I finished reading Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino yesterday. When I started reading it on Tuesday night, I was immediately gripped by the story. Though it is 539 pages long, I was able to finish reading it within 2 days.
I first came to know about Keigo Higashino when I bought his novel ‘The Devotion Of Suspect X’ a few years ago and I immediately became a great fan of the Japanese author who is a phenomenon in Japan. Since then, I have read his ‘Salvation Of A Saint.’ When I saw ‘Journey Under The Midnight Sun’ in Popular Bookstore, I immediately grabbed a copy of it. This is the fifth of Keigo Higashino’s novels to be translated into English. I now eagerly await the arrival of his latest novel ‘A Midsummer’s Equation’ in the local bookstores.
The novel begins in Osaka in 1973 when a group of children playing inside an abandoned building find the body of a pawnshop owner, stabbed through the chest with a thin, sharp blade. Homicide Detective Junzo Sasagaki, the lead officer investigating the case, follows several leads and meets two young children: Ryo, the son of the murdered man, and Yukiho, the daughter of one of the murdered man’s acquaintances. His investigation unearths more questions, and shines a light on some possible infidelities and family quarrels, but never reaches any conclusions. Though Sasagaki’s suspects there is more to the deaths, he is unable to solve the murder. The case is abandoned but Sasagaki never quite gives up on it.
The remainder of the novel spans the course of nineteen years and is told from the point of view of a succession of characters. All the characters, major and minor, are richly detailed and are intricately connected. Every character is somehow linked to either Ryo or Yukiho and unusually strange crimes continue to occur.
Journey Under the Midnight Sun is not only big in terms of its 539 pages, but also in complexity. Higashino’s strength is the way in which he tricks us into searching for a clue that’s sitting in plain sight the whole time.
Journey Under the Midnight Sun is an extremely well crafted novel. What makes Journey Under the Midnight Sun a highly recommended read is Higashino’s narrative technique of chopping his story into little bits, introducing new characters or events suddenly, only to rewind afterwards to offer explanation. It’s a complex yet intelligent narrative that takes a lot of brainpower for the reader to keep hold of the essence of the story, especially with the Japanese names that never seem to roll off the tongue. Readers are constantly kept on their toes, turning the pages as if mesmerized.
I find Journey Under The Midnight Sun a brilliant novel. I cannot recommend it enough. Go get it!