cover image Tokyo Redux

Tokyo Redux

David Peace. Knopf, $28 (454p) ISBN 978-0-307-26376-6

Peace’s brilliant final entry in his monumental Tokyo trilogy (after 2009’s Occupied City) fictionalizes the notorious 1949 Shimoyama disappearance case. Tasked with eliminating thousands of jobs, Sadanori Shimoyama, the president of the Japanese National Railways, is under enormous pressure and scrutiny from a population that’s already struggling just to survive when he goes missing. The next day, his remains are found strewn across some railroad tracks. Is it murder or suicide? Harry Sweeney, an alcoholic American detective working for the U.S. occupying forces, is the first to lose himself in the case, which defies easy answers, followed 15 years later by ex-cop-turned-PI Murota Hideki, who sifts through the ghosts of the country’s painful past as Japan prepares for the 1964 summer Olympics. Finally, a quarter century later, the story picks up from the viewpoint of Donald Reichenbaugh, an aging former intelligence officer living out his days as a teacher and translator, who’s forced to reckon with his own guilt and misgivings about the events of 1949. Peace’s dense, baroque style can be daunting, but those who persevere will be well rewarded. Readers will be reminded of James Ellroy at his obsessive best. (Aug.)