I’m guessing just about everyone has heard of The Devotion of Suspect X in some form or the other; maybe you’ve heard of the novel from a friend or colleague, maybe you’ve heard of, or watched, a movie based on this novel. How did this book get so famous, and more importantly for us book-lovers, is the book really that big of a deal; i.e.; is it any good?

The novel starts off giving us a glimpse of the main characters; a mathematician and maths teacher, Ishigami, his neighbor, Yasuko Hanaoka and her daughter Misato. Yasuko is estranged from her husband Togashi, who used to work for a well-known car manufacturer until he was discovered lifting the company money and subsequently fired from his job. Ever since then, he turns into a good-for-nothing who keeps harassing his wife for money whenever he’s short. He also becomes a drunk who hits his wife and child. Yasuko leaves her old job as a bar hostess and begins to work for her friend Sayoko at the luncheon shop; she also changes her residence to keep away from her husband.

But one chance encounter with her past changes Yasuko’s life forever. And this is when her neighbor Ishigami comes to her rescue and offers to get her out of the difficult predicament Yasuko’s found herself in.

When Detective Kusanagi of the Police Department begins to investigate the case, he finds himself unable to make much progress in the case and that nothing is quite as it seems. This is when he enlists the help of Dr.Manabu Yukawa, eminent physicist and professor at Imperial University, known in the police circles as “Detective Galileo”, for his often invaluable advice in seemingly uncrackable cases…

The story is really gripping, and it doesn’t really take long for the reader to become engrossed in the novel. Within 40 pages or so itself, the story reaches breakneck pace. And the intrigue is real here. The crime details are amazingly well-rendered by the writer. But the highlight is the collection of all those mind-games being played throughout, and sometimes even the reader is left wondering as to the reality or falsity of a detail, or a suspect’s accounting of the happenings.

This is one messed-up book, no second thoughts about it. It is also the most brilliantly written crime-mystery I’ve read in a while. Fully recommend this to anyone who’s even halfway interested in reading whodunits and psychological mysteries in general.

RATING : 9.5/10


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