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review 2018-07-19 20:14
"The Devotion Of Suspect X - detective Galileo #3" by Keigo Higashino - Translated by Alexander 0 Smith - Highly Recommended
The Devotion of Suspect X: A Detective Galileo Novel - Keigo Higashino,Alexander O. Smith

"The Devotion Of Suspect X" is an original, surprising, thought-provoking crime novel set in Japan. It's one of the most satisfying reads I've had this year so far because it's fresh, it works on so many levels and it's entertaining.

 

"The Devotion Of Suspect X" sets out to do something different than a normal crime story. We know who killed whom and how pretty much from the beginning. The rest is about defeating the police investigation by out-thinking them. It becomes a reluctant duel between two genius-level thinkers who were at Imperial University together decades earlier. One is a mathematician working to cover up a killing. The other is a physicist curious to work out what really happened. This gives plenty of scope for the discussion of the nature of problem-solving, the role of assumptions in disguising meta-problems and the nature of proof.

 

Yet this is not a dry abstract, book. The plot is driven by ordinary people wanting ordinary things and this makes it much more than an intellectual puzzle. It's about happiness, purpose, devotion, and guilt. It's about what gives you the will to live and the ability to kill. Even the "dual" between the two mega-minds is not what you might expect. It's based on a respect and understanding rather than enmity of moral conflict.

 

The ending caught me by surprise, not because it's some kind of last-minute tricky twist but because the actions come from values in a culture that is not mine and brings the whole puzzle back to a human level.

 

The book is translated from the original Japanese. Some translations leave me feeling distant from the text or make me feel the text has been "pasteurised" into English. Alexander O. Smith's translation kept the text vital and accessible without losing the sense of the places where Japan is alien from my Western experience.

 

David Pittu's narration is flawless. You can hear a sample by clicking on the SoundCloud link below.

 

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/46866532" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /]

 

Don't be put off by the "Detective Galileo #3" tag. "The Devotion Of Suspect X"  works as a free-standing book. Detective Galileo is the nickname the police give to the physicist who sometimes assists them  I can't find books one, two or four in English but books five and six, "Salvation of a Saint" and "A Midsummer's Equation" are available in English.   "A Midsummer's Equation" was made into a movie in 2013.

 

"The Devotion Of Suspect X" was made into a movie in 2017 in China (in Mandarin with English subtitles), with the script written by Keigo Higashino. If the trailer below is anything to go by it looks like a faithful adaptation.

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpfBF5dJqwk&w=560&h=315]

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review 2018-07-17 12:01
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Jennifer E. Smith

This is a nice little book that covers the space of a day. (American) heroine and (English) hero end up sitting together on a flight from the United States to England, both ducking across the pond for family events.

 

Heroine Hadley’s family was torn to pieces when her father fell in love with an Englishwoman and abandoned them, and now she’s expected to attend the London wedding. This story is as much about family as romance.

 

As for the romance, I think the author managed the culture clash aspects well, and didn’t push things too far over such a short timeframe.

 

A sweet little book overall, though I’m not sure the father deserved to be so easily forgiven!

Source: nataliaheaney.wordpress.com/2018/06/22/the-statistical-probability-of-love-at-first-sight-by-jennifer-e-smith
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review 2018-07-17 02:35
An American Killing ★☆☆☆☆
An American Killing - Mary-Ann Tirone Smith

Ugh. It started off so well. The characters seemed interesting and the writing was okay and I was curious to know more about the powerful politician found dead in an apparently accidental case of autoerotic asphyxiation, but maybe was murdered instead. Then it all went to heck on page 18, when the first person narrator suddenly began swinging between present tense and past tense, the story became clogged with celebrity name-dropping, and it became painfully obvious that the author was drawing so heavily on the Ann Rule/Ted Bundy story that it completely kicked me out of the story. I did power through to page 50, but there’s no way I could bring myself to finish the book.

 

DNF on page 50. Hardcover, purchased years ago on a whim from a clearance table at a big box bookstore that has long since gone out of business.

 

Previous Updates:

7/15/18 – 15/368 pg

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text 2018-07-15 15:09
An American Killing - 15/368 pg
An American Killing - Mary-Ann Tirone Smith

A serious writer like me gains notoriety when her books are made into successful movies with A-list stars, the same way nonserious writers gain notoriety. 

 

This book is off to a good start, in spite of the setting. I don't usually care for national politics/intrigue kinds of stories, but I think that's just going to be the stage for a murder mystery thriller. The main character is sort of fun, an unlikeable cynic for whom every human interaction is a self-centered negotiation. 

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review 2018-07-11 11:23
Galactic Patrol - E.E. "Doc" Smith,John Clute
Best of the series yet, worth the read. Interesting early sci-fi.
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