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The Case of the Dragon Slayer: A Jiken Mystery
Kouhei Kadono
Del Rey Manga, 288 pages

Kouhei Kadono
orn in 1968, Kouhei Kadono grew up uncertain about his direction in life. He spent a considerable portion of his early years frittering away his youth before somehow ending up writing novels. In 1997, Kadono-sensei's first Boogiepop novel, Boogiepop and Others, took First Place in the Media Works' Dengeki Game Novel Contest. Early the following year, the novel was released to widespread acclaim and ignited the Japanese "light novel" (young adult) trend. Since that time, Kadono-sensei has written thirteen Boogiepop novels and several related works such as the two Boogiepop manga series entitles Boogiepop Doesn't Laugh and Boogiepop Dual. In its entirety, the Boogiepop series has seen over two million copies in print and spawned a live action movie and a hit anime series.

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by John Enzinas

The Case of the Dragon Slayer The Case of the Dragon Slayer is a cross between a typical buddy story and a serial killer profile story. One of the world's seven Dragons has been killed. As these dragons are god-like beings of near infinite power, this changes everything.

The story follows the path of three people as they rush to discover not only who killed the dragon, but how. Two of the three are the aforementioned buddies: Major Heathrow Kristoff, the Wind Knight and thus the best fighter in the world and Edwarth Thizwerks Markwhistle, an Arbitrator from the powerful Seven Seas Alliance. The story is narrated by Captain Reize Risukasse who also serves as a subtle romantic interest for Kristoff.

The three of them travel the world to meet the people who were the last to see the dragon, trying to see if one of them was the killer and to learn of the nature of their visit. The meeting with each petitioner is played out as an episode fraught with its own difficulties and peril. At each, Markwhistle uses his Sherlock Holmes-like deductive reasoning to both deal with the reactions to their appearance and to assist in his determining what happened to the late Dragon.

The story manages to successfully play with a number of typical tropes for both the fantasy and detective genres, however, it did still end up with the heroine needing to be rescued at one point, even if he did manage do to that in a somewhat novel fashion.

The story telling was good and, as I mentioned, the plotting worked with plenty of clever twists. The dialogue was not as crisp as it felt like it wanted to be, however after you are half way through the cadence finds itself and, apparently insinuates itself into your subconscious.

 The book made an impression on me. The night after finishing this book, I had a dream where I was traveling with the characters. It wasn't really through any particular part of the story, but each of the main characters was present. I'm not sure if this is a positive or  a negative but it was not at all a bad dream.

Copyright © 2009 John Enzinas

John Enzinas reads frequently and passionately. In his spare time he plays with swords.

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