Book Review: The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
Yasuko lives a quiet life, a good mother to her only child. But when her ex-husband appears at her door without warning one day, her comfortable world is shattered. When Detective Kusanagi of the Tokyo Police tries to piece together the events of that day, he finds himself confronted by the most puzzling, mysterious circumstances he has ever investigated. Nothing quite makes sense, and it will take a genius to understand the genius behind this particular crime.
The book is being tagged as the ‘Japanese Steig Larsson’. For a die-hard Millennium Trilogy fan like me, it was the perfect reason to grab a copy and find out whether the description fits. The Devotion of Suspect X is a page-turner and unputdownable in every essence. It is not a whodunnit mystery since the murder happens right in the beginning of the plot in front of our eyes. A terrified single mother, Yasuko and her daughter, Misato in an attempt to escape the persistent threat of her husband, kill him in a fit of rage. When the deed is done, Yasuko decides to give herself up, so that she is able to save her daughter. At that moment, genius mathematician Ishigami, neighbour and secretly in love with Yasuko, enters their life and brilliantly covers the crime up. He also creates the perfect alibi for Yasuko and Misato carefully.
When the police begin their investigation, they are sent off in a wrong trail, as was planned by Ishigami. The plot takes an interesting turn when Ishigami’s former classmate Yukawa, a Physicist with a keen power of observation and a knack for solving problems begins to take an interest in the case and tries to solve the unsolvable problem that Ishigami has created. It becomes a contest of wits and the author uses Mathematical formula, philosophy of Physics and a healthy dose of common sense to take the story towards an unexpected and brilliant finish, something which the readers, despite being in the know of everything from the beginning cannot fathom even in their wildest imagination.
The book has all good things – interesting storyline, engaging pace, fully curved out characters and a shocking twist at the end. Yasuko, Misato, Kudo, Kishitani, Kushanagi and even Togashi (the murdered man) were all brought to life by the characterization of the author. The reader feels the pain along with Yasuko, love along with Ishigami, frustration along with Detective Kushanagi, longing along with Kudo and concern along with Yukawa, who is torn between his love for his friend and a desire to uncover the truth. Throughout the book, I never, for once, wanted the crime to be discovered, which is an unusual reaction to a murder story. Here the murdered was the culprit, murderer was the victim and the accomplice was a devoted lover – who would want them to be punished?
The book moves at a comfortable pace, not too racy, not too slow, just enough fast to keep the reader glued to the pages and decipher all the clues that the author leaves for their benefit. It gives ample scope to the readers to read, comprehend, question, feel and be at one with the story – something which I value immensely in a book. The Devotion of Suspect X is definitely a must read for all those who love a good book.
Title – The Devotion of Suspect X
Publisher – Hachette India
Author – Kiego Higashino
Binding – Paperback
ISBN – 978-0-349-13873-2
Number of Pages – 374
Language – English
My rating: 9/10