goodreads.com rating: 4.34
my verdict: the very best
Higashino Keigo is crude. To talk about his style, I can't say anything but that his style sucks. His style is worse than most junior high students. His characters are weak. I admit that there are exceptions (for example, Yukiho in Byakuyakou, or Ishigami in The Devotion of Suspect X) but most of his characters are just names. His storytelling methods are most of the time very banal, or to put it more positively, cliché. His employment of frame narratives is so crude that it hurts the flow.
Still, I like most of his novels, and love some of them. The stories he tells are way too powerful. The basic idea that sustains the whole plot is simply genius. Small devices here and there do their job artfully in delivering the overall effect. As a result, his story rivets into your mind.
Reading Byakuyakou ("Walking under the White Night") is like being stabbed with a knife in the heart. When Yasuko reports herself to the police, and seeing this, Ishigami falls on his knees and cries, who is it that can stop himself/herself from shedding tears as well? (The Devotion of Suspect X)
But, of all his works, I love this one best. I can earnestly say that writing such a story is itself a miracle (kiseki). This novel is like a touch of a warm, soft hand of your beloved when you least expect it. It is like the first snow. It is like the moment when a kid finds what he wished for in the Christmas Stocking. The boy rubs his eyes because he is only half-awake yet, but he wants to find out sooner. And the world outside is shrouded with cotton-soft snow.
What I want to tell you is, reading this book is like receiving a gift. You never knew you wanted that gift, but now you know it.
Three good-for-nothing youngsters get into a shabby house. Then they find that there's a letter in the letterbox. They have nothing to do, and a night to spend. They decide to read the letter...
I still feel electrified just by thinking about the story.
I strictly stay away from containing spoilers in book reviews. So I do not wish to talk more. But I earnestly recommend this one to literally ANYONE. There are books that appeal to some but disgust others. But this one, I believe, will move any human being. I believe reading this book will make you happy, being reminded that you also belong to the same race.
(This is the cover of the Korean edition of the book, which I read)