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Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Writer's Life 5/29 - Student vs. Mentor

Among a batch of a recent donation to the floating book shop was The Los Angeles BB Murder Case by Nisioisin, the palindromic name of an author who specializes in Japanese thrillers. Curiously, the novel in question is a prequel to a wildly popular series, Death Note, created by another writer, one that has spawned versions in anime, video games, TV series and film. It involves a duel between the greatest detective of the century, known as L, and someone who studied his procedures and history at an academy. The latter has committed three murders and plans a fourth and last, which he believes will be unsolvable, making him greater than the master. Oddly, the super-sleuth is not directly involved in the case. He enlists a beautiful Asian FBI agent on suspension from her job to solve it and speaks to her only through email and on secure telephone lines. The killer leaves abstract clues at each site. That aspect was fun, although the intricacies lost me occasionally. The supernatural is largely hinted at rather than front and center as it is in the other books of the series. The Shinigami, spirits that invite humans toward death, are mentioned but do not play a significant role, even though the killer is said to be one. Japanese voodoo dolls, Wara Ningyo, are part of the puzzle. The heroine, who dislikes guns, is a proponent of Capoeira, a Brazilian form of martial arts that she uses more as a mean of evasion rather than physical confrontation. I enjoyed learning these things, and the central story. The prose, on the other, was odd and relied on many single sentence paragraphs, which I thought unnecessarily arty. The narrative was translated by a Brit, Andrew Cunningham, who has written a long list of thrillers under his own name. I guessed the identity of the killer very early. I think most readers would. For some reason I cannot fathom, the author gave the victims weird names: Backyard Bottomslash, Quarter Queen and Believe Bridesmaid. That was as baffling to me as the constant use of "..." I was unable to find a meaning for it using Google search. The hardcover version I read includes illustrations. The first is beautiful. The rest seem like photocopies. I found the one above at Google images, and assume it was done by a fan. Anyway, 121 readers have rated the novel at Amazon, forging to an impressive consensus of 4.6 of five. I rate it three. I've watched many Japanese movies through the years, but the ones in this series don't tempt me. If an English language version of the novel in question is ever produced, though, I'd definitely add it to my Netflix list.

The floating book shop switched to its alternate site in Park Slope today, 7th Av. between 4th & 5th Street. Unfortunately, business wasn't any better. The tree near the corner of fourth has flourished, providing much needed shade. My thanks to the gentleman who purchased three paperback thrillers, and to the old-timer who donated four Vince Flynns and a Navy Seal thriller in hardcover. I asked about a brace he was wearing on his right hand. He has arthritis, which he attributes to his days as a roper of bulls and cows. I now have a name for him -- Mr. Rodeo. It's not surprising that he prefers action-packed fiction.
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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