“Malice” is a Masterpiece Written by a Writer about Two Writers!

Last updated on March 31, 2020
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    “I would often drop in on my friend for no particular reason; however, today was different. This time I had a purpose in mind. If I didn’t go today, I might not have the chance to see him again for quite some time.” – Osamu Nonoguchi’s Account, Malice.

    Malice (Review)

    Malice (1996) by Keigo Higashino [Review]

    The book opens with Osamu Nonoguchi taking the train to visit his friend Kunihiko Hidaka, a bestselling writer. Nonoguchi is a children’s fiction writer, doing decently in life if not as well as his friend Hidaka. Hidaka is leaving for Vancouver soon – or so he had planned before he is found murdered, shortly after Nonoguchi’s departure. Meanwhile, we also find out that Hidaka’s novels have rendered him notorious and subject of the anger of the sister of a school bully he wrote about in his book. He seems the most unlikeable man ever when Nonoguchi’s account tells us that he killed a cat by poisoning it so that it does not litter his home while they leave for Vancouver. However, as detective Kaga soon discovers, Nonoguchi is hiding a lot of things. Why does he claim to have received a call from Hidaka, after he was murdered? Why had Hidaka called him to meet once again? Why does Nonoguchi accuse the owner of the cat of Hidaka’s murder? Are Nonoguchi and Hidaka friends? What secrets does their relationship hide? We find out in the course of this edgy thriller by Keigo Higashino who has been called “The Japanese Stieg Larsson” by The Times.

    There are a lot of secrets in Malice that are revealed gradually and an ample amount of twists and turns that make the reader let out deep breaths as the knowledge of the turn of events sinks in. There are quite a few characters present in the book; however, a strong influence is also cast by characters who are not present but leave an imprint. That includes Hidaka’s first wife who died or had been murdered mysteriously, a bully who was in Nonoguchi and Hidaka’s school – whose death has not yet left the ones involved unscarred. Keigo Higashino excels at using manipulation using Nonoguchi and for any thriller enthusiast, to realize that the persuasive power of the writer has blown their mind is the best feeling. There are two major twists in the book, both equally, mind-blowing. The book is divided into nine parts, initially alternating between the detective and Osamu’s perspectives and then moving on to the detective solving the murder and finding out the murderer and the most important thing in the case- a motive.

    This tale is not a “Whodunit?” – it is a “Whydunit?” It is strange to find the murderer less than halfway through the book and spend the rest of the book looking for the motive, and this quest has been made extremely engaging and thrilling through various perspectives on past events.

    When a writer writes a book about two writers, you have a masterpiece like Malice. Grab this read if you like thrillers and mysteries – and even if you do not. Malice is a class apart.

    • Editor Rating
    • Rated 5 stars
    • 100%

    • Malice (1996)
    • Reviewed by:
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    • Last modified: March 31, 2020

    Last updated on March 31, 2020
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