Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Review: The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

At 7:35 A.M. Ishigami left his apartment as he did ever yweekeday morning. Just before stepping out onto the street, he glanced at the mostly full bicycle lot, noting the absence of the green bicycle. [opening to The Devotion of Suspect X]

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
(translated by Alexander O. Smith with Elye J. Alexander)
Minotaur Books, February 2011
Crime Fiction; 304 pgs

From the Publisher:
Yasuko Hanaoka is a divorced, single mother who thought she had finally escaped her abusive ex-husband Togashi. When he shows up one day to extort money from her, threatening both her and her teenaged daughter Misato, the situation quickly escalates into violence and Togashi ends up dead on her apartment floor. Overhearing the commotion, Yasuko’s next door neighbor, middle-aged high school mathematics teacher Ishigami, offers his help, disposing not only of the body but plotting the cover-up step-by-step.

When the body turns up and is identified, Detective Kusanagi draws the case and Yasuko comes under suspicion. Kusanagi is unable to find any obvious holes in Yasuko’s manufactured alibi and yet is still sure that there’s something wrong. Kusanagi brings in Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist and college friend who frequently consults with the police. Yukawa, known to the police by the nickname Professor Galileo, went to college with Ishigami. After meeting up with him again, Yukawa is convinced that Ishigami had something to do with the murder. What ensues is a high level battle of wits, as Ishigami tries to protect Yasuko by outmaneuvering and outthinking Yukawa, who faces his most clever and determined opponent yet.
When I first saw mention of Keigo Higashino's novel on the BookBrowse website, I knew I had to read it. I was intrigued by the description of the novel and am always eager to read mysteries set in countries other than my own.

I wasn't disappointed. The novel is engaging and fast paced--not to mention a great puzzle. It's not often I don't see the end coming in crime fiction, but I honestly had no idea what to expect as the events unfolded in The Devotion of Suspect X. Seeing the two geniuses at work, both Yukawa and Ishigami, as one tried to solve the crime and the other to hide it, I was reminded a bit of Sherlock Holmes.

My heart went out to Yasuko and her teenage daughter. And I liked Detective Kusanagi's tenacity and dedication to solving the crime. I found myself cheering him on while at the same time hoping the truth would not come out. Ishigami was the most interesting character, and perhaps the one that was more fully developed of them all. My feelings for him changed a couple of times as the story progressed and the more I got to know him. Yukawa was the most elusive of the characters. He clearly was an intelligent man, but I wouldn't have minded getting to know more about him.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Higashino's The Devotion of Suspect X; so much so that it made my top ten crime fiction list last year. I hope to see more of the author's work in the future.

Rating: * (Very Good)

Source: I received the book for review from the BookBrowse First Impressions Program.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I've never heard of this author, but I'll admit, the plot sounds compelling! You always manage to find the most interesting books.

  2. I had also not heard of this author or book, but from the way you describe it, it sounds like one I should not miss. It's always hard for me to read mystery novels because my brain works overtime while reading to discover the killer and motive way before the book ends, and it usually leads to a lot of disappointment when I uncover it all before it's time. The fact that this one kept you guessing all the way to the final section gives me pause and hope that this might be something that I would love. Thanks for the greatly enticing review!

  3. Ooh, a top pick of the year! Hopefully I can get to this one soon.

  4. I'd love to read this thriller. Sounds excellent.

  5. Yay! So happy to see such praise. I have it waiting for me on my TBR shelf. Not sure when I'll get to it though.

  6. I sincerely love your eclectic picks!! I'm sure to read about a book I've never heard of and immediately have to add it to my TBR list...and here's another one that I feel the need to read!!

  7. Hi, I just came stopped by your blog in the Reading with Tequila Book Club on Goodreads. Nice blog!

  8. I snagged an ARC of this at work and have moved it to the top of my stack. I'm just finishing up P.J. Tracy's Shoot to Thrill and I'm in the mood to continue with another thriller, especially after reading your glowing review!

  9. I definitely want to read this. The battle of wits, and the conflict between wanting the truth to be out and wanting it to remain covered interest me a lot!

  10. Sandy - This was my first exposure to this particular author too. I do hope more of his books are published in the U.S. as I'd love to read more by him.

    Heather - I really enjoyed it. With a book like this, you know up front who the killer is and really the motive as well--still there is definitely a mystery here with uncovering.

    Kathy & Book Bird Dog - I do hope you enjoy it if you read it!

    Jen - I am really glad I read it.

    Joy - I'll be curious to know what you think of it when you do get to it, Joy.

    Staci - It was quite entertaining. I hope you do get a chance to read it, Staci!

    Kero - Thanks!

    Les - I need to get to Shoot and Thrill before we pack it away! Thanks for the reminder.

    Alice - It is really interesting and definitely worth reading.


Thank you for taking the time to visit Musings of a Bookish Kitty. Don't be shy! I would love to hear from you. Due to a recent increase in spam, I will be moderating all comments for the foreseeable future. Please be patient with me as it may take a few hours before I am able to approve your comment.