Keigo Higashino, the author of Malice (1996), is apparently the ‘Japanese Stieg Larsson’. I can’t attest to that, having read none of the latter’s books but I’ve seen the films. If this is meant to mean that Higashino writes decent mystery or crime books, then I guess that would be fair. I read and reviewed one of Higashino’s books previously and enjoyed it enough to try another one.
Malice is the fourth in the Detective Kaga series. I don’t normally like starting partway through a series but sometimes this can’t be avoided, especially when the work may not be available in English. Nevertheless, I didn’t find any continuity problems in reading it. To quote Goodreads, ‘novelist Kunihiko Hidaka is found brutally murdered in his home on the night before he’s planning to leave Japan and relocate to Vancouver. His body is found in his office, a locked room, within his locked house, by his wife and his best friend, both of whom have rock solid alibis. Or so it seems.’
One thing I appreciated in this book, and is a feature of really good detective novels, is the fact that around half-way through I thought, ‘how is this going to continue when it all seems to be done and dusted?’ Well the book does continue and continues in an entirely unexpected way. Like all reviews of books, you can’t really say an awful lot for fear of giving things away. What I can say about Malice is that it’s well written (or well translated!), pacey, got lots of twists and turns, and makes you want to read another one. The characters aren’t the best defined I’ve read, but I think this is the trade-off you get with a novel that delivers on pace. I’ll definitely be checking out more Higashino and see if there’s more available in the Detective Kaga series.