By September 21, 2010 0 Comments Read More →

Tokyo Year Zero

David Peace has lived and taught in Japan since 1994 and his understanding of Japanese society is on review in the 2007 book, Tokyo Year Zero.  The novel takes place one year after the Japanese surrender to the Americans and all Japanese are asking themselves what is the point of society when you have “nothing to lose.”


The central character is Minami, an inspector in the 2nd Investigative Division of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police.  He lives in the legacy of the Second World War and the fact that people now live under the mantra that “no one is who they say they are.”  His investigations are conducted under the very formal rules of hierarchy but he has survived.  Or at least, until now.  When several female bodies are discovered, Minami is assigned to one of the colder cases.  While others honor themselves with success, he begins to dissemble with his team, his superiors, and his family. 

This is a noir novel and that means things are not going to go well for Minami.  The most amazing thing for readers will be his tenacity as a detective while every other aspect of his life is crumbling around him.


Peace does an outstanding job of propelling the narrative with a poetic style that is amazing to read.  Readers who like this style will most likely also like Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor series. 


This is a dark and disturbing novel that shows a society totally out of control.  The issues that are raised in the novel will propel your book discussion.  I can almost guarantee its success with your group. 





About the Author:

Gary Niebuhr is the author of Make Mine a Mystery (2003), Caught up in Crime (2009), and other readers' guides to mystery and detective fiction. He was a Booklist contributor from 2008-2014.

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