The concept of ‘spoiler alert’ comes in so hand-in-hand with the genre of mystery writing that almost any book that gives away the final reveal early on makes you wonder what the rest of the book is about.
Well, this book takes that a big further since you only have to read the first line of its blurb to know who the culprit was. Having said that, this book also happens to be one of the most ‘unputdownable’ books you can probably get your hands on!
The Devotion of Suspect X opens with Yasuko, a divorced single mother, accidentally killing her abusive ex-husband Togashi in self-defence. What follows is her reclusive neighbour Ishigami, who happens to be a mathematical genius slightly infatuated by Yasuko, overhearing the noise from their house and offering his help covering up the murder. That pretty much sums up the first two chapters in a book that boasts nineteen.
While there is Ishigami on one side, solving the above-mentioned issue in a truly mathematical fashion, the police approach Dr. Yukawa for help in the case. As it turns out, Dr. Yukawa is a physicist ready to unravel the crime like a physics problem and also happens to have gone to university with Ishigami. What follows is a mighty battle of wits, with every turn seemingly a check-mate move from one party, only to have the other one with another trick up their sleeve. The book keeps the cultural setting of Japan constantly shining through without letting it overpower the tussle in hand. It is a tightly-knit story that constantly evaluates concepts such as evidence, psychology, timelines, alibi and most importantly, the relative value of life people assign to one another.
Despite going against the very grain of traditional thrillers keeping their secrets hidden until the end, this book declares everything at the outset and still delivers a nail-biting finale in a beautiful prose that is a thrill of its own merit!