David Peace has always been a novelist of stamina, scale and historical ambition. His celebrated Red Riding Quartet was a mesmerising dive into the darkness of 1970s and 1980s Yorkshire terrorised by the Ripper, while GB84 chronicled the impact of the miners’ strikes in Britain. His Tokyo Trilogy, which began in 2007 with Tokyo Year Zero and was followed two years later by Occupied City, takes the reader into a defeated and humiliated postwar Japan, a country attempting to rebuild but still floundering amid the American occupation and ‘cholera and typhus … disease and death, death and loss’.
Both earlier novels focused on a real-life crime: the first on the case of serial killer Yoshio Kodaira and the second on a notorious Tokyo bank heist in which all the employees were poisoned. The concluding volume, Tokyo Redux, also explores a real case: the mysterious disappearance of the president of the National Railways, Sadanori Shimoyama. Except here the story stretches over four decades, from 1949 through the Tokyo Olympics of 1964 to the death of Emperor Hirohito in 1989, thereby fulfilling Peace’s promise that the trilogy