Based on: Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata
My rating: 4.5 of 5
When Kira brought terror to the criminals of the world using a secret Death Note, he found himself confronted by former FBI agent Naomi Misora. But years before the Kira case, Misora was already becoming, in some way, connected to those future events. Because it was years earlier, back in Los Angeles, that she first worked on a case with the great detective L, a case that was unique in many respects. When L first contacted her to be his eyes on the scene (rarely if ever appearing in public himself), there have already been three violent murders, each with some distinctive characteristics: wara ningyo nailed to the walls of the victim’s room, victims with alliterative initials, clues to the next murder left at the scene. Almost as though the whole thing were some horrible game. . . . Even stranger, Naomi somehow finds herself cooperating with a most unusual private detective who goes by the name Ryuzaki, loves sweets to an obscene extent, and who is clearly more clever than he lets on. Very suspicious. . . .
I really love The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases. Ever since I first read in Death Note the mention that L and Naomi had worked together on a case before (with no further explanation), I knew that was a story I would love to hear. And Nisioisin was a great choice to write this story; he’s an excellent light novelist, and I think he preserves the essences of the characters from the original manga excellently while crafting a brilliant original story at the same time. I think this light novel will particularly appeal to those who like puzzles and such–because really the whole murder scheme is a big puzzle created to challenge L. Macabre, I know, but interesting all the same. But even if you don’t feel like trying to reason out the puzzles along with our detectives, it’s fascinating enough watching their interactions from a more psychological standpoint. Ryuzaki in particular is an intriguing character: see if you can guess his identity, but be warned, he’s tricksy. I also have to note that the very Japanese writing style (in the voice of Mello, no less), suits the story well, even though it is set in the U.S. My one . . . not exactly complaint, but the one thing I didn’t really love, is the inclusion of shinigami eyes into the mix. I’m still not sure if they were intended to make it seem less violent or more mysterious or just to provide a greater connection to the original manga, but it just seemed unnecessarily complicating to me. On the whole though, Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases is an excellent light novel, particularly for readers who enjoy the Death Note manga/anime or who like detective stories; I would definitely recommend this book.
On a side note, while I rarely have much to say regarding the actual physical publication of books, this volume is an exception. It’s a work of art, absolutely. The black matte cover with a cool/creepy silver design on it, the partial-height white dust jacket that carries the silver design seamlessly on to it’s high quality paper, the equally impressive quality of the paper the story is printed on, and the classy design of the pages themselves are all extremely impressive to a book geek like myself. Very nice.