Skip to main content

Book Review - The Devotion of Suspect X

She hadn’t meant to kill him.  As Yasuka Hanaoka stared at the lifeless body of her ex husband on the floor of her Tokyo apartment, she realised that she was a killer and must now turn herself in.  She had been so wrong.  She’d thought that marriage to Togashi eight years earlier would give her and her daughter the financial and emotional security they needed.  But it all turned into a nightmare when Togashi turned out to be an embezzler.  They’d been divorced for five years but he still hounded her from apartment to apartment and job to job, never leaving until he had extorted money.  But what now?  Her daughter was adamant – this had been self defence, she must not turn herself in.

Help came from an unlikely source, her neighbour, Mr. Ishigami, a quiet scholarly man who was a mathematician.  He helped Yasuko to dispose of the body and destroyed the evidence.  But when a fluke revealed the identity of the victim, once the body was found, the investigation begins to heat up.  As the finger of suspicion points at the ex-wife for whom Togashi was searching in his last days, the story hurtles towards an unlikely and horrific conclusion.

It would have been wonderful to read this story in it’s original Japanese, but unable to read that language, I had to make do with the English translation.  The translation was compellingly written.  I found this novel to be a perfect thriller, which kept me riveted to the very end.  This novel captured Japan, selling two million copies.  It evokes the quiet anonymity of  Tokyo life, where millions of people live quiet, busy lives in tiny box-like apartments, none knowing what happens in the apartment next door.  So many lives of quiet desperation, people reaching for a little bit of happiness, even if the price is way too high.  It paints a sad picture of  people, trying to find some meaning in life.  But we all know that life doesn’t have to be like that, don’t we?  The spiritual side which gives weight and joy to human existence cannot be experienced by people who lead busy, busy lives.  The lonely mathematician and his old friend and college fellow, the physicist seem to find joy in their subjects, though.

In the early pages, I came across two Japanese words, kotatsu (low table) and ramen ( a noodle dish).  I think that a footnote explaining the meaning of these words would not have gone astray.  Also, as in Indian and an Irish reader, I found the plethora of admittedly beautiful Japanese names a tad confusing at times.  They are so totally unfamiliar and I wish that the publishers could kindly supply a character list at the beginning of the book so that a slightly confused reader who has perhaps picked up this amazing book after a break can quickly remind themselves who’s who.  There are more than a few characters.
This book is a must read for anyone who enjoys reading thrillers – and even for anyone who doesn’t.

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino can be found here by readers in India, here by international readers in ebook and print format and here by readers in the UK.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!


  1. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. Make me want to read it--give a link in Facebook too!.


Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting me. Please let me know you were here

Popular posts from this blog

Good Intentions

I had great intentions for this week.  I'd write a thousand words every day, review six books, get my Loose Bloggers Consortium (LBC) post up well in advance.  And did I?  No, no, no.  I wrote about two hundred words per day and have been trying to read and review two books and still not finished reading.  My target of 19,000 words until today by now is around 15,000 on my 100kWords in 100 Days Challenge.  It seems I'm just not cutting the mustard.

I have the intentions.  I just don't seem to have the mojo to carry out the things I want to do. So many intentions, not enough time.  I've not been sleeping well lately.  Probably very tired.

So - my intention now is to try to get more sleep.  Then carry out the original intentions.That' what I intend to do.  As of now.  Meanwhile, my post is up one day late.

I had to go out to the bank this morning to get some pending work finished.  I clicked the above picture en route.  It seems that after a three week winter, we're…

Global Peace - Is It Possible? LBC Post

I can't believe it's Friday already and time for another LBC post.  The Loose Blogger's Consortium (LBC) is a blogging group consisting of about half a dozen of us who blog together every Friday on the same topic.  We are indebted to Ramana (aka blogger Rummuser) for this week's topic.  Instead of just giving a straightforward topic like anyone else would, he posed a question instead.  Is global peace possible? he asked.  I decided to answer his question in a Tweet sized sentence.

Is global peace possible?  Of course it is. If everyone gets in harmony with each other.   But will it happen?  How on earth would I know?

As we say in Ireland (well, as they used to say when I lived there two decades ago), that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thanks to All-Free-Download for the photo.  Thanks to Lettercount for their character counting facilities.  And thanks to my LBC group for being there every Friday in blogging solidarity.

The Curse of Poverty - Short Story

As the dawn light spread its fingers across the early morning, Rajji stirred uneasily.  She tended to sleep like a street dog - ever alert, with one ear open.  But she'd been tired the previous night and as a consequence had slept rather heavily. Her life was a constant struggle, filled with tasks and responsibilities. If she hadn't been careful, she might have been robbed!  She sprang into alert mode and clutched about her person.  No, everything was in place, the precious money was undisturbed.  Thanks to her employment with the bank, cleaning for one hour every morning, six days a week, she even had a bank account which one of the bank employees had helped her to set up.  What little money she had saved up was safe.....

She looked over her children.  Babu, her son lay sleeping still.  Muniya, her daughter, stirred, close to waking up.  But where was Gudiya, her youngest child?  Might have woken up early and gone to wander around.  Gudiya knew everyone around here and every…