Diving right back into Isaka world, part 7: The Reaper returns.
Shinigami no Furyoku is a sequel (spinoff?) to Shinigami no Seido, The Accuracy of Death. They both feature a shinigami (agent of death, reaper, whatever you’d like to call him) named Chiba who does work as a death investigator. His job is to make contact with and follow a person in the human world who is scheduled to die for seven days and send in a “Yes” or “No” report to his higher ups in the underground. If he sends a yes, the person dies on the 8th day, but if he sends a no, they continue to live. That said, most people get a “yes.”
The first book was a collection of short stories featuring Chiba and his work, but Shinigami no Furyoku is a full-length novel, and focuses more on moving along the plot and digging deeper into the psyche of the human characters of the story. And boy, what a story this one was.
The Yamanobes are a couple who have lost their young daughter to a manipulative psychopathic killer, and the novel starts with Chiba meeting them on the day the killer’s trial sentence- he is acquitted and found not guilty. This is the start of his sick game of dominance, and their quest for true vengeance.
Shinigami no Furyoku really reminded me a lot of The Lovely Bones. The ironic, satisfying end was also quite similar but still enjoyable.
What also makes this series enjoyable is how Chiba acts around humans. Generally, he does his job to the fullest, but he has no interest in humans and their doings aside from his job. He uses strange, out of date phrases and acts like he’s seen things that happened hundreds of years ago first hand (because he has, but the humans don’t know that.) His only motivation is music, with which he is obsessed to the point where it often is used in some way within the plot to make him inadvertently help or hinder his human subjects. Also, it’s still always raining when he works.
It’s not my most favorite Isaka book, but it was still fun to read. It was kind of fascinating reading the parts about fearing death (or not) and the group mentality of dealing with a psychopath.
Quote of the day: (Chiba, on wanting to listen to music when a serious car chase is happening)
“So, if we take care of this, can I listen to it then?”
Current Isaka Count: 21/33