The Devotion Of Suspect X is a novel by author Keigo Higashino. It has been translated from Japanese to English so that suspense lovers all over can devour the great work that it is.
Most mystery/suspense/crime thrillers start with a murder and a list of suspects, forcing one into the guessing game thus engrossing the reader. TDOSX is no different, it does start with a murder, but the difference is, the reader knows who the murderer is from the beginning, yet the author manages to engross the reader into the story. That’s where the genius of the author, Keigo Higashino , lies.
Yasuko Hanaoka, a single mother, working in a lunch-box shop, lives with her only daughter Misato, a student in a school. One day, Shinji Togashi, abusive and alcoholic ex-husband of Yasuko suddenly comes to her requesting reconciliation and when she declines, he threatens and attacks her. Yasuko, with assistance from Misato, in the act of self-protection, accidentally end up killing Togashi. Her neighbour, Tetsuya Ishigami, a genius mathematician, a Maths professor in a school, who also has a secret crush on her, offers to help her.
Detective Shunpei Kusanagi is assigned the case of Togashi’s murder. It is the most mysterious and puzzling case that he has ever taken up, he is unable to come up with a proper lead on even a single clue and they all seem to be leading him nowhere. He turns to his friend, Manabu Yukawa, a genius physician, for help. He also happens to be an old friend of Ishigami.
Thus, the battle of the wits begins where on one hand, Ishigami tries to hide the facts and make no evidence point on Yasuko and on the other hand, Yukawa tries to put all the pieces together to find out the culprit.
The novel is completely un-put-down-able. (Although, it did take me a little while to get hold of the Japanese names and setting.) With each turning page, you are more and more anxious as to how the story unfolds which forces you to keep on reading. Except the introductory couple of chapters, the novel is well-paced, just like every mysterious/suspense novel should be.
On second thoughts, you tend to miss the action that crime thrillers usually have. There is very little of it. Most of the case is solved only by words and wits, there is just not much for the detective to do.
But the twist that author throws at you just before climax is not only unexpected but also a killer one and the importance/true-essence/meaning of the title of the novel dawns on the reader just near the climax. Somehow, the climax seemed a bit disturbing/unsettling for me.
Also, a special mention to the translators of the novel, Alexander O. Smith with Elye J Alexander, (this novel is originally written in Japanese language) who have not only retained the crisp pace of the original but also have done it beautifully. I wonder, if the translated manuscript is this good, how good would the original be!
Over-all a must-read and a must-have for all the suspense/mystery/crime thrillers lovers.