Friday, May 11, 2012

The Devotion of Suspect X - Blogadda Book review

The title sounds like a total mis-match. I mean one would think what the hell is ‘Suspect X’? And what’s ‘Devotion’ got to do with the story and the title. And you wouldn’t really be able to fathom the true meaning of the title until you are a little more than half way through the book. I think that’s the beauty of an interesting book.

‘The Devotion of Suspect X’ was actually written in 2005 in Japanese by Keigo Higashino, but it was translated and printed in English in 2011. The main characters are Yasuko Hanaoka – the female protagonist, Misato Hanaoka – Yasuko’s daughter, Shinji Togashi – Yasuko’s abusive ex-husband, Tetsuya Ishigami – Yasuko’s neighbour, a brilliant mathematician and ardently in love with Yasuko, Manabu Yukawa – a physicist (more like a Japanese version of Sherlock Holmes) and an ex-classmate and long-lost friend of Ishigami, Shunpei Kusanagi – a detective (a Japanese version where Watson-meets-Lestrade) and Yukawa’s friend; and of course Kudo – Yasuko’s love interest in the book. I know the names have a funny sound to them (but hey it’s Japanese!!! What do you expect?!) and they prove more like a tongue twister than anything else.

Anyways, so the story starts with Yasuko and Ishigami shown living their routine lives, doing their routine chores when suddenly one day Togashi finds out where Yasuko is. He comes back in her life and in an attempt of a desperate freedom from Togashi, Misato and Yasuko end up killing Togashi. Ishigami – their next door neighbour deduces all of this through noises and conjecture and offers to help the mother and daughter with the murder and the body. This might appear as any other murder-mystery novel but that’s when it gets better. Every crumble of clue left in the path leading to Togashi’s murder, sends Yukawa and Kusanagi into a spiraling confusion as to who did kill Togashi. Ishigami’s character is shown using his brilliance, his logical and analytical mathematician brain and his intelligence to not only hide the murder and keep the Hanaokas’ clear of Togashi’s murder, but also plants and plans the entire sequence of investigation in such a manner so as to let the detectives and the physicist think and believe only what Ishigami wanted them to think and believe. The anti-climax was very predictable but it was the climax that was the brûlée on the crème! The murder-mystery was solved – all thanks to Japanese Sherlock Holmes – Mr. Yukawa!

So on and all, it was a nice read. Interesting on the whole and very intense and gloomy. The devotion of suspect X was aptly brought out in the book. I’m glad it wasn’t a kiddish and yet-another investigative-mystery book with no strong plot and no gripping supportive clues and misleading paths. But every book has its cons. The story in between felt like a drag, a bore and felt as if it was being stretched again and again like noodle dough being twisted and turned incessantly to make noodles. I almost, as if talking to the book, said ‘Just come to the point, will you?’ I think since this book was meant to be so intelligently intense towards the end, a fleeting humour here and there would’ve helped to hold on to the book a bit better. And the cover of the book – please, if you are depicting your female protagonist to be beautiful, admirer-gatherer and timid – the least you could do is create a cover and get a model that fits the bill!

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1 comment:

  1. It has been a long time since I've read such a chilling crime thriller. Every aspect of the book is simply outstanding, story, narration, plot, characters and ending are all EXQUISITE.

    The end will SHOCK you and you will be haunted by it for a considerably long time. You can never guess the ending and it's a FACT. You will receive shock treatment after shock treatment.

    Brace yourself for one hell of a ride