Thursday, April 25, 2013


Suspense thrillers are always dicey. One has to make sure that the reader is kept engaged till the end. The pace should not slacken or bore the reader. And most importantly the finale should be jolting and awesome.
Keigo Higashino’s “SALVATION OF A SAINT” easily fulfils all the above criteria, and ends up delivering a lot more than the usual suspense thrillers. A Japanese bestseller, this book is translated by Alexander Smith.

PLOT – Yoshitaka Mashiba and Ayane Mashiba are married since one year. Things are not at all rosy between the couple. And so when Yoshitaka ends up being murdered by poisoning, naturally his wife is the first suspect. But the wife wasn’t even near Yoshitaka when he was poisoned. Infact, she was a hundred miles away at her parents’ place. So then who murdered Yoshitaka? And most importantly, HOW?

CHARACTERS AND WRITING – There are only a handful of characters – making us ponder even more as to who the killer is. Keigo Higashino’s writing style is simply superb. He covers all bases and leaves NOTHING to chance. Everything proceeds so logically that you just sit back and marvel at his ability to dissect a plot which looks so simple on the outside but is murky and complex in reality.

The investigating team consists of a detective Kusanagi who finds himself attracted to Ayane Mashiba. Then there is the ultra sharp and near genius WOMAN named Utsumi who excels as an assistant to Kusanagi. And finally we have the scientist cum detective Yukuwa or “CAPTAIN GALILEO” who is nothing short of a genius. Together they unravel the perfect crime ever committed.

Every small detail is of relevance in the book. There are things which one might feel are included just for the sake of making the story lengthy. But as you reach towards the end of the book, you realize that the author gives account of every detail he mentioned. The final suspense seems so absurd and yet it seems perfectly possible – THAT is the real beauty of the book.

POSITIVES – The whole novel is filled with positives. Not a thing is out of place. It is a flawless suspense thriller.

NEGATIVES – Almost none. The only thing which I thought was a letdown was the names of the characters. For a Japanese, they might seem okay, but for the rest of the world, they are a bit confusing. However as you progress, you get used to the names. Still, simpler names might have helped.

OVERALL, “SALVATION OF A SAINT” is a superb book – riveting, fast paced, unputdownable and with a mind blowing suspense. A must read!

MY RATINGS – 4.5 / 5     

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