cover image Tokyo Year Zero

Tokyo Year Zero

David Peace, read by Mark Bramhall, Blackstone Audio, unabridged, 11 CDs, 14 hrs

Set in 1946, a year after the Japanese surrender, Peace's true crime–based novel follows a police detective, Minami, as he searches for a serial killer who has slain several young women in central Tokyo. Like the author's more recent work, Occupied City (both part of a planned Tokyo trilogy), this one is written in a highly stylized, almost poetic manner, shifting from internal monologues to dialogue, incorporating rhythmically repeated phrases and sounds. When spoken, the effect can be mesmerizing and fluid, especially with perfect timing and execution. In Occupied City, six readers did an exceptional job. Here, Mark Bramhall is just as effective operating solo. Not only does he create distinctive accented voices for a large, diverse cast—including the depressed, driven Minami; his weary, submissive wife; bombastic bosses; a sarcastic partner and a growling sadistic gang lord—Bramhall vocalizes gun shots and animal sounds. Even more important, he aids the author in summoning a mood of desolation and desperation that falls like fog over a war-ravaged, conquered city. A Vintage paperback. (Sept.)