Much of the story interest in the second and third volumes, then, comes from Light's elaborate ploys to carry on his Kira work even as he's being closely watched. In one sequence, he manages to use the notebook in a hidden camera-laden bedroom under the eyes of both L and his observing father.
Though Death Note is proudly pulpy in its storytelling, its violence is not as over-the-top as, for example, Battle Royale. Many of Kira's killings occur off-panel, while as much of the focus is on the logistics and ethical ramifications of using the Death Note as it is on suspenseful sequences like the one where Light's father attempts to get into a television studio being held hostage.
Artist Obata (known for his work on the popular sports fantasy manga, Hikaru No Go) has a clean, well-lit (apart from the brief scenes in the death gods' domain) style that suits the material — it has the flat evocativeness of a fifties B-flick or a Fritz Lang Dr. Mabuse movie — though occasionally his treatment of the bulging-eyed, gangly L grows repetitive. If the story has the potential to grow too repetitive by focusing on the cat-and-mouse (Which is which? Good question.) 'tween Light and L, that's not the case with the first three volumes.
Another new manga series for me to follow? Yup. Ah, well, at least Shonen Jump’s paperbacks are a good two bucks cheaper than yer average $9.95er . . .