Using his unique blend of Science and Mathematics, Keigo Higashino is known for his slow-burn thrillers that have you guessing right up to the final chapters. Salvation of a Saint is nothing new in that regard.
A beautifully laid out puzzle of a whydidtheydoit, and less of a whodunit, surrounded by the gorgeous scenery of Japanese outskirts, you can’t help but keep reading deep into the night.
Higashino is notorious for his intricate set-pieces (murder-scenes, surroundings, subtle clues) to bring the story together.
Slow pacing and obscure references can put off those who aren’t willing to invest in his work; however, those that do will be rewarded with an excellent thriller.
Oh, and in case you didn’t already know, Higashino is one of Japan’s best-selling authors; up there with Haruki Murakami.
Yoshitaka Mashiba is found to have drunk poison, via his coffee, while inside his locked home. His wife Ayane is hundreds of miles away at the time of death, having to visit her dying father, so how can she be under suspicion.
To make matters worse, his body is found by Ayane’s patchwork apprentice Hiromi, who was having a secret affair with Yoshitaka at the time.
Immediately the police are looking to both of these women as their prime suspects, but with little to go on, they don’t have much chance of a conviction.
This is where the series main-stay character, Manabu Yukawa, comes in.
The Nutty Professor
Using his scientific background, he helps both detective Kusanagi, and his assistant, Kaoru Utsumi to narrow down their options and draw up a relative conclusion.
Focusing mostly on Police Detective Kusanagi, the story progresses as he uncovers further information regarding the couple’s relationship(s).
Matters are made more complicated when the detective starts to develop feelings for the beautiful widow, possibly clouding his judgement along the way.
Credible characters always go a long way towards making a novel believable, and if there’s one thing Higashino does well, it’s writing developed characters.
Each feels real, three-dimensional in their fictional world, creating further tensions between the stakes of murder.
I found it easy to relate to Kusanagi; caught between an attraction and doing the right thing. So often, when we meet somebody new, we only see their positive side and tend to overlook the negative aspects of their character.
I guess it’s true what they say, love is blind.
However, in time, this view of the other will fade for better or worse, depending on the nature of the relationship.
Packed full of problems, each more complex than the next, Salvation of a Saint will have you on tenterhooks until the closing chapters. This quality also makes it extremely difficult to put down.
When asked a seemingly simple question but you don’t know how to answer it, there’s always the temptation to read on.
Personally, I believe this is where Higashino comes into his own.
He’s so good at leaving the close of each chapter on a small cliff-hanger, baiting you into reading more and more.
Anyone who enjoys a slow-burn thriller will have no issues with Salvation of a Saint.
Filled full of multifaceted characters, slick tension and a lovable scientist, this book offers a lot in the way of crime thrillers.
It’s not as gritty as Deaver’s The Bone Collector, but it makes up for the lack of crime-scene aesthetics with a great sense of puzzle solving.
If you prefer your thrillers more action-orientated, then I wouldn’t recommend this book; You’re better off with someone like Jo Nesbø.
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