I received the book “The Devotion of Suspect X” by Keigo Higashino through the BlogAdda Book Review Program.
First things first, I am happy with the book and it’s a decent read, as I mentioned last time, that I was expecting that the book be a thriller as I wanted to read something different and it has been a long time since I read a crime thriller.
The book is of suspense/thriller/mystery genre and it does a good job at that, you can go on to read it and might not get bored for the most part of it but it being a hit and selling more than 2 million copy (as the book claims on the jacket) is surprising to me as the book is not that great. It’s not a book that you can’t afford to miss. I certainly have read many better thrillers than that.
The freshness that the book brings is by setting the story at the Japanese backdrop and life style. I haven’t read many Japanese novels so it was good a story being played out in that region.
The writing however was ordinary, it doesn’t raise any feelings for the characters involved, neither tickles you, nor angers you and certainly doesn’t get your pulse racing, the main reason for that I think is that the spirit of the story is lost in translation, as the story is translated from Japanese to English. And that is the biggest loss for this book.
The story has its flaws and sometimes appears pretty ordinary except for in the end where there a few twists but they are also not that shocking and could have been expected.
The story revolves around a divorced mother Yasuko Hanaoka who works at a lunch box place escaping from her abusive husband Togashi, whom she end up killing (accidentally) but then her neighbor (a genius mathematician) who happened to have crush on her, helps her in disposing the body.
But Ishigami (the genius that he is) also plots a cover up, very detailed so that Yasuko and her daughter never get caught for the act. Detective Kusanagi starts investigating the crime and the person he happens to take advice from Dr. Manabu Yukawa, the Physicist turns out to be a classmate of the mathematician Ishigami.
The entire investigation revolves around Yasuko and Ishigami and no other names popup during investigation that was a dud, Yukawa involvement in it. From there follows a series of twists and turns in the story where Ishigami tries to outmaneuver the police and Yukawa to protect the mother and daughter and when everything fails he plays his trump card.
The rest of the book is about the investigation and reasoning “how it was done?”, “who done it?” leading to a sad end.
The plot wasn’t that great but a good attempt was done. What happens in the first few pages that is what is maintained in the rest of the book, nothing new happens, no startling discoveries or anything. You keep on waiting for a big shocker till the end of the book but nothing like that comes, although there are twists and turns in the end but as I said earlier doesn’t shock you or make you love the story.
The good points were the way the Mathematician Ishigami and Physicist Yukawa’s characters are portrayed. The quote from the book “Which is harder: devising an unsolvable problem, or solving that problem? ” that theme was good. How Ishigami was involved in math problems all day long and the rapport both the characters share with each other was good. The interactions between Ishigami and Yukawa are exciting and interesting but the point where Yukawa explains why he started to suspect Ishigami is good but it could have been better and not that simple.
But all in all a decent read, don’t expect too much from it, it can server well as a lonely day read but nothing of the sort that you will remember after a month or so.