I have just finished reading this one and I am blown away by how extraordinary it was?! I have never read a book with such an unreliable narrator before. Full of diversions and red herrings, this Japanese psychological thriller will have you wondering what to believe, and what not to believe, the whole way through!
Hidaka, an accomplished author, has been murdered. His friend and wife found the body, in a locked house, in a locked room. Soon after the discovery the friend, Nonoguchi, is arrested for the murder, and thus begins our journey to find out what really happened that night.
It is written in the form of sections, as follows:
1. MURDER (written by Nonoguchi)
2. SUSPICION (Kaga’s case notes)
3. RESOLUTION (written by Nonoguchi)
4. PURSUIT (Kaga’s notes)
5. CONFESSION (written by Nonoguchi)
6. 7. 8. THE PAST (Kaga’s interviews with people)
9. THE TRUTH (Kaga’s solution)
And each part is narrated in turn by Nonoguchi and the investigating police officer, Kaga.
In a turn of coincidence Nonoguchi and Kaga both taught at the same school in a previous life and so are already acquainted. This could lead to some conflict of interest, or it could be useful, you’ll have to read on to see.
Kaga has his own demons that he is battling with, I was really interested to learn about this side plot too, even though it’s a very small part of the book, it is related to the main theme.
Mostly because the guilt over my own failure hadn’t ever left me.
I enjoyed this one a lot. I buddy read it over two nights and discussed with a friend throughout. But I was thoroughly hooked from the moment I started it. We immediately are drawn in to this game of cat and mouse, and I had so many theories running round my head about who the murderer was, why they did it, how they did it etc. All my theories were wrong – well kind of! Once I’d got the hang of the way this was being written, I rethought my original inklings and it all became much clearer.
It is clever, it is unique, it’s an absolute page turner – even though the ‘action’ happens very early on, and nothing actually happens at all after the murder apart from the investigation.
There are a lot of references to bullying in this book. And I think that that is the main theme, the MALICE someone can feel toward another, for nothing other than being themselves.
When I asked why they didn’t like him, do you know what they said? “Just because”. Those words devastated me.
I would definitely recommend this to fans of slow burning psychological thrillers, intricately woven plots and unreliable narrators.