The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

What lengths would you take to cover the tracks of a killer? With an original twist on a suspense/police procedural this subject is explored in great depth in this novel.

Here is the blurb:

Yasuko lives a quiet life, working in a Tokyo bento shop, 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 story is told in part through the eyes of Yasuko Hanaoka and her neighbour Tetsuya Ishigamo, with the investigation through the point of view of Detective Kusanagi and his academic sleuth friend, Dr. Manabu Yukawa. I found the characters of Yasuko and Misato, her daughter, held a depth that made them believable. Furthermore, Ishigamo was intriguing, as was the academic, Yukawa. I would like to have known a bit more about the background of Detective Kusanagi but, that aside, his relationship with Yukawa was an interesting mix and there were certainly inklings of Holmes and Watson in places.

I loved the depiction of Japanese lifestyle in this book – they actually have heated tables called kotatsu. I want one of those! The setting in Tokyo was likewise wonderfully evocative and quite enchanting.

The text has been translated and I did ‘notice’ that on several occasions, however this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the novel.

I find it difficult to write a review on this book without giving too much away. Suffice to say, I highly recommend it if you are looking for an original, suspenseful read with an unexpected twist at the end. It certainly has that page turning element and I will be looking out for more of Higashino’s work for my reading pile.

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

  1. I read this a while back, after reading news stories about its cult status in Japan. Although the plot twist was pretty good and the characters were well developed, I felt that if it had been edited to half the size it would have been better, as there were some parts where it dragged. An interesting comparison is with another leading Japanese writer, Haruki Murakami – I’d strongly recommend his books, which seem to take character development to a completely different level.

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