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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Book Review: Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino

Book: Salvation of a Saint

Author: Keigo Higashino

No. of Pages: 384

Genre: Fiction, Suspense Thriller,  

Publisher: Little Brown Book Group

'The Devotion of Suspect X' was an absolute delight to read last year and recently I realized that there was another suspense thriller by the same author. I had this book added in my 'wish-lists' for my next round of book buying spree. Incidentally, it came up for review on BlogAdda and I applied (giving me a chance to bring it on priority in reading order)

 Devotion was about a murder where you know the murder and how it happened … the whole novel is about the cover-up; and the climax leaves you speechless and you are dumbstruck with the 'devotion' of the man covering up the crime.

Salvation introduces the murderer in the first chapter and the murder happens in chapter two, also revealing that the death/murder was caused by poisoning. And if you are reading Keigo for the first time, you are wondering what kind of a murder mystery has the murder threadbare in first 2 chapters.

BUT that is just the beginning of a mind-boggling quest to determine how the poison was administered. The primary suspect was far away in the mountains with parents and a friend with a water-tight alibi that checks out. So how could she administer the poison 'accurately' to the victim without anyone else around him falling victim to the same poison and with no chance of suspicion on herself.

Salvation is about the HOW of the murder and finally in the climax, when the HOW is revealed. You are once again dumbstruck and speechless … this time with the patience of the murderer. The murder is committed in such a fantastic but simple manner that makes you wonder at the sheer genius of the murderer. Along with the HOW, even the WHY is revealed and it strikes you like a lightning bolt.

Even Detective Galileo who finally cracks the case is spellbound and proclaims this as a perfect murder where the murderer did nothing (and I mean, did literally nothing) to murder the victim. So how do you pin the murder on the suspect who has done nothing?? As I said … perfect murder

And there lies the paradox of the plot. Even Yukawa, being a physicist who helps the police solve crimes, finds it difficult to help the police this time around as (he explains) that he cannot help them without telling them too much and that would colour their judgment and they would not be able to see things clearly. To help them, he has to lead them blind which the police (Kusanagi as well his assistant) find it difficult to digest or abide by … although they do reluctantly agree to follow Yukawa's directions due to lack of any other path to follow. Contradictions and Dilemmas and Paradoxes are an inseparable spice of this dish which has been cooked over a low flame over a longer period of time. It's like a Biryani !!

Inspector Kusanagi has company of a young recruit who is smart and sharp. She not only catches on the clues and makes her deductions but she also realizes the soft corner that Kusanagi seems to be have developed for the beautiful and enigmatic suspect. When she realizes this, she decides to involve Detective Galileo into the loop.

The essence of the novel is the different characters and how the mystery of the poisoning process keeps them all engaged. The author engages you in a narration which has a steady pace but does not leave you out of its grip. The simple narration binds you and makes it difficult for you to put down the book, compelling you to read 'just a few more pages'. I finished it off in 3 working days flat, reading only during my daily commute time (a plane journey of 2 hours definitely helped).
Definitely a fantastic read - I would recomend this to anyonw who enjoys mystery and has the patience to have hundreds of questions running around in the head while reading a novel.
This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program  for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!
Thanks to BlogAdda for introducing me to the novel of Keigo and giving me a copy to read and review.
<< I also received another book to review just before i received Salvation ... but the temptation of reading a Keigo novel was so tough to resist that I wrote to BlogAdda team, telling them that I was interchanging the review order. Good Guys out there ... they agreed :) >>
 

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