Never kill the cat.

“Malice” is book four in the Kyoichiro Kaga series. The story centers around two novelists, and new readers will find all needed background information within context of the current story. Famous novelist Kunihiko Hidaka is found dead in his home, in a locked room — the perfect setup for a mystery novel. His friend Osamu Nonoguchi, retired teacher and writer of children’s books, takes this opportunity to document the event and the investigation with the plan to turn it into a bestselling murder mystery. The detective assigned to the case, Detective Kyochiro Kaga, had previously worked with Nonoguchi while they were both teachers in a public school.

Kago’s investigation proceeds in a deliberate, planned, and organized way. The murderer made some attempts to mislead investigators, but false leads are quickly uncovered; motive and opportunity are established, and the identity of the murderer is soon clear. I listened to “Malice” as an audio book, and at this point I thought I must have come almost come to the end. However, when I checked my progress, I found I had much to go, and wondered how this could be. Well, I may have known “who did it,” but there was a lot that I did not yet know.  

The plot is both intricate and complex, and it takes unusual turns as Kago follows leads, false leads, alibis, and false explanations. This murder takes readers down a dark, vengeful, and malicious path.

“Malice” is filled with just that – malice. It is shocking and compelling. “Malice” was translated from Japanese by Alexander O. Smith, and the audio book was read by Jeff Woodman who did an excellent job with the multiple voices and Japanese names. I could not stop listening.