"2 million people can't be wrong", flaunts the book cover on your left, immediately attracting your attention. The actual cover of the paperback isn't this bold, although it informs that 2 million copies of the Japanese Version has been sold. The count of fascinated readers has just gone up to 2 million plus 1. Myself.
Well, I am glad that this book was ever translated to English, because of which I had the opportunity to read it. I am a person who forms ideas, and get shocked when things do not comply as per them. For example, I always looked upon the Japanese as the race of short people, who were good in gymnastics. I never thought they could be such talented authors as well.
Keigo Higashino has come up with an extraordinary book, and credit must also be given to Alexander O. Smith and Elye J. Alexander, the translators, who have kept the grip of the story intact. The original book has been made into a movie too. Needless to say, with such a strong storyline, the movie must have been a blockbuster.
The book is a very direct book. Murder is committed in the very first chapter, and you know all along who has done it as you progress through the book. Rest of the story is about how the police put together facts, test each theory against the other, and finally close in. On the other hand, the suspect offers a fairly strong alibi. Events keep swinging, and rapid developments compel you to wonder that everything is over. And then comes the bombshell: Things that appear sorted out, aren't that straightjacket either.
Perhaps, creating a difficult problem is tougher than solving it. And the murderer has set such a problem: it is not as simple as it appears, and it may be an algebra problem although it appears like a geometry one. As the police sort their thought processes, the reader, who is a quiet witness of the true course of events, hopes that the true murderer should not be punished. Everytime the noose tightens, the author brings forward an independent line of thought which stalls inevitable doom.
In the story, Keigo has brought forward how human beings react in different situations, how relationships prosper, how emotions swing, how deep can passion for a subject or person be.. its amazing. The truth finally is brought out, but it takes all by surprise. The end is too deep to expect, and one gets moved by it.
Written in absolutely lucid English, it is bound to get you hooked.
This review has been cross posted from Volatile Spirits