Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the Author:

Keigo Higashino (born February 4, 1958) is the single bestselling, best-known novelist in Japan and around Asia, with numerous television and film adaptations of his work appearing in several languages. He’s the author of ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’, which was the finalist for the Edgar Award for best novel, and ‘Malice’, among many others.

He was working as an engineer before he began writing. He won the Edogawa Rampo Prize for writing at age 27 and subsequently quit his job to start a career as a writer in Tokyo. Keigo was the President of ‘The Mystery Writers of Japan’ from 2009 to 2013. He is renowned for his mystery novels which have garnered many awards and recognition from all over.

Publication Year: 1999


“You know how the sun rises and sets at a certain time each day? In the same way, all of our lives have a day and night. But it’s not set like it is with the sun. Some people walk forever in the sunlight, and some people have to walk through the darkest night their whole lives. When people talk about being afraid, what they’re afraid of is that their sun will set. That the light they love will fade.”

‘Journey under the midnight sun’ begins with the murder of a pawnbroker in an abandoned building in Osaka in 1973. Detective Sasagaki is assigned to investigate the crime. He uncovers a lot of clues and possible suspects, but the evidence isn’t enough to pin down a specific criminal. That’s why the case reaches a dead end and Sasagaki is forced to give up his investigation. He still continues to keeps tabs on two people involved in the crime, both related to the suspect and the victim in order to find their connection to the crime.

This book was absolutely brilliant! It is so much different from the other crime thrillers I’ve read; here, we follow the mystery and its effects for a long period of time. This novel takes place over a span of two decades and follows the lives of two people connected solely because of the crime and detective Sasagaki’s obsession with uncovering the truth, as he believes the crime has caused a ripple effect which impacts the lives of people even after 20 long years.

It had a unique, brilliantly crafted and intricate story-line. This was my second book by Keigo Higashino, after Devotion of Suspect X that I absolutely loved. One thing I noticed in his books that make them exceptional is that the mystery is not about who committed the crime but rather, how the crime was committed and the possible motivation behind it.

“When you wander in the dark too long, you start to see things that aren’t really there.” 

The story is told from multiple points of views so we get to experience it from the perspective of different characters, mostly the minor characters. From them, we learn different aspects of the same events and other characters which were really interesting. Following the timeline, we get to see all the changes along the way in Japan. There were a lot of references to the video games, computer technology, movies, baseball and economic changes which manages to capture the heart of the changing and progressing era of the country. It also gives an insight into the Japanese culture and the way of life.

As the story progresses, a lot of characters get introduced. It might be a little overwhelming at first, but everything comes together eventually just like different pieces in the puzzle fit to show the whole picture and in the end, you’re left gasping for air at what you see! The shifting point of views among the different characters kept the tension alive. The story kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time, making me feel all sorts of feels and caused me to question everything I’ve ever known!

This book truly is a masterpiece! If you’re a fan of thrillers and anything related to Japan, I highly recommend this book.

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I'm an introvert, agnostic-atheist, insatiable reader, fitness enthusiast, daydreamer, music-lover, cat-adorer, eternal optimist with a touch of cynicism, curious soul, annoying preacher, OCD for cleanliness with a teeny affinity for messiness!

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