May 12, 2012

Book Review : The Devotion of Suspect X

Title : The Devotion of Suspect X
Author: Keigo Higashino
Pages:378
Price: INR 350


The Devotion of Suspect X is a thriller novel, originally written by Keigo Higashino in Japanese in 2005.

I was thrilled to find a Japanese book's Indian edition for review at Blogadda. Since I love to read mysteries, I applied for the book review of The Devotion of Suspect X. Sadly, after reading the book, I couldn't understand how  2 million copies sold' mark is true, though I should admit the characters have been well framed, there is surprising element and there is a surprising twist at the end. It could be because the novel begins with unveiling of the murder, how and why it happens and the rest of the book is about the police chasing the criminal, whom we already know.

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to reading. An author can never satisfy all readers. It isn't necessary I like those books others like and rate as the best and vice-versa. Nevertheless, the novel will make an interesting read for those who want to find out how the police catch the murderer, the twists and turns, and there is plenty of mathematics, for those to love the thoughts of a mathematician genius (I skipped certain sentences of 'mathematics' part as I find the subject a bit dry).  

The Plot:
The story begins with Ishigami, a mathematics teacher who has a huge crush on Yasuko, a middle-age divorced mother of a teeanger. Yasuko works at Benten-tei, the shop that makes boxed lunches. Ishigami is a frequent visitor at Benten-tei, to see Yasuko though he never shares his feelings for her. They are also next-door neighbors. One day, Shinji Togashi, Yasuko's ex-husband turns up at the shop and later, they meet at a restaurant, as Yasuko wants to hide the meeting from her teenage daughter, Misato. Yet Shinji Togashi turns up at Yasuko's doorstep later the same night, picks up a fight with Yasuko and he is killed by the mother-daughter duo. Ishigami comes to their rescue and help in covering up the murder. He orders the mother-daughter duo to strictly follow his instructions. At such instances, I wondered if Ishigami is trustable.

The soft-spoken detective Kusanagi and his assistant Kishitani begins investigating Shinji Togashi's murder after his body is found. Yukawa, a brilliant Physics Professor of Imperial University enters the scene. Yukawa and Kusanagi are friends and Yukawa often helps the investigator when an investigation comes to a dead end. The main turn in the story comes with the reunion of Ishigami and Yukawa, old college friends. Ishigami’s well-crafted plan begins to fall apart. I wouldn’t like to reveal more of the story and kill the suspense.

Keigo Higashino has a surprise element at the end, but it wasn’t strong enough to make me excited, like it does in several mystery novels. Several times, I felt the story is being dragged and it could have ended in fewer pages.

Pros:
What I appreciate the most about the novel is the simple language, good and interrupted flow and gradually, revealing the characters.  You also get an insight into Japanese culture and words.

Cons:
Like I mentioned, story preferences differ from person to person. If I’m to list the cons, I would say, the murderer is revealed at the beginning of the novel. Hence, even though surprising turns can be found as the story progresses, it doesn’t thrill much to know ‘what happens next.’  (But, probably, this is what makes the novel a bestseller!)

Overall Rating:
Makes an interesting read for those who like to read any kind of mysteries, want to know how police can be misled if a genius is behind the murder or covering up the murder,  how far a mathematician genius can go in covering up a crime and how another brilliant professor can help in revealing the crime. Good language and good flow (I liked the novel for these two reasons). Hats off to Keigo Higashino for attempting a different mystery plot. 

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1 comment:

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