Journey Under the Midnight Sun

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Read 24/01/2016-30/01/2016

Rating: 4 stars

Read for The Reader’s Room Winter Scavenger Hunt Challenge

In Journey Under the Midnight Sun, Keigo Higashino has used a very different style to that in his Detective Galileo series, something unlike anything else I’ve read within the crime genre. Initially, this wasn’t as satisfying a read as I was expecting it to be. I really enjoyed the previous books I’ve read by Higashino, and I wanted this to instantly be as good.

The first half of the book took longer to read than I was expecting. The style is episodic, and there’s little exposition, so I found it hard to get a clear sense of time passing. As I read on, it became clear that this was a deliberate ploy on the part of Keigo Higashino. The story needed to feel disjointed, so the reader would feel the way a detective investigating apparently unrelated events would feel. I also read that the story was originally serialised in a magazine, as discrete episodes.

Things start to pick up once past events have been documented and the story becomes current. Threads pull together, and suspicions begin to be voiced by the people around the two central characters. There is a building sense of menace, which works well. Around the midway point, enough has happened to send up a flag whenever someone new is introduced who might annoy one or other of the central characters. Nothing is spelled out, nothing can be proved, but bad things keep happening. What can’t be proved also can’t be explained – the reader is left with suspicions about who is doing what, but lacking any idea about motive. I liked that about the book very much. Two thirds of the way through, the mystery begins to be resolved. The story takes a very dark turn towards the end, which I found upsetting. By the end of the book, I was completely gripped, and wanting to tell characters to be careful, or to look more closely at what was going on.

The subject matter is unpleasant, but the “goodies” are all imagined well, which helped to lift me out of the dark place inhabited by the “baddies”. It’s not as simple as that, of course, but you’ll have to read it yourself to find out why!

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