Gone, mostly, are the torrential sentences of Tokyo Year Zero, in favour of a gumshoe yarn’s stripped-back prose. Nor are there the structural high jinks of Occupied City; instead, Peace generates his trademark sense of paranoid delirium from the twists and turns of the story itself, as new angles continually emerge, less on account of Sweeney’s deductive skill than what others are ready to tell him ... leads stealthily from the who-what-why of grudges and gangsters into hushed-up government departments and black ops ... Although you don’t need to have read the first two books to enjoy Tokyo Redux, it lands harder if you have, not least during an eerie sequence revisiting the protagonist of Tokyo Year Zero. Peace can be an uneven writer, but he’s somewhere near his best in this powerful, overwhelming novel, in which genre excitement steadily gives way to the uncannier frisson of being plugged into a current of secret knowledge.
Peace’s baroque prose style is an acquired taste. He uses heavy, mesmeric repetition — of words, phrases and names — to generate a heightened sense of intrigue and dread ... Some motifs recur so frequently one starts to wonder if he’s doing it for a bet: a handkerchief is produced, and a face wiped, on no fewer than 35 occasions, and there’s a remarkable amount of sighing — I counted 77 instances. The atmospherics are decidedly lurid ... I don’t think I’ll ever know what a 'rodent sky' is but that’s beside the point: the novel’s vaguely deranged ambience makes for an absorbing if occasionally hammy portrait of the mystery writer’s psyche. When Kuroda delivers a feverish monologue on his fixation with Shimoyama, it is as if Peace — who spent a decade writing Tokyo Redux — is explaining his own compulsion to reanimate this old story: 'I will . . . put him together again, make this man whole again, line by line and page by page.'
Connections are suggested with the 1948 Teigin poisonings central to Occupied City, and there are hints of a tantalising web of complicity, but we don’t actually learn what really happened with Shimoyama. Peace writes crime fiction in name only; 'whodunit?' is a question entertained, then relinquished, and for all his paranoid speculations, Peace stays faithful to the inscrutable mystery of each of these historic cases, unresolved to this day. His prose is braided with actual press headlines running for pages on end ... The details are meticulously researched, down to the dying emperor’s Mickey Mouse wristwatch. The effect is one of transfixing veracity ... Repetition and rhyme, trusted Peace techniques (some might say tics), give the prose an incantatory rhythm and an epic feel. This often drifts into bathos ... Japanese is a distinctively onomatopoeic language; sense is conveyed by approximating the sound of things, feelings, even ideas. Peace channels this phonetic quality, coining leitmotivs to stress his key themes ... Many novels are hyped as 'polyphonic', but Peace’s now complete Tokyo trilogy truly is, brilliantly summoning forth multiple voices in the soundscape of a city gripped by seismic change.