Newcomer

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Nov 2018

Member Reviews

This excellent book came to the International Dagger, and we liked it a lot. It's no. 2 in a new series (i.e. Malice). There's a new cop recently reassigned; immediately his quiet humanity invites him into a new town, with old ideas. I can't say much without revealing the cop and his ways, which seem to invite harmony. And now I'm absolutely not saying any more, except that there are two books out there that merit our intention.
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Keigo Higashino’s The Newcomer, features Detective Kyoichiro Kaga of the Tokyo police department, who is a curious blend of Columbo and the Dali Lama. Formed as a series of vignettes into local residents and tradespeople’s lives, Kaga drifts in and out of each story, uniting families, and spreading benevolence, whilst chipping away at his investigation, with his slightly distracted air. I really enjoyed the interplay between Kaga and the community, and also the sweet moments of extreme poignancy that suddenly drop into the narrative. Strange, beautiful and highly recommended.
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‘May I ask you one last question, Detective Kaga? What kind of man are you?’

This is the second book to feature the enigmatic and brilliant Detective Kaga to be translated into English, and it is another excellent book by award-winning author Higashino. Different in structure to ‘Malice’ this is a multi-layered and intriguing work. As he is involved in the investigation into the murder of Mineko Mitsui, a 40-something female found strangled in her own apartment, the book interweaves the stories of the main characters and suspects as the truth is slowly untangled. Kaga is an engaging presence – part Sherlock Holmes, part Hercule Poirot – and along the way the novel proves itself much more than just a crime novel and explores family, friendship, hopes and dreams, and the importance of finding solace in answers and the truth.

You can’t really go much into the plot without spoiling it, but suffice to say it is the journey to the truth, rather than a big reveal, that is at the heart of the book. The structure is interesting, and the character of the murder victim herself is slowly revealed as the book progresses. It is also an insight into a local community and the particular aspects of a part of Tokyo that is more traditional than other areas; I really felt a genuine sense of place throughout the book. The one thing we don’t get many, or any, answers to are those about Kaga himself; he remains a shadowy figure, even more so against the unravelling of the other characters’ lives. It is, for me, a nice change from the angst-ridden, troubled cop with a drinking problem that is so often at the heart of crime novels, and this book is so much better for it. A definite recommend read for fans of intelligent and character-driven mysteries.

(With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC in return for an honest and unbiased review.)
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Newcomer is a exceptionally good read. It transcends the detective story format, becoming a story about community. A single woman has been murdered in Kodenmacho, Tokyo. Detective Kaga is assigned to investigate.
On the face of it, he is the Japanese answer to Hercule Poirot. Kaga interviews people, and then draws his conclusions. Kaga does so much more. He speaks to everyone who the deceased may have come into contact with, and any possible suspect. He often brings little gifts, and dresses casually, to put people at ease. Kaga finds out what is happening in their lives, and helps them to make everything better.
The author seems to be interested in the conditions that lead up to a murder, and the consequences upon the community. Where there is ill feeling, Kaga seeks to ameliorate it. He is as much a Guardian Angel as a policeman and I felt privileged to spend time in his company.
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This is beautifully written, character driven translated Japanese crime fiction by Keigo Higashino featuring the razor sharp Sergeant Kyochiro Kaga, the eponymous Newcomer, recent arrival to Tokyo as a precinct detective. This is the 8th in the series, but it worked just fine as a standalone for me. In the district of Kodenmacho, a 45 year old divorced woman, Mineko Mitsui, has been discovered murdered in her apartment, strangled to death. No-one knows why she moved to the area, but she has been working as a translator with her friend, who found her body. If you are looking for a fast paced read, full of tension and suspense, then this is not for you. However, if you enjoy smart and intelligent crime fiction that is more cerebral, then this will definitely appeal.

The gentle, compassionate yet determined and steely Kaga works his way through a host of suspects in the business district of Nihonbashi. There is the insurance salesman, the odd instance of a wasabi spiked snack cake, a missing cell phone, the purchase of new kitchen scissors and chopsticks, a clock shop, a pastry shop and a china store. There are the rumours of a private secretary serving as a mistress and employed by Naohuso, Mineko's ex-husband, and the couple's estranged son, Koki, aiming to be a actor. As Kaga delves into the life of the murder victim, he unearths a case of mistaken identity and encounters the riddle of the strings of a spinning top. Kaga is a detective that impresses, understanding peoples foibles and the need to deceive in certain situations, and his astuteness does not go unnoticed by those he comes into contact with, although it takes a while for Detective Uesugi to cotton on just how deep Kaga's investigations go.

This is crime fiction with plenty of charm and intrigue, as well as providing insights into Japanese culture and the city of Tokyo. For me, I loved the way the author made the host of diverse and wide ranging characters come alive as distinct personalities with their own dramas. Sergeant Kaga makes an appealing central character, a tremendous judge of character, a man who insists on getting to the truth of the matter, even when it comes to identifying the true motives of the killer rather than accepting at face value what is said. The only flaw is that we get to know so little about Kaga himself, who he is, his background and his personal life. If you fancy some offbeat crime fiction that is entertaining and gripping, then this is for you. Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.
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Higashino's book's are an excellent break from the usual gritty mystery novels that tend to flood the market without being overly cosy.  The main detective Sergeant Kaga, is likeable, carrying little in the way of emotional baggage which is rather refreshing in itself in many ways he feels cut from the same cloth as Poirot or Holmes.  

Fans of the classic mystery stories will definitely enjoy this book and series.
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I had read the previous installment in this series and I was very eager to start reading this one.

Again, I was not disappointed.

The story flows beautifully and is full of intense moments that make you so eager to continue on. The characters are well written and engaging.

I really could not recommend this book more to anyone,.
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