Monday, April 29, 2013

Saint to Satan

Title: Salvation of a Saint
Author: Keigo Hgashino
ISBN: 978-03-126006-8-6
Genre: Crime Fiction
Cost: INR 350/-
Pages: 377

Rating: 3.5/5

Some words before I can say something:

Ayane faced him again, taking a deep breath. “What about your love for me? Whatever happened to that?”
Yoshitaka flinched, then gradually his smile returned. “My love for you hasn’t changed a bit,” he said. “I can assure you of that. I do still love you.”
That was a complete lie, as far as Ayane was concerned. But she smiled and said that was good. She wasn’t sure how else to respond.
“Let’s go.” Yoshitaka stood and headed for the door.
Ayane glanced at her dresser, thinking about the white powder hidden in a sealed plastic bag in the bottommost drawer on the right.
Guess I’ll be using that soon, she thought, the last glimmer of hope fading beneath the shadow inside her."

A lot can happen over a cup of coffee it is said, after reading “Salvation of a Saint” I would love to add murder to the list. Set in modern Tokyo, “Salvation of  Saint” is Keigo Higashino’s 1st book I came across. Tokyo Police Detective Kusanagi is the lead protagonist of this crime fiction and has the task of figuring out the killer of Yoshitaka Mashiba along with his team members Utsumi, Mamiya, Kishitani and detective Galileo Prof. Yukawa.
 The story starts with the couple Yoshitaka and Ayane contronting the truth that their marriage is in shambles within a year and by the time you flip through 30 pages you find Yoshitaka dead. The suspects initially turn out to be Hiromi Wakayama , Yoshitaka’s mistress and Ayane’s favorite apprentice and Ayane the sad shaken wife who was off to her parents when the husband was killed. Even though at that point the readers conveniently know who the killer is, the police force are in the dark and still have a lot of pieces of the puzzle to figure out. Kusanagi smitten by the saint is torn between reality, evidence, duty, mind and heart. It is interesting to go through the dilemma Yukawa goes through to finally unveil the face of the killer. There are times in the book where the interrogation takes a wrong turn and something inside you is dying to scream at the Tokyo police “You are looking at this all wrong”.
The book is a sure quick read and is gripping too cause till the very end the killer is enjoying her time of extended salvation. But unfortunately for lovers of thrillers and crime fiction, who have scanned through Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novels like life and death crisis and remember almost every episode of ‘Castle’, knowing the killer right in the start is a big loophole that puts you in a realization mode half way through the story and you already know how the story might end.
It is definite page turner with use of very simple narrative and would appeal even the “not regular” readers.
Gripping as far as the investigation is concerned.
Character build up through the story, though not intended is good and you can connect to the characters well.
Biggest con would be, knowing who the killer is right at the establishment of the story.
Half way through the book the you have an 80-20 chance of figuring out the end.
Police getting smitten by a grieving widow was kind of a bollywood-ish plot to me.
Over all I would give the book a 3.5 but not a 4 on five because I really enjoyed the whole hill ride of the investigation. I still wish the author would have waited till the very end to let us know the saint was the satan, because revealing the murderer in the commencement of the book seemed unnecessary. But for people who love crime fiction this book is at least a “give it a try book”. And people who want to start reading crime fiction this would be a good start because it is simple fast and engrossing at the same time.

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