Wisecracking reporter and reluctant detective Billy Chaka is back. His latest misadventure finds him in Osaka to accept an award for an article he'd written years before about a teenage Bunraku puppet prodigy named Tetsuo. Billy quickly learns he may have been summoned for more than the award -- Tetsuo has been expelled from Osaka's most prestigious theater company following a bloody, unexplained incident involving a fellow puppeteer.
While Billy tries to unravel that mystery, an American man in the hotel room next door is found brutally murdered. Investigating the homicide and its bizarre link to the young puppeteer plunges Billy into a shadowy world where dreams and reality violently intermingle and people are never who they seem. It's a world not far removed from that of the Bunraku theater that flourished in Osaka hundreds of years ago, stylishly recast for the neon-lit urban stage with decrepit gangsters, clueless expatriates, dangerous women, and one seriously deranged hotel employee. Two parts noir and one part playful irreverence, Kinki Lullaby is a sly whodunit that unfolds with the twisted charm of a fever dream.