“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.
The book opens with Osamu Nonoguchi taking the train to visit his friend Kunihiko Hidaka, a bestselling writer.
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.