Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Silent Girl and The Devotion of Suspect X

I honestly couldn't post yesterday, something went wrong with my computer. But anyway, I have two books to talk about:

The first, is called The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen. When I first learnt that it was centred around Chinatown and Chinese traditions, I can honestly say that I was quite worried. Somehow, Western authors either seem to be treating it all as tripe or taking it too seriously. But when I found out that Tess Gerritsen was an ABC, I was quite pleased. It seems that she has a good grasp of Chinese culture. I'm not sure why, but I always thought that it's very hard to write about a foreign culture authentically, or maybe to even be a part of it. Which is why, I'll probably always be a "gaijin" in Japan (when I get there).

Anyway, The Silent Girl is a really good novel. Because we are given two different and unconnected perspectives at the start, I was tricked by my assumption that it was a good/bad perspective. I was wrong, and pleasantly so. The ending of the novel is surprising, with a twist that I didn't expect. However, I'm glad to see that the twist was believable. I've come across too many novels that rely on unexpected twists to get an ending, and it feels unsatisfying.

The only "downside" of the novel, it seems, is that it seems to condone policemen killing suspects, through use of excessive force. For some reason, the novel opens with Maura, the coroner, testifying in a case whether a policeman committed homicide on a suspect that had killed a policemen. Of course, this action leaves her hated by the boys in blue, and even our protagonist tries to speak up for the policemen. Perhaps it's because I see things in black and white, but I think she was right not to call the death "misadventure" or something else when she thought it was homicide. However, this has no bearing on the case whatsoever, so I was a little puzzled as to why it was even included in the book.

The other novel I read, was The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino. It's based on the movie "Suspect X", staring Masaharu Fukuyama as Yukawa-sensei and Kou Shibasaki as Utsumi-san. Normally, I'd have read the book before the movie, but I have a feeling that this was just translated. Plus, I've watched the series before I even saw the movie(: In this book, however, the role of Utsumi was replaced by Kusanagi, who made only minor appearances in the series and movie. But, the book is still thoroughly enjoyable, and I enjoyed how I got a perspective into the mind of the various characters, which is impossible to do in a movie.

So, two murder mysteries, one from Japan and the other from America. Both, I think, should be read, and it's a welcome change from my recent "diet" of romance novels.

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