Book Review – Malice by Keigo Higashino

I really liked this. Malice is a twisty, puzzle-box type murder mystery. I wouldn’t call it a high tension thriller, nor is it slow paced either. Arguably, it’s more of a character drama, and an interesting commentary on creative jealousy within the writing community.

Prominent author Kunihiko Hidaka is murdered in his home office the day before he is set to leave the country for Canada, and found by his long-time friend and fellow writer, Osamu Nonoguchi, who assists the police, and Detective Kaga, in their investigation. It comes to light, however, that Hidaka may have been extorting creative work from his supposed childhood friend, bringing the public to question how much of Hidaka’s work was truly his.

This is written very well (the English translation is also top-quality) and it’s fairly short, not much padding or unnecessary chapters where nothing happens. I would recommend if you like a murder mystery but don’t want much visceral death details, it’s not particularly gory. There are dark moments, mostly to do with the characters’ intentions rather than violence.

Because negatives are necessary, I felt like Detective Kaga’s character was somewhat under-developed. At times he is more of a narrator recounting the story rather than a character who is participating in it, and makes some unusual leaps of logic with minimal evidence. Otherwise, it’s pretty fantastic, would definitely recommend if you like puzzling mysteries.

General – 4.5/5

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