Tokyo Year Zero by David Peace

Peace's writing is more like poetry than the standard lingo of crime thrillers

Book Review by Keir Hind | 07 Nov 2007
  • Tokyo Year Zero
Book title: Tokyo Year Zero
Author: David Peace

This book marks something of a return to crime writing for David Peace, after branching out to a multi-layered account of the miner's strike in GB84, and also to the phenomenal football novel The Damned Utd, told in the first person voice of Brian Clough. Therefore Tokyo Year Zero, set in 1946 as the first of a proposed trilogy of Japan-set novels, is something of a departure. It follows one Detective Minami as he tries to solve a double homicide in the aftermath of war, a task which at first seems insignificant but which grows, ominously, in importance as the plot unfolds. The book retains stylistic similarities to Peace's previous works. Peace's writing is more like poetry than the standard lingo of crime thrillers, with significant phrases picked up and repeated as motifs – such as quotes from the Emperor's surrender speech. His writing style may in fact alienate the typical crime reader, if there is such a thing, and for anyone else the unfamiliar setting makes this probably his hardest book to get into. But it is very worth making the effort, because this is an extremely accomplished novel which looks like being the start of a most impressive trilogy. [Keir Hind]

Out Now, Published by Faber, Cover Price £16.99