For general information on this novel: Death Note — Another Note entry
This review is for Death Note: Another Note — The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases, a standalone novel written by Nisio Isin (with some artwork included by Death Note manga artist Takeshi Obata). The English edition was released in February 2008 by Viz Media in hardcover format.
Death Note was one of the first manga I got into back in the day, and it’s still a series I appreciate for its willingness to tell a story from the point of view of someone as diabolical as Light Yagami. I also found it impressive just how willing the author (Tsugumi Ohba) was to kill off major characters over the course of the story, which is perhaps partly why I appreciated the second half of the series as much as the first. On top of these points, I also rather liked just how intelligent most of the characters were, such as Near, Mello, and fan favorite L.
Another interesting character early on in the story was FBI detective Naomi Misora, who I wished was able to play a larger role in the series at large. As luck would have it, she is the main character of this prequel light novel, as she is the one enlisted by L to help solve a murder mystery in Los Angeles. In this story, a serial killer is making various deaths look like suicides, and leaves bizarre clues behind to see if anyone can figure out the culprit. It’s a fairly straightforward setup for a mystery, but when the story is written by Nisio Isin you can expect there to be some wild plot twists along the way.
Overall the story reads well enough, and at less than 200 pages it makes for a quick read. That said, the prose is full of the author’s trademark rambling tangents, and some of the events that transpire may come off as too far-fetched–even for Death Note. A particularly large plot twist at the end of the story will likely be what readers focus on most, and to some degree can make or break the story entirely. Though perhaps not executed in the best manner, I did find it quite interesting.
A couple other minor issues for this novel include an at-times shaky narration setup by the character Mello, and the exceptionally bizarre names chosen for the murder victims in the story. Granted, names like L and Light aren’t normal to begin with, but names like Backyard Bottomslash come off as entirely comical in comparison. If you can look past that though, Another Note is an entertaining read for fans of Death Note–particularly those who are interested in learning a bit more about L, Misora, and other characters associated with them.
Cho’s Rating: Maybe Recommended