Book Review: Keigo Higashino – The Devotion of Suspect X (translated by Alexander O Smith)

Those of us who read a lot of Anglo-American thrillers are used to a particular narrative arc. There’s usually a sadistic murder say of a woman/women, a maverick Detective Inspector accompanied by a hero-worshipping sergeant, who solve the crime. Often solving the crime puts them into personal danger, which they ignore. Goodies win and the baddies are, as it were, put to the sword. Now and then there are developed criminals characters who have careers which match that of the Detective Inspector. (A variant on this is Lee Child’s vigilante Reacher series.)

Higashino’s book doesn’t follow any of these ‘rules’. Detective Kusanagi is a thoughtful contemplative detective who is nearly beaten by the extraordinary crime he is faced with. Nothing, as the cliché goes, adds up. There is a murder, of course, but the murder is masked. The mathematical genius who lives next door to where the murder is perpetrated, Ishigami, decides that he will cover-up the crime so that there will be no crime. He’s desperately in love and will do anything to rescue the situation. His love is unstated and unrequited but: So what?

The character of Ishigami is subtle. Indeed it’s so subtle that, to this reader, it’s inexplicable right until the final denouement. Then all becomes clear. This book is a work of genius.

Why you should buy this book: It develops the genre of thriller writing into new territory.

Why you shouldn’t buy this book: It’s full of Japanese names and you’re not too sure who is who.

Buy it at,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch


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