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Book Review

Book Cover

Death Note
Another Note (Hardback)


Author: Ishin Nishio (aka Nisioisin)
Viz Media
RRP: £9.99, US $17.99, Cdn $21.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 4215 1883 1
ISBN-10: 1 4215 1883 X
Available 07 July 2008

When Beyond Birthday starts a killing spree by murdering Believe Bridesmaid, Quarter Queen and Backyard Bottomslash, he piques the interest of the world’s foremost detective L. On suspension from the F.B.I. Naomi Misora is contacted by L to help him solve the case before another victim is discovered. As she starts her investigation she is joined by another investigator, Detective Ryuzaki, but will they be able to read the clues in time to stop the killer...?

Another Death Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases is a prequel novel by Nisio Isin, from an original concept by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. Isin is a well respected Japanese author who has produced such series as Zaregoto and Katanagatari. This is the first of his novels ever to be translated into English.

Initially, I had some reservations about a detective story, which whilst it contains some of the characters which would eventually turn up in the extraordinary Death Note manga, was removed from the main story and doesn’t even feature a Death Note. From the very first page it was obvious that the novel would be more delightful revelation than rip off.

Isin has a peculiar style all his own, partly demonstrated by his predilection for providing his characters with extraordinarily strange names.  Of course he has some restrictions in this novel as L, Naomi and Ryuzaki all turn up in the manga, but apart from this he has let his imagination run wild. His writing style, in this novel, has a fresh feel to it. The book is written very much as if one person were relaying the story to another, which includes lots of quirky asides and odd little ramblings - the sort of thing which one would find in a real conversation.

I’m not a great fan of detective stories, but I have to say that this one totally engaged me, sweeping me along Naomi’s journey to finding the killer, though at times she acted a little dim, especially during the investigation into the first murder - but then this made you like the character all the more as it makes you feel a little smug to be ahead of her.

Like any good mystery novel, Isin takes both Namoi and the reader down blind alleys so that when the final reveal occurs you're thinking how did I miss that? This is a detective novel of the old school. There is no great magical revelation at the close of the novel, all the clues, including a few red herrings are there for the reader to gather together to reveal the killer's identity.

For fans of both the anime and manga there is a little peek behind the curtain to see a little further into L’s world and it’s a nice touch to have the story essentially narrated by Mello.

If the novel has a fault it’s that it isn’t long enough. At one hundred and seventy-six pages, it provides a short, if pleasurably ride. The dénouement also seemed a little strange with its detailed explanation of how the murders were committed; it made the end seem a little rushed.

Although there is a lot of cross references to the story which appears in the manga, there is nothing so intrusive which would spoil the enjoyment of someone who has never read the original story.

As an artefact the book is a hard backed delight, printed on quality paper, with illustrations and a three quarters dust jacket. At this price it’s a must have for fans and non-fans of the series.


Charles Packer

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