Posted in All Book Reviews, Crime fiction, Mystery

Book Review: Salvation of a Saint (By Keigo Higashino)

The first book of Keigo Higashino that I ever read was The Devotion of Suspect X (the English translation). And I have recommended it to everyone since (review here). So when I picked up Salvation of a Saint (I just couldn’t resist picking this over the other options), I had a lot of expectations. Read on to know how it (finally) went!

Genre:

Mystery

Length:

330 pages 

Blurb:

Yoshitaka Mashida is on the verge of divorcing his wife. But before he can do so, he dies of being posioned by arsenic-laced coffee. His wife, Ayane Mashiba, becomes the prime suspect. Except for one problem – she was hundreds of miles away the day that Yoshitaka was murdered. When Detective Kusanagi begins his investigation, he faces an unexpected challenge – he is smitten with the prime suspect and believes her to be innocent. But Junior Detective Kaoru Utsumi holds onto her belief that Ayane is guilty. Their difference of opinion, however, turns out to be the smallest of their problems in a case that becomes increasingly unsolvable as it unfolds. And so, Utsumi does what her boss has always done in such tough situations – she turns to Kusanagi’s brilliant friend, Professor Manabu Yukawa, known by the Tokyo Police as Detective Galileo. Will Yukawa be able to help Utsumi and his friend solve another seemingly unsolvable case? Or has he finally met his match in Yoshitaka Mashiba’s killer?

Overall Rating:

9 out of 10

Plot:

10 out of 10

Characterization:

10 out of 10

Primary Element:

10 out of 10 for its mystery

Writing Style:

10 out of 10

Part of a Series:

Yes. Salvation of a Saint is the second English-translated book in the Detective Galileo books, although it stands at #5 in the original (Japanese) series. It can easily, however, be read as a standalone or even as a starting point of the series.

Highlighted Takeaway:

Salvation of a Saint is unputdownable with twists that keep you guessing and questioning your earlier guesses, before coming to a brilliant and satisfying end – simple, but deadly!

What I Liked:

The cultural aspects were really beautiful. They give you so much insight into a completely different culture than what you may be used to if you usually read crime thrillers and mysteries from North America or the U.K.

The writing style is beautifully simple, and equally impactful. I just could not keep this one down and took every opportunity I got to read a few pages.

The representation of gender equality (in, I am given to assume, a male-dominated culture) while still being able to showcase (and celebrating) the strengths of each gender.

Lastly – the story. Keigo Higashino continuously manages to create complex stories that are simply presented. In fact, in both of his books that I’ve read, I’ve always started with wondering how he can stretch out and add mystery to something that seems obvious. And yet, he repeatedly does just that, leaving you with a sense of deep satisfaction when the mystery is finally solved.

What I Didn’t Like:

There was nothing that I really disliked about Salvation of a Saint, but I did feel like it fell just under The Devotion of Suspect X in my list of preferences. It was great but not as phenomenal as the latter.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who loves a good mystery. You should especially give Keigo Higashino’s books a shot if you like/liked Agatha Christie novels and other whodunits.

Who Should Avoid:

Anyone who doesn’t enjoy a good whodunit-style mystery.

Read It For:

A writing style that manages to highlight some of the most terrible aspects of people and humanity with simplicity that seems to be right at odds with the heinousness, and that yet manages to perfectly encapsulate it.

Share your thoughts on Keigo Higashino, Salvation of a Saint, or any of his other works in the comments below. Recommendations for similar books are very welcome! Coming up next… either a review of Tim Weaver’s Broken Heart or Nir Eyal’s Hooked.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading my review!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

Review: The Devotion of Suspect X (By Keigo Higashino)

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Source: Goodreads

Length: 374 pages

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Yasuko had left her bad marriage to Togashi and its terrible memories behind. She had made a new life for her daughter Misato and herself, one that was filled with hard work and happiness. And one that was devoid of the terror that Togashi had brought to her daily. Until he turns up at her doorstep one day. To protect her daughter, Yasuko commits the greatest crime of all, and Togashi ends up dead in her apartment.

Unsure of how to keep her daughter and herself safe from the consequences of her actions, Yasuko accepts the help she receives from the most unexpected of persons – her unassuming, quiet neighbor, and maths teacher, Ishigami. And when the police investigation leads Detective Kusanagi to Yasuko, he finds nothing but an alibi that just about holds its own. Yet, Kusanagi has his own helper – physicist, occasional consultant, college friend, and genius, Dr. Yukawa. Fate puts Yukawa against Ishigami, his old friend and mathematician extraordinaire, and the only person Yukawa considered smarter than himself.

What happens when two brilliant minds are pitted against each other? Can Ishigami fulfill his vow to protect Yasuko and Misato? Does friendship have a chance of survival? Or will unexpected betrayal tear apart the delicately woven fabric that holds so many lives in the balance?

My take:

To begin with, let me say that the above blurb contains a lot of information, but no spoilers. Everything happens in the first three chapters and sets a stage for the story that follows.

Now, you’d imagine that a story in which the victim, murderer, and aids to murder are laid out in the first few chapters would have little to offer in terms of mystery and suspense. But that’s where The Devotion of Suspect X is so incredible. Even with everything already explained, it manages to shock, surprise, and make you (audibly) gasp. It keeps you thinking about what bad (or good) is about to happen as the investigation unfolds, and it makes you turn pages while wishing you could read faster.

But that’s not even the best part.

Sure, there are really well-done characters, an intricately woven storyline, lots of things happening, and a lot to process.

But the most amazing part of the book is the presentation of logic, rationality, and emotion. We are used to believing that logic and emotion can rarely co-exist. But The Devotion of Suspect X tells you that, in reality, they do exist together and are, in fact, highly dependent on each other for their existence. The book gives you a look into the psyche of people that is both, beautiful and terrifying at the same time. It explores the depths to which emotion (of every positive and negative kind) can go, and shows you how, the deeper you go, the more enabling or catastrophic emotion can be. And this is done in a way that leaves you absolutely reeling. Higashino makes you feel for and associate with the characters in an art-that-was-lost sort of way – establishing powerful connections that stay with you long after the book is done.

The only reason I would give it a 4.5 instead of a 5 is because I wanted it to go a step further at the end. There are some loose ends (even though how they tie up is pretty implied) that I would have liked more explicitly covered. Other than that, there is little to complain about in the book. It’s fast paced, super-engrossing, deep, and so, so interesting. All in all, a rollercoaster of an experience that I’m glad to have gotten on.

Recommended for:

  • Ages 16+ (because it is a bit complicated as a read)
  • Anyone who likes psychological thrillers
  • Fans of crime fiction and whodunits

I would love to read your thoughts on The Devotion of Suspect X (or this review too). Tell us what you think in the comments below!

– Rishika