Sunday, May 13, 2012

Book review: The Devotion of Suspect X



Yet another book to review from; the differentiating factor this time around was that the book was by a Japanese Author and the book has already sold 2 million copies so that makes it a hit already. With that kind of a backdrop; expectations are set a bit high and you expect good stuff coming out of the pages.


The book is "The Devotion of Suspect X' by Keigo Higashino


The back cover talks about a murder mystery and when you begin reading the book; the murder actually takes place within the first chapter itself. The problem is that you actually know who killed the murdered person and who helped dispose the body. So now you begin to wonder about what the mystery is all about?


And then as the story unravels … you realize that the story is about deception, misdirection and deductive reasoning and strategizing of 2 formidable geniuses trying to cover up and expose a crime. The story becomes a game of chess where the actual murderer and police become bystanders while the geniuses take centre stage. 


It has been a while since I read such an engrossing tale of 2 opponents matching their wits to outrun each other. It is not about physical action (like a typical Matthew Reilly novel) … it is about intellectual combat.


The story moves at a constant pace getting more and more interesting as revelations and discoveries keep happening and the physicist begins to wonder how the different events, clues, evidences etc are tie together.


One realizes that the story isn't a murder mystery but about a murder cover-up done by a genius and how he ties together the planted evidence to point in a direction where, besides the characters in the story (police detectives etc), even the reader is confused as to where the story is heading. The readers are prone to create their own plot and weave their own set of 'intentions' for the genius who is covering up the crime.


And the last few chapters are truly astonishing. A really surprising twist in the tale which is nothing sort of mind boggling. It also explains the strange title of the novel and presents us with an unheard of scenario … something extremely difficult to imagine and digest.


And while we grapple with the twist (with our own head reeling with shock and surprise); the climax (last 2 pages of the novel) gives u a shock which leaves us spell bound. It is like that feeling when you don't know what hit you but you do know that it very hard where it matters ... straight at the heart and mind together in one single master stroke.  


Hats off to Keigo Higashino for weaving such a fantastic tale and giving it such a unexpected climax.

It was nice reading a Japanese author.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. My first encounter with a Japanese author and I must say it was a very good one. I would recommend this one to anyone interested in murder mystery. They would keep wondering till the last few chapters "Where the hell is the murder mystery?".


The book cover says that the author is the 'The Japanese Stieg Larsson'. Stieg's Millennium trilogy has been on my mind since a long time (actually since last year) … but I haven't picked it up yet. I will probably read that this year or next; haven't decided yet. Time will tell.

Personally, I would have never picked up this novel off the book store but thanks to the Book Review Program of that I got a chance to read this (and several other) books. Thanks to them.

Even you can sign up for the Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers at Blog Adda and get free books! Participate now!



  1. This is one of the best mystery novels (to have come out of Japan) I had read this year. It knocked me out of my senses for its razor-sharp suspense in the story.

    The uniqueness of the story is that you get to know who the murderer is right at the start of the novel, but the fact that the maths teacher, Ishigami (Suspect X) is so blind in his sympathetic devotion for the woman who murders that he is ready to go great lengths and do just about anything to save the woman he loves and her daughter from going to jail. The plot is ingeniously constructed and is perfect for a thrilling reading. The Devotion of Suspect X is a grand treat for mystery novels fans. If Hollywood plans for a movie based on this novel then why not? Let’s see a movie come out of it. I already have a name for the film version: “Suspect X".

  2. Very True Rahul. It is indeed a super novel ...

    And if you have loved Suspect X ... then you would love 'Salvation of a Saint' by the same author.

    Just like Suspect X .. even in this novel, you know the murderer right in the first chapter. it is a delight to read the rest of the novel discovering so many different facets of the case through the eyes of Kusanagi.