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on 7 July 2004
FOr anyone with even a passing interest in crime fiction, David Peace's Red Riding quartet is essential reading. Set in Yorkshire throughout the seventies and eighties, Peace balances the case of the Yorkshire Ripper with the theme of police corruption. Not cheerful stuff then, but fantastically crafted and well observed.
All four books are violent and disturbing outings. Peace's characters are cruel, selfish and self-loathing creations that stay with the reader long after the book is finished.
1983 is the final part of the quartet and should only be read after completing the first three. This isn't the type of series you can miss bits out of.
As usual the plot is tense and draws the reader in. The kind of book that takes one long sitting, it is very hard to put down. Indeed, due to the breakneck pace of Peace's startling prose, it is often impossible to withdraw from the narrative at all.
This novel is the strongest of the four, utillising a tight yet intricate structure, thrusting the reader back and forth across the decades revealing startling truths about the characters, many of whom are familiar from earlier in the series.
Indeed, many of the images used here are also familiar from earlier giving the reader a sense of a claustrophobic communal nightmare.
If you've never read any David Peace, I suggest starting with the superb 1974 and working your way through. If you've already read the first three books, you need to read this. But then you know that already.
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This is the finale in the Red Riding Quartet and none of the books are stand alone stories, so, before you think of reading this, you must first read the three preceeding novels: Red Riding Nineteen Seventy Four (Red Riding Quartet),Red Riding Nineteen Seventy Seven: Red Riding Quartet and Red Riding Nineteen Eighty: Red Riding Quartet. If you have already read those novels, then this is the dark, violent dreamscape that makes up the final novel and you will already know the themes and characters that populate the pages.

It is Friday, May 13th 1983, and we are back at Millgarth Police Station in Leeds. The Owl - Detective Chief Superintendent Maurice Jobson, is calling a police conference. Ten year old Hazel Atkins disappeared on the way home from school. Another press conference and another missing girl, joining Jeanette Garland, Susan Ridyard and Clare Kemplay. Michael Myshkin is in prison for the murder of at least one of those girls, but now his mother wishes to appeal and she asks John Piggott, a local solicitor to look into the case. As before, this novel uses the point of view of particular characters - in this book Piggott, Jobson and BJ, a rent boy we have met before and whose storyline weaves throughout the quartet from the first to last book.

These books are dark and bleak in the extreme, with themes of murder, violence, abuse and corruption. Although these books will not appeal to everybody, if you begin reading them you will have no alternative but to read to the conclusion, because they are utterly compelling once you begin. This is neither crime nor literary fiction, but a heady mix of the two, intertwining storylines along with genres to create something quite different and quite brilliant.
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VINE VOICEon 27 February 2011
In this, the final piece of Peace's Red Riding hood quartet, we get as much closure as we could expect to have from this stunning, oblique, challenging and confusing series.

Told by three people, in three contrasting styles and with a timeline that jumps backwards and forwards between the present of 1983 and all the times of the other books, this could and probably should be unreadable. Peace's familiar, repetitive, chopped up style is in evidence, coupled this time with moments of poetic beauty and an obvious confidence in his material.

BJ, the rent boy who featured heavily in 1974, is the first viewpoint. Beginning at the shootings perpetrated by Eddie Dunford at the climax of the first novel and weaving his way through the multiple plot lines of the other books, through BJ we learn things that were hidden from us throughout 1974, 1977 and 1980. It is astonishing the way in which Peace reveals the extent of BJ's involvement, the sheer complexity and plotting that hold up the quartet is mind-boggling. A telephone conversation that we hear half of in the first book is revealed, but thrown in in such a subtle way that the casual reader could easily miss the import. These are books that reward close reading, and BJ's story exemplifies this. He is the unfortunate glue that holds the whole thing together. Tortured, hunted and terrified, we learn here that BJ knows all that that has previously been hidden from the reader. The pleasure from 1983 comes from putting the pieces together.

John Pigott, an overweight, drunk and stoned lawyer is called by Michael Myskin's mother to appeal against Myskin's prison sentence for the murder Clare Kemplay in the first novel. At first convinced that he will be unable to help he tries to convince Mrs Myskin that we is not the man for the job. But when Myskin's friend is killed in Police custody, Pigott can't refuse. He begins an investigation that will take him to the core of the police force and his own copper father, whose suicide brought Piggot back to Yorkshire in the first place.

The final thread is Maurice 'The Owl' Jobson, one of the senior police officers who featured throughout the series. At the beginning of 1983 another girl has gone missing and while desperately trying to find her Jobson is forced to remember the horrors of the early cases. Again we are shown events from the previous books from a whole new perspective and slowly over the course of the book things begin to click into place. Jobson's guilt at first hides the extent of his involvement in the widespread corruption that holds Yorkshire in its grip, but as he begins to face the things he has done, we begin to given glimpses into the horror of the overall picture.

It is hard to review this as a stand alone book. Indeed if anyone picked this up without reading the others it would make little sense. As a book on it's own it would be too dense and confusing. However, when taken as the end piece of a stunning quartet it is revelatory. I am filled with admiration for Peace's ambition. To sustain so many characters over such a long time period, but to maintain a sense of the individual with each book is just incredible.

Peace tackles subjects that most authors would shy away from, paedophilia incest, murder, police corruption, and he does so without apology. This is not the England of stiff upper lips and of bowler hats. This is the North, where we do what we want.

The quartet is an enormous achievement. Clearly not to everyone's taste; they are dark, oppressive, brutal and wilfully stylistic. But for someone who is wiling to take a risk on something that is not easy reading, they are one of the most rewarding experiences that one can have in modern literature.
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on 4 November 2009
I still find it difficult to understand how some reviewers continue to moan about how they find the use of swear words and its darkness make it a terrible terrible book despite having must have made it through the four books or fail to understand the term Quartet.
But anyway enough meanderings and onto the review!

The final book is the best yet, with a great use of third, first and self narrative all mixed together to keep the use of three characters nice and tidy.
The twist are hidden well and will leave you chilled by the end with a feeling of sadness for the characters involved.

Also a great use of narrative form to trick us for a few pages at the end - really great.

Throughout the series Peace has improved his writing greatly and has truly perfected his form by the final book, the mix of surreal imagery which can only be described as a twisted industrial poetry keeps you pinned to the page during even some of the slower parts (of which there are not many)

I wish I hadn't seen the trilogy to be honest now as there were so many revelations which even though I knew was coming left me feeling awkward and sadistic myself (to all intensive purposes this is a good thing) and I wonder how I would feel if i was learning them first hand.
However having seen the trilogy I was waiting for my happy ending where everything is resolved and put in its place.

This book however is not that story. It'll leave you feeling darker than any of the past series, wanting more but also feeling strangely fulfilled.
Slowly the pieces form and the evils are revealed and defeated (in a way which is superior to the TV programme) yet the stench of corruption remains stuck - but before we leave the North we see a conscious forming, the corrupt and evil are punished - yet true to Red Riding not everything is concluded.

Darkest one yet - this is not a bad thing.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 April 2013
1983 is the final book in David Peace's Red Riding Quartet. Telling the story of corruption in and around the Yorkshire Police over the period between 1974 and 1983 this brings all the events together, characters return and it's all brought to a bloody final end.
Told in short bursts of narrative there are no hero's here, only villains. Peace writes in a similar vein to James Ellroy and that comparison with his LA Quartet may have been made many times but it's a very good one. Both have breathless prose, just reading this can leave you giddy with its short form narrative, placing you in the protagonist's roles. There is a lot of violence here and there are no punches pulled. You can't skim read this book as it demands your attention as reading it closely gives you all the detail and brilliant brutality.

With a style that rattles off the page like a machine gun and foul language this won't be everyone's taste. But it's a truly riveting read that delivers what the other three books have built towards. Characters like the Owl, BJ and others come swimming back and the old covered ground gets uncovered and the truth finally told. You will be left reeling not just from the scope and style but the sheer brilliance of how it all comes together. Don't skip ahead, read all four in quick succession to get the best impact. But do read, its been a long time since we had a British tale so brutal, atmospheric and well told.
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on 22 April 2010
A fitting conclusion to the dark series that is the Red Riding quarter. Looking from the perspective of police chief Maurice Jobson, solicitor John Piggott and rent-boy BJ Anderson, the mysteries of the previous three books are spectacularly unravelled in this novel.

Piggott's perspective is generally in the present, Jobson's story is primarily in the present but flits back to trace how he came to prominence as he is now, and BJ's story is generally a narrative from 1974 through to the present day. Putting these three strands together to reach a conclusion to the story is a marvellous achievement.

The corruption, cover-ups, vice and murderous sub-plots are all revealed, often with tragic results, sometimes sad but always befitting of this wonderful series.

I read the four books in little over two weeks and even though I hugely enjoyed them, a part of me was disappointed that the series was finished. As you would expect, Nineteen Eighy Three is where the story hits the heights, but in my opinion Nineteen Eighty is in the literary sense the finest individual piece of work in the series. But you can't read one without the other - (tongue firmly in cheek) a wonderful device the quartet, wouldn't you say?
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on 27 December 2002
When a figure dominates a genre as James Ellroy does modern crime fiction, then it is inevitable that blurb writers suggest unnatural comparisons between authors and the master. Many have suffered. Ian Rankin is Scotland's Ellroy; and David Peace is Yorkshire's. While some writers suffer from the comparison, Peace does not.
His series of novels set in and around Leeds at the time of the Yorkshire Ripper murders is in my view the finest modern British series in crime fiction. Dark, desperate, highly stylised, moving, they engage with modern Britain - drawing on a number of topical themes: abuse; corruption; conspiracy.
This the final novel in the quartet revisits many of the threads initiated in 1974, but are presented in such a way that knowledge of the previous novels is not necessary.
The three principals here: BJ, a rent boy, Piggot, a corrupt solicitor, and Jobson, a corrupt policeman, are set in three different interlinking narratives. In demonstrating how his style has developed since his earlier work, here various devices are used effortlessly. Piggot's chapters are written in the second person, BJ refers to himself continually in the third person. The device differentiates the narrative threads, but also serves to demonstrate the distancing each character has from their story.
The characters are all too human, complex people with complex motivations. Violence is presented explictly, the consequences of actions explored (throughout the whole of the twenty five year span covered by the novel).
The subject matter - violent child murders and abuse - may be too much for some. The writing style may be too much for others. BUt make no mistake, David Peace is the most exciting and most important thing that has happened to crime fiction in the UK in a very long time.
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on 1 December 2002
The "Red Riding" quartet shudders to a shocking climax in this raw,disturbing novel. Peace's style becomes more staccato with every volume;paragraphs become sentences; sentences become words; words become curses,and the physical and mental degradation and damage his protagonists gothrough becomes ever more disturbing. In David Peace's books, there'svery little difference between cops and victims, lawyers and criminals -everyone lives in a world of fear, pain, terror. Anyone can die at anymoment - or worse, they can remain alive to deal with the physical andmental scars.Nineteen Eighty-Three is again dominated by the corrupt, horrificpsychological landscape of West Yorkshire, the hearts of its people asbleak and empty as the moors above the hellish towns. This time we'vealso got the backdrop of an ever-more evil government, an ever-morecorrupt system - in the clash between bent cop Jobson and bent lawyerPigott that forms the backbone of this story and closes the series it'shard to tell which man is more damaged, more amoral. Peace's universe iscomplex and frightening.Is Leeds the hero or villain of this series? Who knows. Peace's Leeds isevery bit as grimly delineated as Chandler's or Ellroy's LA, Rankin'sEdinburgh, or Hiaasen's Florida.Not an easy read, but a compelling and thrilling one.
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on 16 July 2013
Fantastic last book of the Red Riding set.
Every one of them are brilliantly written.
Much more detailed than the equally great drama
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on 6 March 2011
If you have read any of the other books in this series then this one won't disappoint. Peace has a gripping way of telling a story.
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