ISBN-13: 9780349123745
Publisher: Abacus
Publication Date: February 2012
Format: Paperback, 384 pgs
Source: Personal Library

With The Times quoted Keigo Higashino as the Japanese Stieg Larsson (which stated on the print copy cover), I know I just have to read The Devotion of Suspect X; a book also which many of my fellow bookbloggers raved and recommended.

Yasuko Hanaoka is divorced and lives with her teenaged daughter, after being escaped the horror grasp of her abusive ex-husband, Togashi. Unfortunately, Togashi continues to harass Yasuko on and off even after their divorce and this made Yasuko and Misato, their daughter, both annoyed yet fearful of him at the same time.

One day when he shows up at her place to extort money and threaten her, the event has quickly turned disastrous when Yasuko and Misato murdered Togashi out of fear when their exchanges became ugly. Just when they are helpless and terrified of murdering someone, their lone neighbour, a high school mathematics teacher, Ishigami, heard of the commotion and came over to investigate. Due to his wit and his attraction towards Yasuko, Ishigami offers to help them to dispose of the body and even went out of the way to devise plans to divert the detectives from pointing the direction towards them.

Because Ishigami is Yasuko's neighbour, it is a matter of time that the detectives link him to the murder case, even though they have limited information or evidence to the case. Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist and a college friend of one of the detectives, however thinks there is more than meets the eye. Although he isn't a detective and he is not asked to assist to solve the mystery, Yukawa is friends with Detective Kusanagi and he has in fact offers some insights into some of the past cases.

When Yukawa heard that Ishigami is linked to the murder case, he is both curious and doubtful; after all he knew Ishigami back during their University days and he gave him the impression of an intelligent yet reserved man who would challenge him on some mathematical questions, and vice versa since they specialise in different subjects. As the detectives begin their investigations, Yukawa has in fact, came up with a few speculations of his own which may surprise not only to the detectives but to himself as well, for Ishigami has thrown to them a simple yet complex problem to tackle which is ultimately the climax of this story.

Although this isn't much of a whodunnit thriller, what makes this story stands out is the characterisations, the issue on humanity as it taps onto the emotional struggles one may face during a circumstances, in which this case, obsession. I see the obsession in Ishigami as he works out complicated mathematics problems, for he is not only a high school mathematics teacher but a resourceful mathematician as well. I also see the obsession in him as he will patronise the bento place where Yasuko works, even though they rarely talk to each other then.

Like a mathematical problem, The Devotion of Suspect X is a thriller that will challenge your mind and makes you think outside the box. It is no wonder this book garners so much attention; I really enjoyed the reading experience and if you haven't read it, go read it now!
1 Response
  1. The Bookworm Says:

    Glad you enjoyed this thriller Mel, nice review!

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