Norman G. (Diamond Bar, CA)
The Devotion of Suspect X is a quick read, but has interesting and likable characters to lead the storyline. The ending differed from the expected and proved a little hard to accept by American values, but the workings of a foreign culture make the book a notch above regular crime detection. The development of the lead villain/hero made the book work for me. I have recommended the novel to two others who found it a worthwhile read and spoke highly of their experience
Laureen S. (Aurora, IL)
Not What I Expected
After reading about this author's success in Japan and the premise of the novel, I was looking forward to reading The Devotion of Suspect X. I was disappointed though in the pace of the novel and in the development of the characters. I am not sure if this is the author's writing or the translation, but whichever I struggled to finish the book. Additionally, the ending fell short of what I would have hoped for this novel - the plot is a good one if the writing had equaled it.
Molly K. (San Jose, CA)
A Real Whodunnit
I just finished the last page, and I’m glad I got this book. The story promises fascinating characters, a real murder mystery, a plethora of clues for the reader, and a battle of wits between police officers, a high school math teacher, and a physicist. What the story seems in the beginning may not be the same story at the end.
I wish the characters had been more fully developed. The writing becomes tedious at times, and the conversations often seem awkward and austere, with little emotion attached. In other places, the writing seems too casual for the content. Is this a translation problem, perhaps?
The crux of the mystery is a mathematical/logical puzzle: in solving a problem, should a person pursue his own solution or instead, should he analyze and evaluate the solutions of others. I found this concept intellectually challenging and hope that one I get a chance to try it out.
Arden A. (Lady Lake, FL)
Physicist vs. Mathematician
I can understand why this author is so highly regarded in his country. His novel is an intricately woven mental duel between a mathematician, Ishigami, who has contrived a complicated cover up to a crime, and his friend, the physicist Yukawa, who has figured it out, and whose actions bring us to the dramatic finale. The detective on the case, Kusanagi, is a cog in the wheel, at best. One could draw a parallel to “The Gift of the Magi.” Our mathematician sacrifices to the ultimate degree for his unrequited love, Yasuko, and she, in turn, unknowingly offers up her own sacrifices as well. Justice prevails, I think, but in a somewhat disturbing and unsatisfying way. Even so, it was an engrossing read that I would highly recommend.
Shirley L. (Norco, LA)
What a fun, intelligent read. Higashino's characters are fully formed and his plot is as taut and satisfying as a perfect geometry proof. The writing is simple and logical but contains so much - the meaning of love, friendship, justice, loyalty, truth. This is a book that stays with you after you finish the last page and makes the reader want to share it with others. I plan to give this book to my son who is working on his PhD in Math. I hope he takes an afternoon away from his work for this nugget of gold.
Vivian Q. (Greer, SC)
I'd read a blurb about this book months ago, added it to my wish list, and was very happy when I won an Advanced Reader's Copy for review. I expected to be wowed by this winner of the Japanese Naoki prize which is similar to the National Book Award.
What I got instead, was a slow, boring and unimaginative read. I had to really push myself to finish it because nothing about the book engaged me - not the story, the characters, and especially not the writing. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.
Patricia S. (New Canaan, CT)
Momentum builds slowly
A seemingly perfect crime in Japan is solved through scientific theory by a physicist turned detective as he meets with a mathematics professor, a former university friend. Momentum builds very slowly in this mystery, written in spare Japanese prose, and I couldn't become involved with the characters. I did expect more from this prolific author.