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Chain of Bullying: Malice

Malice Malice by Keigo Higashino

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.

 

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Japanese Sherlock(s): The Devotion of Suspect X

The Devotion of Suspect XThe Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

 Yasuko lives a quiet life in Tokyo with her daughter. Her ex-husband arrives one day to cause trouble and Yasuko takes the situation into her own hands. When Detective Kusanagi begins to investigate, Yasuko’s seedier earlier life is revealed and the case turns into a battle between two superior logicians: Yasuko’s neighbour and Kusanagi’s university friend. Who will be first to solve the cryptic crime?

First Impressions: I wasn’t sure if I would like this book in the first few pages as it seemed quite simplistic. However, very quickly began to like the tone of the story and the writing style.

Highlights: The Tokyo setting is great and I enjoyed the cat and mouse crime solving of two men worthy of giving Sherlock a run for his money. My favourite element of the novel was definitely the characters as they were all so unique and realistic, particularly Yasuko’s mathematician neighbour.

If I was an editor: I would think this was wonderfully translated. The ending is fitting for a Japanese novel but is probably too much an abstract statement for a lot of western readers. However, it is all tied up well and I didn’t feel disappointed.

Overall: A cryptic page turner that keeps you thinking. I will read more by this author.

The Devotion of Suspect X: 4 Stars