Under the Midnight Sun

Keigo Higashino (A Midsummer's Equation) takes a break from his Detective Galileo series for this twisted and creepy standalone. In 1973, an Osaka neighborhood is rocked by the murder of local pawnshop owner Yosuke Kirihara. Sasagaki, a police detective, follows up with the most promising suspects. When the victim's trophy wife gives a solid alibi, suspicion shifts to an udon cafe waitress who won't admit to knowing Yosuke as more than a customer, despite suggestions to the contrary. Sasagaki never finds enough evidence to make an arrest, and the case goes cold. From there, Higashino follows the lives of two children connected to the murder: Ryo Kirihara, the son of the victim, and Yukiho Nishimoto, the daughter of the udon waitress. Through the eyes of friends and acquaintances, readers watch the pair of children grow through adolescence into young adulthood, the past shadowing their every step.

Yukiho captivates every man she meets as she grows from middle schooler to college student. Oddly, girls who might rival her in looks or charm along the way find themselves in tragic circumstances, with detrimental effects to their social statuses. Ryo wallows in criminal enterprise, pimping out attractive male high school classmates to older married women before turning to video game piracy. Higashino's unforgiving corkscrew of a mystery will leave readers gleefully chilled. The solution to Under the Midnight Sun plays second fiddle to the tense atmosphere and unspooling machinations as innocent, or at least hapless, bystanders get caught in the webs of Ryo or Yukiho. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

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