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.
There are echoing traces of the complicated patterns and pretensions of the previous books—an occasional italicized passage, another séance—but we have reached the decrescendo of this symphony. It comes as something of a relief ... that knife edge of disillusion lingers even after we reach what is, ultimately, a satisfying conclusion to a deeply ambitious and enjoyable series. There is no denying that in his Tokyo Trilogy Peace has built an intricate labyrinth. But it gets better, easier to navigate with each rereading. Rewarding the reader generously in ways other, easier, books cannot.
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.'