I was lucky enough to find this book last month while on my spree searching for good thrillers. The blurb immediately captured my attention and I was definitely looking forward to reading it except I haven’t read anything the last one month but finally I think am slowly getting back to it and this is the third book I have finished in a week. So lets get straight to the review.
The story revolves around three main characters in Japan. Yasuko, who works at a lunch-box shop. Ishigami, a high-school Math teacher as well as Yasuko’s neighbour and Yasuko’s ex husband Togashi. Yasuko had escaped her abusive ex five years ago and they hardly had any contact. Except he finds her again but she just doesn’t want to run anymore. At least her daughter doesn’t. A casual meet up quickly escalates to violence and Togashi ends up dead in their apartment. Shocked, afraid and confused what to do they are rescued by their neighbour Ishigami who overheard the commotion and decides to plot a way to cover up everything.
Soon a body is discovered and all fingers point to Yasuko. Except she has a good alibi but the Detective Inspector investigating the case has his suspicions as to who could have killed Togashi. Add to the mixture a variable Ishigami never expected, an old acquaintance and physicist Dr. Yukawa who suspects Ishigami’s involvement in the case and we have a taut and suspense filled plot that has you at the edge of your seat wondering how its going to end.
This was a fantastic read. I just couldn’t stop turning the pages and it is written in the most simple manner with no fancy ideas and contraptions. The murder takes place within the first few chapters and the characters are all set within these chapters as well. I loved how the author captured the everyday mundane things and people Ishigami describes in the beginning which comes in handy later on. I also loved how he made the characters so human and so relatable. As if we are reading about our own neighbours, making it an almost cozy read. The thrills aren’t obvious but every time DI Kusanagi interviews them you wonder how they are going to escape undetected. The plot isn’t about who murdered who but how they are going to conceal it and if they will be successful.
One of the most annoying things, sadly, about the book was the character Dr.Yukawa whose presence was only to destroy a great plot with his presence however necessary it seems. The flow was just marvellous and you cannot help but wonder what did Ishigami do to cover up the murder. The taut game of chess between Yukawa and Ishigami was highly entertaining and left you wanting more. What makes this read just short of five stars is the ending. It just leaves you conflicted, angry and ambivalent.
Pros: Rich Story, Character driven, Suspense, pace
Cons: Perhaps the translation has changed bit of the tone and undercurrents.
Bibliogyan Verdict: A masterpiece with the touch of emotions.