Goodreads blurb: When a man is found murdered in an abandoned building in Osaka in 1973, unflappable detective Sasagaki is assigned to the case. He begins to piece together the connection of two young people who are inextricably linked to the crime; the dark, taciturn son of the victim and the unexpectedly captivating daughter of the main suspect. Over the next twenty years we follow their lives as Sasagaki pursues the case – which remains unsolved – to the point of obsession.
Stark, intriguing and stylish, Journey Under the Midnight Sun is an epic mystery by the bestselling Japanese author.
To be very honest the only reason I picked up this book to read and review was the fact that it was by the same author who had written The Devotion of Suspect X, a book which I am yet to get around to reading, but one based on which I saw a Malayalam movie Drishyam which I immensely enjoyed and found to be extremely well conceptualized. And man, did Journey under the Midnight Sun blow me away or what!!!
As the blurb reads, the book begins with the murder of a pawnbroker which is being investigated by detective Sasagaki from the homicide division of the police. And his investigation leads him to the house of the principal character Yukiho, an unusually captivating girl who seems endowed with maturity and wisdom way beyond her age. Further, Sasagaki is also introduced, albeit briefly with Ryo, the son of the pawnbroker himself as part of his investigations.
The narrative then follows the lives of Yukiho and Ryo over the course of the next two decades and it is using this overarching narrative arc that the author takes us readers on a joyride of a book. Following the decades where computers, the internet, and various other technological innovations are being introduced to Japan, the story tells us about Ryo and his various (mis)adventures operating strictly on the greyer side of prevailing rules and regulations. His trysts with software piracy and various other business ventures are as much a reflection of the seedier side of Japanese society and teenagers in the 80s and 90s as much as they move this particular novel along.
Yukiho’s narrative is more traditional and follows her life as she is adopted by an aunt and seems to come into her own under her aunt’s tutelage. Her blossoming into a beautiful, capable and a woman ‘wanted’ by any man who sets his eyes on her is far more interesting and intriguing. More so because she seems to possess an inalienable ‘aura’ around her. Her ability to captivate men and make them into her puppets seems almost magical and her ability to manipulate almost any and every situation to her advantage is almost unbelievable.
But over the course of these two decades Sasagaki keeps himself busy in trying to figure out the mystery of the unsolved murder of Ryo’s father, the pawnbroker. And the last portion of the book where Sasagaki seems to have cracked the case itself makes for some really interesting reading. It is in this portion that the author puts together the seemingly unconnected and unrelated pieces of the bigger jigsaw puzzle together. Does he manage to solve the mystery, what actually did happen to Ryo’s father forms the crux of the book itself.
Suffice to say that I have become a huge fan of Keigo Hagashino and am making a beeline to read the rest of his books sometime soon after reading this one. Despite its size which is almost double that of other books in its genre, this book truly remains worth the time and effort readers put into it. A truly thoroughly enjoyable read.
The publishers offered a review copy of this book to me in return for an honest and unbiased review of the same.