Tokyo Year Zero is further proof that David Peace is now one of the most ambitious and accomplished novelists of the modern era -- in any genre. He has always been an innovator, forging a striking synthesis between Noir crime writing and Yorkshire realism. Nineteen Seventy-Four was a visceral and atmospheric novel set in the year of the Silver Jubilee, with the Yorkshire Ripper at his sanguinary work. This book was the second of the Riding Quartet, and demonstrated what readers had come to expect -- a totally individual voice, with the characters (such as past-his-best journalist Jack Whitehead) memorably drawn.
Tokyo Year Zero, Peace's new novel, is another adroit synthesis, this time between the sprawling historical novel and the gritty crime genre. The author's picture of a city at war (the year is 1946) rivals that of any modern novelist in vividness and authenticity. It is one year on from the surrender, and Tokyo is struggling to maintain its pride after the American victory that destroyed its imperialist ambitions. The police force barely functions, and a variety of unpleasant individuals struggle for supremacy in Tokyo's thriving black market. Peace's protagonist, Detective Minami, is assigned a difficult case: the bodies of two women are found in Sheba Park, but as he begins to dig beneath the surface of an increasingly baffling and complex mystery, Minami finds (to his dismay) that his personal past -- and personal secrets -- are somehow involved with the murderer and his savage killings.
This first book in the Tokyo trilogy is as surprising and idiosyncratic an offering as we have come to expect from David Peace, and it's a safe bet that readers will be impatient for the remaining books in the sequence. --Barry Forshaw [via]