Customer Reviews for

The Devotion of Suspect X

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Brilliant and Engaging

"Which is harder: devising an unsolvable problem or solving that problem?" This question is posed early in The Devotion of Suspect X and is the heart of the conflict. A brilliant mathematician in love with his next door neighbor helps her create an alibi for a murder. O...
"Which is harder: devising an unsolvable problem or solving that problem?" This question is posed early in The Devotion of Suspect X and is the heart of the conflict. A brilliant mathematician in love with his next door neighbor helps her create an alibi for a murder. One that must stand up to the scrutiny of the police and, unexpectedly, an old college friend and rival. The battle of wits is fascinating and deeply involving. The crime is clear, but the construction of the alibi and its ability to withstand scrutiny is fascinating. The story reminds me in some respects of a Sherlock Holmes mystery if it were told from the perspective of Moriarty. The clues are there and the reader is invited to make sense of them along with the police. The thrills come not from the crime, which is revealed in the first few pages, but from wondering if the police are actually getting closer or being led astray. The "how" and "why" of the clues left behind invite you to match wits with the characters. That this book is originally written in Japanese only shows up in unfamiliar place names and different personal motivations based on culture. The english translation was perfect and the book was a very quick read. The conclusion of the book is both exciting and devastating. I received this book as part of an early reader program, and can understand why Keigo Higashino is so highly regarded in Japan. I hope that he finds an American following as well with this wonderfully written novel.

posted by tottman on December 21, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Not as good as I expected

This book got great reviews and I love a mystery. It is a "backward" non-mystery with the murder coming first. Devotion was a best seller in Japan and I think it must have been better in it's original language. I found it slow and plodding. I did finish it but was glad ...
This book got great reviews and I love a mystery. It is a "backward" non-mystery with the murder coming first. Devotion was a best seller in Japan and I think it must have been better in it's original language. I found it slow and plodding. I did finish it but was glad when it was done so I could get on to something better.

posted by PereLachaisse on August 9, 2011

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  • Posted December 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Brilliant and Engaging

    "Which is harder: devising an unsolvable problem or solving that problem?" This question is posed early in The Devotion of Suspect X and is the heart of the conflict. A brilliant mathematician in love with his next door neighbor helps her create an alibi for a murder. One that must stand up to the scrutiny of the police and, unexpectedly, an old college friend and rival. The battle of wits is fascinating and deeply involving. The crime is clear, but the construction of the alibi and its ability to withstand scrutiny is fascinating. The story reminds me in some respects of a Sherlock Holmes mystery if it were told from the perspective of Moriarty. The clues are there and the reader is invited to make sense of them along with the police. The thrills come not from the crime, which is revealed in the first few pages, but from wondering if the police are actually getting closer or being led astray. The "how" and "why" of the clues left behind invite you to match wits with the characters. That this book is originally written in Japanese only shows up in unfamiliar place names and different personal motivations based on culture. The english translation was perfect and the book was a very quick read. The conclusion of the book is both exciting and devastating. I received this book as part of an early reader program, and can understand why Keigo Higashino is so highly regarded in Japan. I hope that he finds an American following as well with this wonderfully written novel.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A smart whodunit with precise timing and alarmingly clever curveballs

    A smart whodunit with precise timing and alarmingly clever curveballs, The Devotion of Suspect X matches the murderous progression of a mathematics teacher's proof against a physicist's logic and a detective's intuition. Despite knowing what really happened from the first chapter, this book will have you quickly thumbing pages, eager to figure out the end.

    When Yasuko and her daughter Misato strangle Yasuko's brutal ex-husband Togashi after a threatening encounter in their apartment, their quiet neighbor Ishigamo unexpectedly steps in to help, taking care of the body's disposal and carefully crafting the women's responses to the police questions sure to follow. As the formal investigation progresses, it seems that Ishigamo, a genius math scholar currently teaching at a local high school, has thought of everything. Kusanagi, the detective in charge of the inquiry, finds the facts flimsy and turns to his former classmate, Yukawa, a brilliant physicist with a predilection for amateur sleuthing and Ishigamo's erstwhile competitor. Adding Yukawa to the equation is a factor that even Ishigamo and his legendary logic hadn't considered, but will it matter in the end?

    Normally, murder mysteries fall slightly outside my diameter of preferred reading materials. Perhaps due to a youthful overdose of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys novels. Mysteries fell off my radar entirely when I could guess endings or characters felt too shallowly developed, or, unfortunately, both. Higashino's novel avoids both pitfalls with ease.

    Be warned that it may take a few chapters for the unfamiliar names to read easily and some trite phrasing plagues the translation from Japanese -or it might also have plagued the original -, but overall the book's unique premise and foreign culture add drama to Higashino's already charged pacing.

    If you crave an unsolvable mystery, you'll find The Devotion of Suspect X rife with pretzeling facts and one mathematician's murky motives.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2012

    THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X by Keigo Higashino is the beginning of

    THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X by Keigo Higashino is the beginning of a different kind of a police procedural, which uses wit and supreme intelligence to solve crimes. This is an intelligent mystery of 'how could this have happened.'

    A mathematical genius and his physicist genius friend are comrades and foes in this mystery. The question being "Is it more difficult to formulate an unsolvable problem or to solve that problem." The characterization and atmosphere gladly take
    second place in this fantastic new style of mystery. Though 'new' for most of the mysteries written today, it definitely has the feel of a Sherlock Holmes type conundrum! Fascinating and thought provoking throughout, though we know who did the murder, the 'how' was enthralling to the very end!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Very clever novel. It is immediately established that the ex-wi

    Very clever novel. It is immediately established that the ex-wife is guilty and the turns and twists of the cover-up make for a very thought-provoking read. Sort of a thinking man's murder by numbers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2012

    Loved this book! I got it as a Christmas gift and its a book I n

    Loved this book! I got it as a Christmas gift and its a book I never would have picked on my own. What a great surprise. I guess I' need to branch out a little more, or just depend on others to find me a new great read. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2012

    I really enjoyed this novel. I bought it because it was on a boo

    I really enjoyed this novel. I bought it because it was on a book club list at a local bookstore and I'm so glad I did. I'll definitely be checking out other work from this author. Specifically, I love the complexity of the characters and how they interact plus the mystery and the way in which we're trying to solve it backwards was a real treat. Love it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2012

    If you must...

    I bought this because it was a starred review by Kirkus. I am completely disappointed. In fairness, the beginning was well executed. The absolute end showed a side of the characters that had been missing throughout the novel. If you read Alan Bradley, Martin Cruz Smith, Le Carre and such the like then you will find the overall novel plebeian.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    Not as good as I expected

    This book got great reviews and I love a mystery. It is a "backward" non-mystery with the murder coming first. Devotion was a best seller in Japan and I think it must have been better in it's original language. I found it slow and plodding. I did finish it but was glad when it was done so I could get on to something better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent intellectual thriller!

    Review based on ARC. wow. I barely know where to begin. I can see why the book has won Japan's equivalent of the National Book Award and why it was made into a move (that I hope to see soon!!). First. Get past the first 20 pages. Mystery readers who are used to the flash-intro may find this novel begins a bit slowly - starting with a "beginning" but not with some huge shock-and-awe scene. That, combined with the unfamiliar names, can make the book just a tad harder to access from the start. But, as I said, give it 20 pages. At page 18, I lost track of the page numbers and the previously unheard names (Ishigami was easy, but Yasuko versus Yukawa was a little trickier at first) were already familiar. Second. I wouldn't actually call it a murder "mystery." Typically, that brings to mind a book in which the murderer and often the murder implement is unknown. In this book, you know from the beginning what has happened. Instead, I would categorize it as a cat-and-mouse intellectual thriller. Who will "win"? The brilliant guy on side A or the brilliant guy on side B? On top of that, there aren't any "bad guys" to hate (aside from one, but he does not really bother us) ... and hardly a "good guy" to cheer. Instead, the characters are complex, realistic, vivid, and endearing. I could not possibly divulge too much of a plot for fear of ruining what will be a thrilling ride for readers of this book. So instead, I say: read it. Give yourself enough time to get into the book; give yourself enough mental energy to wrap your head around the complexities of the narrative; give yourself a little space to process what happened once you are finished. I would say the only "bad" thing about the novel is that there were just a couple little trips in the translation... but I was reading an advance readers' edition, so I imagine they are no longer present. In other words, absolutely excellent. Highly recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 11, 2011

    For fans of the show...

    Being a fan of the Japanese TV series "Galileo" and the movie that was based on this very book, I instantly recognized the title and just had to read it. Initially, I was slightly disappointed that Detective Utsumi, the female detective introduced as the successor to Kusanagi in the TV series, was entirely wiped from existence, and Kusanagi took the leading role. However, in the film, the banter between Utsumi and Yukawa was minimal, so the substitution did little but affect the tone of a few verbal exchanges. It was more than made up for by being able to be privy to Ishigami's inner workings though. If you've seen the movie, the story pretty much plays out the same, so if you're the type who can't read a book that's already been "spoiled" this won't be for you--but overall it was entertaining to read, and gave me an even better appreciation for characters I already adore. If you haven't seen the movie and you can tolerate subtitles, I recommend you dig it up for a watch, as it holds much truer to the book than most Hollywood adaptations. It's Japanese title is "Yougisha X no Kenshin" Overall a quick and engrossing read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Smart Mystery

    "The Devotion of Suspect X" by award winning Japanese author Keigo Higashino is a fictional mystery book but not in the usually "who-dun-it" style. This charming novel focuses on the mind games played between the suspect and a police consultant - both brilliant mathematicians.

    A divorced single mother and former night club hostess , Yasuko Hanaoka, thought she finally escaped her ex-husband when he shows up on her door step. One thing leads to another and the ex-husband ends up dead. Ishigami, Yasuko's neighbor who is a middle aged high school math teacher, hears the commotion and helps her get rid of the body.

    When the unidentified body turns up, Detective Kusanagi turns up on Yasuko's doorstep as part of his investigation. Yasuko however has an airtight alibi. Kusanagi brings in Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a brilliant physicist who gets a kick out of help the detective solve what seems to be unsolvable crimes. Yukawa is a college friend of Ishigami and is convinced he has something to do with the murder.

    "The Devotion of Suspect X" by Keigo Higashino is a very clever mystery novel. The mystery is the way the investigation unfolds, layer by layer while the reader is privy to how the murder was done is a unique way to tell a story; it is also dangerous because the pitfalls to ruin the story are many. Actually one could say that this book, certainly a thinking person's novel, is more of a psychological drama, a cat and mouse game, than a mystery.

    The interaction between the characters is very interesting and the characters themselves are appealing as well. As we get to know Ishigami, we learn why he wastes his time teaching high-school students who don't care and that he must pass. We learn about his strange devotion to Yasuko and keep wondering what made him do what he did - all the way to end.

    Understanding Ishigami is the key to understanding this book.

    Scattered throughout the books are complex philosophical questions and mathematical proofs. I found those interesting even though some were hard for me to grasp but somehow they helped the story move along. How Keigo Higashino achieved that might be the true mystery of the book.

    A word of praise to the fine and fluent translation by Alexander O. Smith.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Scholarly police procedural

    Be prepared to get sucked into this new thriller from Keigo Higashino. While he's already a big name in Japan, this is his first book translated into English. It's best called a police procedural rather than just a crime novel, because every little detail Higashino includes has a point in the story. What's most unique is as soon as you begin, the murder of a man occurs, and you know exactly who did it. Straight up, it's right there, demanding you pay attention!




    The mystery of the novel comes into play as the crime is investigated by the police force as well as two academics, one a physicist and the other a mathematician, both former competitors who are eager to prove their superiority to each other as well as the police detectives that they look down upon. Nothing plays out as ordinary, although the characters can be considered regular people. Rather than an all-seeing Hercule Poirot type of solution, the novel is instead about observation of facts and the interpretation of the tiniest details. Because of the amount of intricate details, sometimes the narrative slows down. In fact, at a few points, you may even be distracted and feel as if you are balancing your checkbook. Yet that's the trick Higasino plays: the monotonous details are the most revealing and ultimately solve the crime.




    In addition to the mystery, the author builds credible characters, and makes their motives always remain a bit unclear. At times, while knowing 'whodunit', I still found myself questioning what I already knew, and wondering how much I assumed. Seeing a snapshot of the life of middle-class Japan, with its emphasis on decorum, routine, and reputation, makes a cryptic setting for the murder and its repercussions.




    Two factors bear mentioning: one, despite the complexity, the pace of the novel is subtle and quiet. This isn't an episode of CSI; there are no car chases or explosions. An intellectual challenge for the reader, it's as quiet as a crossword puzzle and much more complicated. Additionally, despite the initial murder (it was a bad guy, after all), there is no gore or expletives. None of the skin-crawling vulgarity or horrific crime scenes that some crime novels rely on appear in this story. To be honest, this is a classy crime novel, and I hope more of the series is translated into English, soon.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2011

    A must read

    The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
    Reviewed by shayrp
    High School math teacher, Ishigami, lives for the brief encounters he has with his beautiful neighbor. Yasuko, single mom of a teenager, lives for her daughter. When Yasuko's abusive ex husband tracks them down and threatens that life, she defends it. With a dead body on her hands she accepts the help of her neighbor, Ishigami, a man she barely knows. Ishigami, takes over and keeps Yasuko from being arrested with his passion for problem solving. In spite of all of Ishigami's work, Detective Kusanagi can't shake being suspicious of Yasuko and with the help of, Yukawa, an old friend of Ishigami's, he uncovers emotional clues and connections. Even when it seems that the detective is going to figure out the mystery, Ishigami will do anything to keep Yasuko out of prison and Yasuko discovers that his devotion to her is too big of a burden.
    I couldn't put this novel down. Even a day after reading it I am still thinking about the story. I enjoy fiction that could easily be reality. The pacing was wonderful and I almost wish I hadn't read it as quickly as I did. I, without a doubt, recommend this one. Even though the plot was pretty obvious in the beginning there were a couple of moments that surprised me, and had me saying "wow" out loud.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This deep dark thriller grips the audience

    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

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2014

    Love his books

    I love all his books. I wish more of them get translated.

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  • Posted April 6, 2013

    Quiet but very engaging and a quick read.

    I think the main characters were perhaps smarter than the author; I didn't feel the book as plausible as the author would have us believe. But still, it was entertaining, though more a novella than a novel.

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  • Posted January 15, 2013

    An excellent thriller! Cleverly written as mind games between a

    An excellent thriller! Cleverly written as mind games between a detective and the "murderer"! Highly enjoyable...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    A must read!

    This is about a man that has a secret crush on a neighbor and does her a favor. At first she is relieved that he help her with an accidental crime but later as the implication of how indebted she is to him and how possessive he is, she becomes scared.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2012

    Amazing

    Best writer ever. In japanese or enlgish this book is great. Everybody shoulf read it to understand the true human nature.

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  • Posted June 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Best Laid Plans

    Perhaps the plan of a mathematical whiz can only be undone by another mathematical whiz, or perhaps the author just had the creativity to invent a tale full of intrigue and puzzle solving. Either way we have something new, something worth reading. Perhaps it was just the translation, but I found the story awkwardly told in places, but nothing severe enough to stop me from recommending it to readers of interesting plots.

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