The first thing heard about Newcomer, Keigo Higashino’s newest book in translation, was about it being a novel in stories—right up my alley, of course. I was pleased to have the chance to review it for the Washington Independent Review of Books—and even more pleased to find the book itself delightful!
Here’s an excerpt from my review:
Each section of Newcomer — nine in all — is a self-contained story, with its own conflicts, its own resolution, and its own focus character, the latter loosely identified in each story’s title: “The Girl at the Rice Cracker Shop,” “The Apprentice at the Japanese Restaurant,” “The Clock Shop’s Dog,” and so on.
To the author’s great credit, the individual tales stand strong one after another, and the accumulating storyline gains momentum and weight in the process. Structure and character ultimately intertwine nicely with Kaga as the supporting person who connects each tale — searching for Mineko Mitsui’s murderer but solving other, smaller mysteries along the way, funny, seemingly throwaway questions: Who spiked a snack cake with wasabi? Why would someone buy an extra pair of scissors when the ones they have work just fine?
In solving these little side puzzles, however, Kaga also helps to resolve personal dramas and dilemmas….