A twenty-year-old murder
A chain of unsolvable mysteries
Can one detective solve this epic riddle?
When a man is found murdered in an abandoned building in Osaka in 1973, unflappable detective Sasagaki is assigned to the case. He begins to piece together the connection of two young people who are inextricably linked to the crime; the dark, taciturn son of the victim and the unexpectedly captivating daughter of the main suspect. Over the next twenty years we follow their lives as Sasagaki pursues the case – which remains unsolved – to the point of obsession.
I remember reading Malice by Keigo Higashino exactly one year ago and stated then that it was a contender for book of the year for me and so it remained. A few titles challenged in the final few months of the year but none left the same mark that malice and its characters did.
Here we are a year later and Journey Under the Midnight Sun, the third Higashino novel to be translated into English, is something a little different, ok a lot different! By all accounts this is Higashino of old, a novel reminiscent to The Devotion of Suspect X (which I haven’t read) his first and overnight Japanese sensational blockbuster that sold in excess of two million copies. At well over 500 pages this latest novel will take some reading but despite an incredibly complex structure it’s well worth the effort.
I have to admit, of the two Higashino novels I’ve read; Malice still remains my favourite – by far. Osamu Nonoguchi’s character in Malice was and is an outstanding protagonist and narrator, he will take some beating. Every once in a while a character comes along and has such a profound effect; this is what books are made for and to this day he remains a benchmark for future protagonists – for me at least!
The book begins with a body – Yosuke Kirihara, a pawnbroker – found in an abandoned building but before the ink is dry the book has moved on and despite the initial police investigation by Junzo Sasagaki the crime unsolved.
As the book advances in years so do the relationships, some more tenuous than others but it’s the one between Yukiho Karasawa and Ryo Kirihara that had me intrigued. There’s so much there, so much depth, you’ll be analysing the relationship for days after finishing the book! Yukiho is the star of the show for me and as we are initially introduced to her she’s a schoolgirl but as the novel develops so does Yukiho, mesmerizingly so.
Whatever you do don’t expect an easy ride with this books, Higashino has a particular style and he doesn’t like to make things easy. Where’s the fun in that?! He introduces someone only to abruptly stop and change the story, only to reintroduce said character further down the line. It’s a complex yet intelligent narrative that takes a lot of brainpower for the reader to keep hold of the essence of the story, especially with the foreign names that never seem roll off the tounge.
Full of dark crime, dark events and devastation Journey Under the Midnight Sun is set to be another global blockbuster for Keigo Higashino. I’m looking forward to his next novel and just hope that it contains more magical characters, I’m sure it will! Although it took me a while to finish this read, I’m so glad I persevered. A final note, I’m still slightly confused as to the intensions of the author and what he wanted to achieve with this book but one thing’s for sure he’s created another group of fascinating characters and a spotted history of Japanese culture spanning twenty odd years.
- Paperback:544 pages
- Publisher:Little, Brown (8 Oct. 2015)
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 4.3 x 23.4 cm