Juliana Philippa's Reviews > The Devotion of Suspect X

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
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Superbly crafted psychological suspense novel - simple, yet genius

This story was superbly crafted and a really wonderful, highly recommended read. The truth is I didn't actually like it very much at the beginning, however I quickly got pulled into the story and in the end could only admire the simple but genius quality of the plot.

There are essentially four main characters in this novel: Yasuko, the single-mother who commits the unplanned murder; Ishigami, a math teacher and her neighbor, who helps her cover it up; Kusanagi, the main detective investigating the case; and Yukawa, a physics professor who is friends with Kusanagi and often assists him on cases. Yukawa and Ishigami used to be friends when they were both university students, but had since lost touch.

For much of the beginning, Yasuko and Ishigami are the central of the book and the reason I wasn't getting wrapped up in the story was mainly because neither one of them really drew me in at first. While I sympathized with Yasuko, she appeared to me a somewhat boring character. Ishigami, on the other hand, seemed like he was probably very complex, but so placid and emotionless on the surface that I couldn't really get a feel for him. When Kusanagi and Yukawa become further integrated into the story, they were the ones whom I actually became most interested in and who really started to pull me in. The more I read, the more I ended up liking and understanding all four characters. The one who remained the weakest was our heroine, Yasuko, but Kusanagi, Ishigami, and Yukawa are wonderfully written, with the last two being the most complex and thoroughly developed/explored characters of the four.

The plot itself is nothing short of superb. Very skillfully crafted and just when you think you know what's going on and are ahead of characters x, y, and z, things take a surprising turn. There were also several cases of reverse dramatic irony (if that's an actual term - and if not, now it is!). What I loved most about the mystery was that it was as mystery stories should be: there are enough clues that the reader could actually figure things out, but the truth of the matter is that you're not going to (or at least I didn't) because it's so carefully interwoven and hidden.

Another thing that was absolutely fabulous - and also superb in a mystery/suspense - is that I truly did not know how the book was going to end. You have all of these opposing forces and teams - Yasuko and Ishigami, the accomplices; Kusanagi and Yukawa, the investigators; Yukawa and Ishigami, the math and science geniuses and reacquainted friends - and are somewhat confounded as to who you should be rooting for. So not only do you not know how the book is going to end, but you also are not sure how you even *want* it to end!

This was the first I had heard of this book and this author, but after finishing The Devotion of Suspect X, it is clear to see why it is an award-winning book and why Higashino is Japan's biggest bestselling novelist. I am already looking forward to reading more of his work.

This review is of an advanced copy format of the book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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Reading Progress

April 18, 2011 – Started Reading
April 18, 2011 – Shelved
April 18, 2011 – Shelved as: advance-reading-copy-or-galley
April 19, 2011 – Shelved as: librarything-early-reviewers
April 26, 2011 –
page 196
April 28, 2011 – Shelved as: 2011-apr-reads
April 28, 2011 – Shelved as: 2011-reads
April 28, 2011 – Shelved as: translated-into-english
April 28, 2011 – Shelved as: japanese-literature
April 28, 2011 – Shelved as: set-in-japan
April 28, 2011 – Shelved as: reverse-dramatic-irony
April 28, 2011 – Shelved as: award-winning
April 28, 2011 – Shelved as: asian-literature
April 28, 2011 – Shelved as: set-in-asia
April 28, 2011 – Shelved as: east-asian-literature
April 28, 2011 – Shelved as: set-in-east-asia
April 28, 2011 – Shelved as: psychological-thriller-and-suspense
April 28, 2011 – Finished Reading
April 29, 2011 – Shelved as: 0-reviewed
April 29, 2011 – Shelved as: 4-stars
May 1, 2011 – Shelved as: 0-own-in-dead-tree-form
June 28, 2011 – Shelved as: 4-to-5-stars
August 22, 2011 – Shelved as: 2011-reads-my-favorites-of-the-year
November 18, 2017 – Shelved as: 0-own

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