Yes, it's repetitive, with paragraphs cut and pasted and sentences breaking down, word by word. Yes, it's disjointed; two lead characters' voices - one more than 1974 and 1980, one less than 1983. Yes, motives can be ambiguous, plotline uncertain, threads left dangling - and yet, and yet, and yet...
I loved this series of books more than just about anything I've read this year, certainly anything by a British author. It's a fast and compulsive read, with the author dragging the reader through mutated news events from my youth - fictionalized versions of Stefan Kiszko, John Stalker, Peter Sutcliffe - with a visceral brutality that shocks and enthrals.
The unusual repetitive style is mesmerizing, and a successful way of getting inside the protagonists' heads. The two protagonists, police officer, Bob Fraser and crime reporter,Jack Whitehead, have perspectives on the unfolding story that are equally rivetting. As for the motives, plotline, dangling threads... For me, it made it feel so genuine, as inconvenient and messy as life itself.
All four books in the Red Riding series are remarkable, and taken together form a whole that's better than the sum of its parts. That said, I would hesitate to recommend the books to anyone whose taste I didn't know, simply because they are so idiosyncratic. I can see that some readers could be completely alienated by the style and the substance. All I can repeat is that I absolutely loved them, all four; five-star novels, the lot of them.