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Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Devotion of Suspect X

When you are presented with an opportunity to read something that has apparently been a “best-seller”, having sold over 2 million copies, you would obviously not let go of that, right?

Title: The Devotion of Suspect X
Author: Keigo Higashino.


About The Author: Keigo Higashino was born in Osaka. He started writing novels while still working as an Engineer and won the Edogawa Rampo Prize for writing at age 27. The Devotion of Suspect X has sold over 2 million copies in Japan and has been made into a cult film.

Do I like this book: Hell yes! Having read snippets about the book, we realize that the story revolves around a single mother (Yasuko), and her Daughter (Misato), and how their world turns upside down, when her ex-husband (Togashi) returns after 5 years. The novel starts of, with a murder being committed, and that takes up 2 chapters of the book, and you are left with wondering, what comprises the remaining chapters. However, the author has interwoven his story with such brilliance, that you would not feel like letting go of the book without a complete understanding of the story.

The characters in the story are so strong, and independent in their own space, that they leave a mark on your mind. Each character has been described with such perfection, which makes it easier for you to imagine their activities. The plot is a murder mystery, in which the reader is already aware of the murderer, and are a step ahead of the Detectives, however as simple as it may seem in the beginning, it tends to become more complex, and unravels more than what the reader may have guessed.

We are introduced to Ishigami, Yasuko’s neighbor. Ishigami's  existence is presented as a matter of uninteresting facts:. "He worked at the private high school just before the park. He was a teacher. He taught maths." But gradually, these facts begin to add up. Insular and intense, Ishigami is a mathematical genius and one of life's great observers. What truly absorbs his attention is his next door neighbour, Yasuko Hanaoka, who works at a local food shop. Although the pair have hardly spoken, Ishigami is devoted to this single mother of a single daughter, Misato.

We have our detectives: Kusanagi, and Kishitani. Yasuko is naturally under suspicion but Detective Kusanagi cannot find any evidence against her, but then Kusanagi's friend Yukawa, a physicist at the University and a long-lost friend of Ishigami's becomes involved; Yukawa aka "Detective Galileo" helps out Kusanagi with some of his cases but this time, at least initially, he just wants to reconnect with an old university friend.

A tandem then begins between the three: the mathematician and physicist who are both geniuses and the detective who is bright but not quite in the same league. Ishigami doesn't know how much Yukawa is acting on behalf of the police: are his questions innocent or does he suspect something? Yukawa is acting strangely and Kusanagi doesn't know why. The three circle each other until somebody apparently falters. All the while, the reader knows who the murderer is. But what keeps them hooked is the want to know whether he will get away with it???

The murder mystery is woven around as a cat and mouse game between two intellectuals, who in their own ways are “genius”, and how, the entire mystery is unraveled to reveal a brilliant twist, which is both chilling and moving. A twist, that covers an emotion that is so rarely seem in crime fiction that makes you wonder about Humans, and their certain emotions and the way they react to certain situations. The Suspect of Devotion X is not simply an extraordinary thriller but a love story. A strange one, it is true, but a love story nonetheless. It will linger long in the memory.

The book being a translated version of the original Japanese book does bear resemblances to certain words like toga, kotatsu etc, however, they don’t act as a deterrent in the normal flow of the book. The book also gives an insight about the city of Tokyo: the apartments, the bikes, public transport, legal system and its homeless.

His style of writing is gripping, and one that makes you want to continue reading the book o the very end. He describes each character with such perfection, that you seem to wonder if they are for real. The pain, the agony, loss, guilt, has been so beautifully described, that you tend to relate with the story.

Would I recommend you to read it: I would recommend you to add, The Devotion of Suspect X, to your list of International Crime fiction.

My Rating : 9/10.

Go grab your copy, it’s worth a READ.

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  1. It does sound pretty good. The kind of thing I'd expect Japan to handle very well indeed. Jeez I hope that doesn't make me sound racist.

    1. @ MArk : true that!!, trust me, this one is totally worth reading. lol nah, not one bit ;)


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