The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

In three words:

Quirky, clever, riddle



What I thought:

What a strange yet strangely appealing book from this Japanese author, Keigo Higashino. I have read several novels by Japanese authors over the years and they have all had similar styles in that they have been sparsely written with barely a word wasted, yet they have all packed an almighty punch (without even trying it somehow seems). The Devotion of Suspect X is a clever crime book. There is a murder but no blood and gutts, a crime but no evidence. The killing takes place in the first few pages of the book and we all know straight away who did it: what happens immediately afterwards is what keeps the reader on their toes.

The story is centred around Yasuko, a single mum who works in a lunch-box shop and whos unsavoury ex-husband tries to worm his way back into her life. Within pages, said ex-husband is dead and entering from stage left is strange nextdoor neighbour Ishigami, who is a genius mathemetician with rather a large crush on Ysasuko. On the case of the body dumped in an oil drum by the river is Tokyo  Detective Kusangi who vents his frustrations about the case to friend Yukawa who happens to be a genius physician and whom knew Ishigami at University. What follows is clash of the geniuses: not in an action-packed, race-against-time way, but more like a battle of brains over a quiet game of chess. While this was a great way to help the reader unravel what happened, I have to admit that about ¾ of the way through the book I started to become a little bored with the perpetual cat-and-mouse game between Yukawa and Ishigami: I remember sighing and uttering “get on with it” at one point. However, not long after I was rewarded with an almighty wollop at the end that I didn’t see coming. And then, just as I’d relaxed again, I was left staring at an ending that made my mouth go into this shape….. O

Verdict: Quirky, surprising and rewarding.

(Source: I bought this book myself)



12 thoughts on “The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

  1. sakura says:

    I really enjoyed this book too and have been meaning to read more by him (although I think only this one has been translated into English so far). But he’s written several volumes of short stories featuring Yukawa which I’m sure are as intriguing as this one.


    • The Book Whisperer says:

      Yes, I think this is the first in the series, Sakura, so I think I’ll be reading the next in the series when they are translated. I didn’t know about the short stories involving Yukawa – that sounds interesting.


  2. Maxine says:

    I’ve been put off this by previous reviews – still not sure whether to read it or not. But thanks for reminding me of it in your excellent review, I’ll put it back on my “thinking about it” list!


  3. Anbolyn says:

    Wow, this sounds great! My library only has the audiobook so maybe I’ll try that. Or do you think it is too slow to be riveting enough to hold my attention during rush hour traffic?


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