Detective Kyoichiro Kaga of the Tokyo Police Department has just been transferred to a new precinct in the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo. Newly arrived, but with a great deal of experience, Kaga is promptly assigned to the team investigating the murder of a woman. But the more he investigates, the greater number of potential suspects emerges. It isn’t long before it seems nearly all the people living and working in the business district of Nihonbashi have a motive for murder. To prevent the murderer from eluding justice, Kaga must unravel all the secrets surrounding a complicated life. Buried somewhere in the woman’s past, in her family history, and the last few days of her life is the clue that will lead to the murderer.
This is the second appearance in English of Police detective Kyochiro Kaga, the protagonist of the critically acclaimed Malice.
I have read three books written by Keigo Higashino now and I’ve mixed feelings about them. It’s bizarre that I’m not sure if I like them much and why not. For the records, I had loved reading The Devotion of Suspect X. Hadn’t liked Salvation of a Saint, and now, I kind of liked Newcomer. Weird, is it? This is one problem that I face while reading translated literature is that it is not consistent. The first two books of Higashino that I’d read were by a different translator than the one who did this latest book. It is futile to form an opinion about the literary aspects of a translated book as it is often said that the flavour of the original language evaporates in translation. While that is a much debatable topic, I’d focus on the other aspects that are more important in Higashino books.
What I like the most about his books are – they always begin with a murder. There’s no dilly-dallying on the fact that the books are murder mysteries, so the entree is served right at the beginning. All you can do is ruminate through the book and unravel the mystery layer by layer. It’s all about whodunit and whydunit more often than howdunit. If you start finding a pattern in a certain author’s style of writing and expect a similar one in their latest book, life gets easier. Newcomer begins with a murder too, as I had expected. But there were more surprises in the book.
The USP of Newcomer is its title and the theme behind it. As you progress reading, you will find that both the detective (Kyoichiro Kaga) and the victim (Mineko Matsui) are newcomers in the neighbourhood where the murder happens. It’s a superb theme and is well exploited by the author to form his chapters. Detective Kaga is transferred to the Nihonbashi precinct of Tokyo and the murder happens in the Kodenmacho district. He is assigned to help his superiors and he excels in his investigation in his unique way. I super liked the style that the author has chosen this time to present the story. As the chapters advance, you will find that the investigation goes into flashback and then comes back to present again to solve the final string. (That’s a clue, not really a spoiler if you are going to read this one). The flow of the story is pretty good and the chapters are crafted with great care.
What disappointed me is the plot itself. While it seemed a little weak to me to hold the motive and method of murder correct, I felt the subplots weighed over too much. This, really, is a book of subplots. If you love little stories, you will love each subplot as they’re written pretty well. But the cause was lost in my opinion as the main event got overshadowed. This is my first Kyoichiro Kaga book as I haven’t read Malice yet. But I liked the detective. He is smart and compassionate that seems to be rare not only with detectives in India but Japan too.
Recommended if you are a Higashino fan. Or not.
My Rating: 3/5
About the author:
Keigo Higashino was a Japanese author born on 4th February, 1958 in Osaka. He was working as an engineer before he began writing. Keigo was the President of The Mystery Writers of Japan from 2009 to 2013. He is renowned for his mystery novels which have garnered many awards and recognitions from all over.
Language: English, Genre: Fiction/Thriller
Author(s): Keigo Higashino
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co, Year Published: November 2018
Binding: Kindle, Edition: First, Pages: 352
Review copy from : Netgalley
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