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The Name of the Game is a Kidnapping

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Sakuma is a high-profile ad agent who was about to land one of the biggest gigs of his career. But he was betrayed by the owner of the company that just hired him. Down on his luck and now on his way out career-wise, he planned to go publically chew out the man who brough him down. Instead, upon uncovering a deep secret, he devises a plan to bring down his new rival in a tw Sakuma is a high-profile ad agent who was about to land one of the biggest gigs of his career. But he was betrayed by the owner of the company that just hired him. Down on his luck and now on his way out career-wise, he planned to go publically chew out the man who brough him down. Instead, upon uncovering a deep secret, he devises a plan to bring down his new rival in a twisted game called kidnapping.


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Sakuma is a high-profile ad agent who was about to land one of the biggest gigs of his career. But he was betrayed by the owner of the company that just hired him. Down on his luck and now on his way out career-wise, he planned to go publically chew out the man who brough him down. Instead, upon uncovering a deep secret, he devises a plan to bring down his new rival in a tw Sakuma is a high-profile ad agent who was about to land one of the biggest gigs of his career. But he was betrayed by the owner of the company that just hired him. Down on his luck and now on his way out career-wise, he planned to go publically chew out the man who brough him down. Instead, upon uncovering a deep secret, he devises a plan to bring down his new rival in a twisted game called kidnapping.

30 review for The Name of the Game is a Kidnapping

  1. 4 out of 5

    Supreeth

    Hands down, Keigo Higashino is the best mystery writer ever. I wish someone would translate all of his books to English!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Vivian

    This was fun. Hot shot ad man, Sakuma has a change of luck. This starts a whole new game he decides to play. Revenge is the game, and Sakuma is a dedicated player. There is a lovely analysis of masks and I suppose if I were a better reviewer I'd go through various Noh plays and pick out the times that Sakuma or other characters displayed classic postures of Noh masks. Maybe I'll do it, later. Even though I saw substantial portions of this long before they happened, there was a twist I didn't add This was fun. Hot shot ad man, Sakuma has a change of luck. This starts a whole new game he decides to play. Revenge is the game, and Sakuma is a dedicated player. There is a lovely analysis of masks and I suppose if I were a better reviewer I'd go through various Noh plays and pick out the times that Sakuma or other characters displayed classic postures of Noh masks. Maybe I'll do it, later. Even though I saw substantial portions of this long before they happened, there was a twist I didn't add in and it was definitely entertaining. In end, I read it one day and enjoyed myself. I raced through the last fifty pages and the very last one was worth it. So, yeah, I really liked it and I'll be checking out another of Higashino's book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Apoorva

    First of all, this book didn’t dazzle me as much as many of the author’s previous books, but I think it’s quite interesting to read. The protagonist Sakuma works at a PR firm. He treats everything like a game and he’s very good at winning. When his project idea gets dismissed for not being good enough, he feels slighted and decided to exact revenge. What happens next is the game of kidnapping as you can guess from the title. The first half is slow and quite predictable. But, if you’ve read Higash First of all, this book didn’t dazzle me as much as many of the author’s previous books, but I think it’s quite interesting to read. The protagonist Sakuma works at a PR firm. He treats everything like a game and he’s very good at winning. When his project idea gets dismissed for not being good enough, he feels slighted and decided to exact revenge. What happens next is the game of kidnapping as you can guess from the title. The first half is slow and quite predictable. But, if you’ve read Higashino before, then you know you’re in for a surprise. I definitely enjoyed the last half of the book and the twist at the end. I loved the interaction between the characters and the discussion about masks. Give this book a try to you want to read something short and entertaining.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Arun Iyer

    I am little baffled on how to rate this book. On one hand, this little mystery story is one of the better ones in its genre and on the other hand, if one compares it to other books written by Keigo Higashino falls way behind. So, I begrudgingly rate this book at 3 stars. This book is about a battle of wits between two very smart people and none come out better at the end (in my humble opinion). There is nothing more to say about the story beyond this except that the reader is witness to a kidnapp I am little baffled on how to rate this book. On one hand, this little mystery story is one of the better ones in its genre and on the other hand, if one compares it to other books written by Keigo Higashino falls way behind. So, I begrudgingly rate this book at 3 stars. This book is about a battle of wits between two very smart people and none come out better at the end (in my humble opinion). There is nothing more to say about the story beyond this except that the reader is witness to a kidnapping and then the surprise ending. Anything more would be just spoilers. Having said that, this book brings to question several things about morality. Be it the sensibility that allows certain people to treat a serious crime as a game or the vanity of the rich who think they are above the law. At the end, I ended up hating every character in the story. Overall, I found this book - a breeze to read, quite entertaining and by the end, a little depressing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Em*bedded-in-books*

    Was a crisp and taut mystery, true to Higashino style. A young man working in an ad company is upset at the decision of the rich customer to have him removed from his car ad team, and he by chance meets the rich customer's disgruntled daughter while scouring his bungalow. They concoct a convoluted kidnap plan so as to benefit them both equally. From then on things are not straight forward. After many twists and turns, one reaches a surprising finale. Would have been a five star book if things wer Was a crisp and taut mystery, true to Higashino style. A young man working in an ad company is upset at the decision of the rich customer to have him removed from his car ad team, and he by chance meets the rich customer's disgruntled daughter while scouring his bungalow. They concoct a convoluted kidnap plan so as to benefit them both equally. From then on things are not straight forward. After many twists and turns, one reaches a surprising finale. Would have been a five star book if things were kept a bit more simple and realistic.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Right from the very first lines this felt wrong. After struggling with the style for almost 15% of the novel, I decided to check the name of the translator and it's not the same one who did all the other Keigo Higashino novels I have read in English. I understand that it isn't always possible to work with the same translator but a good translation is supposed to make the reader forget she's not reading the original work and that is simply not the case here. I had been eagerly waiting this novel Right from the very first lines this felt wrong. After struggling with the style for almost 15% of the novel, I decided to check the name of the translator and it's not the same one who did all the other Keigo Higashino novels I have read in English. I understand that it isn't always possible to work with the same translator but a good translation is supposed to make the reader forget she's not reading the original work and that is simply not the case here. I had been eagerly waiting this novel (it was originally supposed to be released in early January but the date was changed twice) and I am very disappointed. I will finish reading it but from now on I will make sure to check the name of the translator before I buy another novel by Mr. Higashino.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Divine Anas

    “There is no greater bore than perfection.” --The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell This may not be my most favorite book from Keigo Higashino, but it definitely is still gripping and surprising as ever. The excitement may take a while but once you get over the 40% marker everything will just zoom by. I also love the plot twist here!!! Keigo Higashino is definitely my favorite author this year and I only have two translated works left to read from him! What I love about his works “There is no greater bore than perfection.” --The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell This may not be my most favorite book from Keigo Higashino, but it definitely is still gripping and surprising as ever. The excitement may take a while but once you get over the 40% marker everything will just zoom by. I also love the plot twist here!!! Keigo Higashino is definitely my favorite author this year and I only have two translated works left to read from him! What I love about his works is that each one gives you a different flavor but you'll definitely taste the familiarity present in it as well. I love the fact that he experiments with the structure of his plots in every book and its straightforward prose remains magnetic. The Name of the Game is Kidnapping might not be my most favorite from him because I have no emotional attachment to the characters as opposed to his other works (in which I cried or really cared for the cast). However, the fact remains that this one is still an enjoyable and quick read to satisfy the readers' cravings for murder mystery.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Douglas Rowland

    This translation is awful. Bizarre slang choices, entire sentences that don't make sense. But the story is so entertaining, clever, fast-paced and well constructed that it shockingly makes little difference. Now I have read every single Higashino book in English, and I'm a little sad that it's all over.

  9. 4 out of 5

    A Man Called Ove

    The Name of the gamer is Keigo Higashino Last year, I started reading a lot of police-procedurals and noticed one thing - most authors didnt bother to explain the "how". The investigation would focus on patiently identifying the mistakes by the criminals. While those were indeed good reads, I liked Christie's old-fashioned way of explaining things. Agreed, sometimes her explanations were convoluted, but atleast there was an understanding that an explanation of the events would be given. This was m The Name of the gamer is Keigo Higashino Last year, I started reading a lot of police-procedurals and noticed one thing - most authors didnt bother to explain the "how". The investigation would focus on patiently identifying the mistakes by the criminals. While those were indeed good reads, I liked Christie's old-fashioned way of explaining things. Agreed, sometimes her explanations were convoluted, but atleast there was an understanding that an explanation of the events would be given. This was my third book by Keigo Higashino , after the super The Devotion of Suspect X and the decent Malice. Like "the devotion...", in this one too the events happened in plain sight for the readers. The question is can you guess the motives of every1 ? And can you see the larger picture ? Can you assemble a different puzzle from the jigsaw pieces ? If you havent read Higashino, its almost like you have missed an entire sub-genre.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hafizz Nasri

    Fun title. Interesting that this time no police or PI character. As usual Higashino's crime and mystery always making me anxious-- a counter-attack for a kidnapping game, that would be gripping. Fast paced with clear motives and well structured narratives. The twist was expected though, just waiting for Sakuma to realise that the game he was playing was actually a different game after all. Very entertaining, nervous at certain point, quite thrilling but not that exceptional-- the game from Sakum Fun title. Interesting that this time no police or PI character. As usual Higashino's crime and mystery always making me anxious-- a counter-attack for a kidnapping game, that would be gripping. Fast paced with clear motives and well structured narratives. The twist was expected though, just waiting for Sakuma to realise that the game he was playing was actually a different game after all. Very entertaining, nervous at certain point, quite thrilling but not that exceptional-- the game from Sakuma part was not the kind that fancy or mindblown, but the reversal was totally clever. Enthralling and mysterious characters-- even Sakuma himself. Love the smooth plot, the scenarios and all the game planning. Mischievous ending.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Breslin White

    I can only comment on the English translation I have, which has tight, readable sentences. They encourage you to keep reading (even to read quickly), and they are successful in evoking a mood. As to the plot, this is a novel of revenge. It is the edgy (but not Hollywood edgy, book edgy) kind of thriller that people greatly enjoy, and which sells exceptionally well.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Varsha Naik

    Brilliant. No other words

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rathi

    Higashino is the master of perfect crimes. In this book, it is a kidnapping (mostly). While I guessed what is supposed to be the big reveal, right at the beginning, it was still a fun ride. This is not as brilliant as Devotion of Suspect X, yet interesting enough.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Randee

    Keigo Higashino is one of Japan's most popular mystery writers. It's easy to understand why. I have read several of his stories and have a couple of his stories filmed for Japanese TV or cinema. I can't think of any I haven't enjoyed. This story of a kidnapping has a few genuine twists and turns and an ending that I didn't see coming. I thought it was rather brilliant to be honest. I hope to work my way through his entire collection, or at the very least, the ones that have been translated into E Keigo Higashino is one of Japan's most popular mystery writers. It's easy to understand why. I have read several of his stories and have a couple of his stories filmed for Japanese TV or cinema. I can't think of any I haven't enjoyed. This story of a kidnapping has a few genuine twists and turns and an ending that I didn't see coming. I thought it was rather brilliant to be honest. I hope to work my way through his entire collection, or at the very least, the ones that have been translated into English.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sanara♥

    Brilliant! Fast-paced and entertaining with a clever plot twist. :) (view spoiler)[ I felt something was off with "Juri" from the start. I couldn't guess what it was till just before the twist was revealed.👍 (hide spoiler)] The only thing I didn't like was the English translation. Right from the start, the style felt off and bizarre, which is why I'm not giving 5 stars. 🙊 Brilliant! Fast-paced and entertaining with a clever plot twist. :) (view spoiler)[ I felt something was off with "Juri" from the start. I couldn't guess what it was till just before the twist was revealed.👍 (hide spoiler)] The only thing I didn't like was the English translation. Right from the start, the style felt off and bizarre, which is why I'm not giving 5 stars. 🙊

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    This has been fun... but not as interesting as Keigo Higashino’s other books. I enjoyed all the game, though the ending left me wondering about the whole situation.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Asiyah Mohammed Shafeeqa

    One can never get enough of this man's writing.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ian Josh

    I have made this the year to read all the Higashino translations available, and with this I have just one more. I enjoyed the book, and the whole thing takes one really great turn toward the end. I wonder if many people have been bothered that Higashino so often uses rape, and almost as often, child rape as parts of his plots. Also, he tends to use rape shame as major factors in many of his works... "I knew she'd never talk, because she'd been raped". Though slightly different here, it comes up, I have made this the year to read all the Higashino translations available, and with this I have just one more. I enjoyed the book, and the whole thing takes one really great turn toward the end. I wonder if many people have been bothered that Higashino so often uses rape, and almost as often, child rape as parts of his plots. Also, he tends to use rape shame as major factors in many of his works... "I knew she'd never talk, because she'd been raped". Though slightly different here, it comes up, and not it's repetition over numerous books, more than anything, let me rank this one a bit lower than I might have otherwise. But, quick, smooth read otherwise. Some fun twists. Mildly recommended

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ayesha Amir

    very smart book, quite satisfied with the ending!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Duncan

    Finished reading this book in one setting. Great a page turner. Such a good plot that it should be made into a movie. The climax is at the end, and it was completely unpredictable, which makes Higashino's books so awesome. However, I find that there are some flaws in the book. Main character is supposed to be very logical and pays no emotions to the women around him, but in the case with Juri, he actually shows his emotional side, which is difficult to believe his character. And Juri is too smart Finished reading this book in one setting. Great a page turner. Such a good plot that it should be made into a movie. The climax is at the end, and it was completely unpredictable, which makes Higashino's books so awesome. However, I find that there are some flaws in the book. Main character is supposed to be very logical and pays no emotions to the women around him, but in the case with Juri, he actually shows his emotional side, which is difficult to believe his character. And Juri is too smart for her age. I hope we can see this book made into movie one day!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vignesh Venkat

    Wow! When it comes to twists that nobody can ever foresee, Keigo Higashino is second to none. (Although I knew the main plot twist as I had seen the Tamil movie that was based off this book). This is a must read book! Waiting for his next English translation.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    I've been a fan of Mr. Higashino after reading The Devotion of Suspect X. His novels are well written populated with interesting and well developed characters, if not likable, at least respectable characters. I know I can rely on a story with a twist I usually can't see coming. That is why I was excited to read The Name of the Game is a Kidnapping, a standalone thriller where we are introduced to Sakuma, an ad agent rebuffed by the executive of a car company, who seeks revenge by plotting the I've been a fan of Mr. Higashino after reading The Devotion of Suspect X. His novels are well written populated with interesting and well developed characters, if not likable, at least respectable characters. I know I can rely on a story with a twist I usually can't see coming. That is why I was excited to read The Name of the Game is a Kidnapping, a standalone thriller where we are introduced to Sakuma, an ad agent rebuffed by the executive of a car company, who seeks revenge by plotting the kidnapping of the executive's illegitimate daughter by a former mistress. Sakuma is bright, conniving and seeks to win at this game called kidnapping. Together, Sakuma and Juri plot to extort millions from her father and when they succeed, they go their separate ways, Sakuma with a small share of the money for his troubles, Juri with a healthy nest egg for her future. Unfortunately, Sakuma discovers, too late, that Juri is not who she seemed and that from the very beginning, the player has been played. This is a very standard thriller, short and to the point. In fact, you can almost see one of the plot twists coming and from there guess the true twist that signaled the end game, but it did not make the story any less enjoyable. What did make The Name of the Game is a Kidnapping not fun to read? The horrendous translation! Does Mr. Higashino know about this!?! The translation is a travesty! A serious travesty that took away most of the enjoyment of the book because half the time my brain was too busy occupied with the weird sentences and phrases because I had to reorganize it again to make sense so I was doing my own translation work. I'm not supposed to be doing this! There were adverbs frolicking egregiously in every other sentence, too many typos to account for in a short novel, ridiculous descriptions with adjectives that made no sense and felt more like someone added them using the Mad Libs method. I won't stop reading Mr. Higashino's creative stories but if the next translation is as bad as The Name of the Game is a Kidnapping I may change my mind.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kam-Hung Soh

    A good page-turner up about how to execute a crime but seems to end abruptly in the last chapters where the final twist doesn't get explored.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nazrul Islam

    well , keigo higashino is one of my favorite author. i was really excited to knowing that this book will translate in english. thaxs to Rizwan Khalil brother to inform me about this book. Higashino writing specialty is "how done it". though knowing the perpetrator it is still to fun to read higashino. because of his writing skill and to attached with story is not boring to read his work . But i was disappointed with this book. by the name of book we should know about the story. here is plot - sakum well , keigo higashino is one of my favorite author. i was really excited to knowing that this book will translate in english. thaxs to Rizwan Khalil brother to inform me about this book. Higashino writing specialty is "how done it". though knowing the perpetrator it is still to fun to read higashino. because of his writing skill and to attached with story is not boring to read his work . But i was disappointed with this book. by the name of book we should know about the story. here is plot - sakuma is an employee of an add company. He is a big shot there.But one day he is drop out from his current project . He is angry with this . unfortunately he meet with the daughter of the person who fored to drop him and to his amusement the girl is not happy with his father katsutoshi katsuragi. together they play a game called kidnapping. where the girls needs money and sakuma want to teach katsutoshi katsuragi a good lesson. was he will play his game correctly ? or he fail ? is the girl is really his partner or she pretend to be his partner ? Truthfully when i read the books i was bored. from fast to last part it was all about how to play kidnapping game and how to get the ransom money without police involvement and not to get caught. it was so boring that i really tried to love but can't . the twist is not surprising at all. but i finally finished reading it because it's higashino writing. how boring the book was you have to finish it. truly my rating was 2 out of five . but last 30 page explanation is enjoyable more than hole book. tats why u rate 3/5 . But as a higashino fan i was upset with this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    The translation was super awkward at times. Or maybe the writing's just awkward and the translation was accurate. Either way, it definitely detracted from the fast paced and clever plot

  26. 4 out of 5

    Aldeena

    I picked up this book with a lot of hesitation because I had read in a lot of early reviews that this is not a very good translation. Now I've enjoyed most of the Higashino works that I've read, so I was worried this would ruin it for me. Now I'm no expert in Japanese translation so I have no opinion about the translation itself. However, from the very beginning, it reads a little different from the familiar Higashino style of writing. There is very awkward phrasing at many places, like it was no I picked up this book with a lot of hesitation because I had read in a lot of early reviews that this is not a very good translation. Now I've enjoyed most of the Higashino works that I've read, so I was worried this would ruin it for me. Now I'm no expert in Japanese translation so I have no opinion about the translation itself. However, from the very beginning, it reads a little different from the familiar Higashino style of writing. There is very awkward phrasing at many places, like it was not even touched by an editor. Some sentences just make your eyes bleed. Surprisingly though, the second half read fine. Either it got a good pair of eyes or mine had gotten too used to the clunky language. Nevertheless, the pace was good, there was enough happening to make me want to keep reading, and I was also enjoying it thoroughly. The ending, however, was kind of a letdown. It was pretty predictable to start with, but beyond that, it was also not too satisfactory. But then it could be just that I was expecting my mind to be blown by the reveal but when that didn't happen, I couldn't digest the disappointment. Definitely not his best, but if you get beyond the first few chapters, the book is a fairly decent read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rohit Goswami

    Boring. This is more in the vein of his equally boring Journey under the Midnight Sun, only with idiotic policemen. The premise is flimsy and the characterizations are bland and annoying. The author's clear attempt to rip off Mad Men is also pretty weak. Overall this was a book I sincerely regret wasting even the two hours it took to finish.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jawahar Surti

    Higashino amazes me! Where does he get his ideas from? And he plans it so meticulously, explaining everything by the time you finish the book. This time around, the translator being different, the style was a bit lacking but nevertheless a very twisted plot! Wish all his books were available in English!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    I'm not sure if the translator is to blame, but the style was very dry. The plot was predictable. While reading, I kept having this feeling that I've seen this in a movie before. Didn't connect with the characters on any level. The main character's obsession with the "game" was strange.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nikkila

    This book is for Keigo Higashino beginners. The plot is very simple and not very detailed as other books. Overall, a quick and easy read.

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