Monday, December 20, 2010

The Devotion of Suspect X-Keigo Higashino; translated by Alexander O. Smith

The Devotion of Suspect X
Keigo Higashino; translated by Alexander O. Smith
Minotaur, Feb 1 2011, $24.99
ISBN 9780312375065

In Tokyo, mathematics teacher Ishigami worships recently divorced beauty Yasuko Hanaoka. He decides to do something for his perfect fantasy and for himself by changing his perceived triangle (with his idol and her ex as the other cortexes) into a straight line by eliminating one of the angles. Thus, lonely Ishigami strangles to death Yasuko’s abusive former husband Togashi who threatened his paragon using their daughter Misato as an extortion pawn. No one will mess with his beloved and live.

Police detective Kusanagi leads the homicide investigation. Yasuko finds herself mentally confused by the deranged mathematician’s perfect logic to keep her safe from the arrest for the murder of her ex. Meanwhile Kusanagi literally plays chess with the mathematician’s schoolmate physicist Yukawa and figuratively with Ishigami, who he suspects may be the killer. However, Yasuko repairs the triangle by adding the third angle wealthy Kudo; which leads to Ishigami to become obsessed with eliminating one third again.

Once the reader adapts to the Japanese names, this deep dark thriller grips the audience as the logic of adulatory worship is used to justify murder. This grim tale is character driven by caring people including the deranged lonely mathematician. The Devotion of Suspect X is a fabulous psychological thriller as everyone plays the game of relationships, but no matter what one does to simplify the equations of life ultimately everyone shares in common being checkmated.

Harriet Klausner

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