unpopular with colleagues and felt isolated. She chose to walk the streets at night where she hoped to get noticed.
Twenty years previously, both women were educated at an elite school for young ladies, and both exhibited exceptional promise prior to their brutal , unnecessary deaths.
How and why did this tragedy occur? With narration from Yuriko's embittered, unattractive sister and through the girls' journals and diaries Kirino allows their shocking story to unfurl.
In a crowded residential suburb on the outskirts of Tokyo, four teenage girls indifferently wade their way through a hot, smoggy summer and endless 'cram school' sessions meant to ensure entry into good colleges.
There's Toshi, the dependable one; Terauchi, the great student; Yuzan, the sad one, grieving over the death of her mother - and trying to hide her sexual orientation from her friends; and Kirarin, the sweet one, whose late nights and reckless behavior remain a secret from those around her.
When Toshi's next-door neighbor is found brutally murdered, the girls suspect the killer is the neighbor's son, a high school boy they nickname Worm. But when he flees, taking Toshi's bike and cell phone with him, the four girls get caught up in a tempest of dangers - dangers they never could have even imagined - that rises from within them as well as from the world around them.
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