8686068-197x300I’m usually not the person who is reading a thriller novel, a mystery novel, or a suspense novel, so when The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino (translated by Alexander O. Smith) was offered to me as a free novel to review from Goodreads, it took me a little while to open it. I’ll admit trepidation at seeing unfamiliar names and places and an initial inability to adapt to the environment of the novel. However, I buckled down one rainy weekend evening and settled in for an adventure I could not have foreseen. I’m getting older. Adventure doesn’t happen much anymore.

The Devotion of Suspect X begins in the way most of the stories I read begin: with a single mother working hard to support her daughter. Unfortunately for this particular single mother, Yasuko, her past is determined not to let her live in peace. Yasuko’s ex-husband, Togashi, was both physically and mentally abusive and, after several moves, he’s found her and her daughter Misato, yet again. Generally, she’s been able to get rid of him with a little bit of cash, but Togashi has had a change of heart and has decided Yasuko is his and he is staying with her whether she wants him to or not. When Yasuko protests, the situation turns to violence, quickly, involving Misato, and ends in Togashi dead on the apartment floor and a neighbor who has both a secret of his own and a willingness to help Yasuko and Misato fix the problem. When Detective Kasanagi takes on the case, he and his friend, Yukawa, match wits with Yasuko and her neighbor, Ishigami, in a thrilling race to the end of the novel.

Honestly, this book is great. I would love to be able to put forth a lot of lovely phrases to pretty up my review, but I was on the edge of my seat and never found myself wondering when I was going to get to a good part. The entire book was a “good part” and that is truly rare. Just when I thought I had something figured out, the plot turned me on my ear and flipped so nothing I thought I knew was right. The book is the equivalent of a non-stop rollercoaster ride where what you think you know only leads you further away from the truth. What’s worse about it is that you know what happened and how Togashi died. You only think you know the rest. I challenge you to read this novel and see if you can figure out Ishigami’s game from start to finish before it is completely revealed to you. I guarantee you that you and Yukawa have your work cut out for you. Well-written and well-translated. There were only a couple of times the wording felt a little off to me, but it just added more authenticity to the reading. Nicely done.