I loved The Devotion of Suspect X by Higashino so was delighted to receive a review copy of Malice.
Acclaimed author Kunihiko Hidaka is found brutally murdered the night before he emigrates to Vancouver. Both is wife and best friend have rock solid alibis. Or do they? Detective Kaga recognises Nonoguchi, the best friend, from his previous profession as a high school teacher. Something about Nonoguchi’s story just doesn’t sit right with Kaga so he decides to investigate further.
First Impressions: This is very similar to The Devotion of Suspect X in that we know who the killer is rather early on. When I first read Suspect X I didn’t know if that would work for me but it does. I don’t know if taking the story backwards to establish a motive is a Japanese style of crime writing or it is unique to Higashino.
Highlights: I liked the intrigue of Kaga’s investigations into both Hidaka’s and Nonoguchi’s pasts. Kaga himself was an interesting character and I would have liked to learn more about him. The translation is well done as the Japanese style was captured but there weren’t any abstract or confusing thoughts. I usually don’t enjoy books that take a trip down memory lane back to school but Higashino, in what seems to be a Japanese tradition, recounts school days well.
If I was an editor: I would give this a big tick as a good crime novel. However, while I enjoyed it, I haven’t found it particularly memorable. Perhaps having the murder victim an author and the subsequent inclusion of literature politics didn’t grab me so much.
Overall: Enjoyable, but start with The Devotion of Suspect X so you can appreciate the style.
Malice: 4 stars
Thank you to Little, Brown for a copy of the ARC to review.