Tokyo Year Zero
Tokyo Year Zero
by David Peace
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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The fifteenth day of the eighth month of the twentieth year of ShowaTokyo, 90°, fine
'Detective Minami! Detective Minami! Detective Minami!'
I open my eyes. From dreams that are not my own. I sit up in my chair at my desk. Dreams I do not want. My collar is wet and my whole suit damp. My hair itches. My skin itches--
'Detective Minami! Detective Minami!'
Detective Nishi is taking down the blackout curtains, bright warm shafts of dawn and dust filling the office as the sun rises up beyond the tape-crossed windows--
'Did you just say something?' I ask Nishi--
Nishi shakes his head. Nishi says, 'No.'
I stare up at the ceiling. Nothing moves in the bright light. The fans have stopped. No electricity. The telephones silent. No lines. The toilets blocked. No water. Nothing--
'Kumagaya was hit during the night,' says Nishi. 'There are reports of gunfire from the Palace...'
'I didn't dream it, then?'
I take out my handkerchief. It is old and it is dirty. I wipe my neck again. Then I wipe my face. Now I check my pockets--
They are handing out potassium cyanide to the women, the children and the aged, saying this latest cabinet reshuffle foretells the end of the war, the end of Japan, the end of the world...
Nishi holds up a small box and asks, 'You looking for these?'
I snatch the box of Muronal out of his hands. I check the contents. Enough. I stuff the box back into my jacket pocket--
The sirens and the warnings all through the night; Tokyo hot and dark, hidden and cowed; night and day, rumours of new weapons, fears of new bombs; first Hiroshima, then Nagasaki, next is Tokyo...
Bombs that mean the end of Japan, the end of the world...
No sleep. Only dreams. No sleep. Only dreams...
Night and day, this is why I take these pills...
This is what I tell myself, night and day...
'They were on the floor,' says Nishi--
I nod. I ask, 'You got a cigarette?'
Nishi shakes his head. I curse him. There are five more days until the next special ration. Five more days...
The office door swings open--
Detective Fujita storms into the room. Detective Fujita has a Police Bulletin in his hand. Fujita says, 'Sorry, more bad news...
He tosses the bulletin onto my desk. Nishi picks it up--
Nishi is young. Nishi is keen. Too young...
'It's from the Shinagawa police station,' he says, and reads: 'Body discovered in suspicious circumstances at the Women's Dormitory Building of the Dai-Ichi Naval Clothing Department--'
'Just a moment,' I tell him. 'Surely anything to do with the Naval Clothing Department falls under the jurisdiction of the Kempeitai? This is a case for the military police, not civilian...'
'I know,' says Fujita. 'But Shinagawa are requesting Murder Squad detectives. Like I say, I'm really sorry I pulled it...'
No one wants a case. Not today. Not now...
I get up from my desk. I grab my hat--
'Come on,' I tell Fujita and Nishi. 'We'll find someone else. We'll dump the case. Just watch me...'
I go out of our room and down the main hallway of the First Investigative Division of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department; down Police Arcade, room to room, office to office, door to door--
Door to door. No one. Office to office. No one. Room to room. No one. Everyone evacuated or absent--
No one wants a case. Not today...
Just Fujita, Nishi and me...
About the Author-
David Peace is the author of The Red Riding Quartet, GB84, and The Damned Utd. He was chosen as one of Granta's 2003 Best Young British Novelists, and has received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the German Crime Fiction Award, and the French Grand Prix de Roman Noir for Best Foreign Novel. Born and raised in Yorkshire, he has lived in Tokyo since 1994.
San Francisco Chronicle
"Part historical stunner, part Kurosawa crime film, an original all the way. David Peace's depiction of a war-torn metropolis both crumbling and ascendant is peerless, and the story itself is beautifully wrought." --James Ellroy"Brilliant, perplexing, claustrophobic. . . . Exhilarating." --The New York Times Book Review"The big post-war Japan novel, a fierce marriage of mood and narrative drive. David Peace continues to polish and advance his particular brand of literary crime fiction." --George Pelecanos"Once this hellish locomotive of a book hooks onto its tracks it becomes difficult to stop."
PublisherKnopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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