Nineteen Seventy Four (Red Riding Quartet) (The Red Riding Quartet) Paperback – 4 Sep 2008
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From the very first page of David Peace's first novel, 1974, it soon becomes clear that something is rotten in the state of Yorkshire: a young girl is missing.
The Yorkshire Post's young but disillusioned crime correspondent, Edward Dunford, is assigned to the story, while juggling the recent death of his father and the return to his native Yorkshire after a brief, unsuccessful stint in Fleet Street. For the jaded Dunford, it's just another story; the only intrigue is whether or not the girl will be found dead or alive before Christmas. That is, until the girl is discovered brutally murdered, face down in a ditch with a pair of swan's wings sewn into her back.
As Dunford follows the case, he begins to make a series of terrifying connections with a string of child murders, plunging him into a gut-wrenching nightmare of corruption, violence, sadism, blackmail and sexual obsession--from the upper echelons of local government to the tacky heart of Yorkshire darkness.
As Peace's tale of corruption and conspiracy unravels, it becomes clear that 1974 is as influenced by Orwell's own bleak vision of Britain in 1984 as it is by the wonderfully evoked atmosphere of the mid- 70s. The Bay City Rollers, Leeds United, It Ain't Half Hot Mum and Vauxhall Viva's all make an appearance. The novel works at several levels, from the brilliantly unsentimental homecoming of the gifted, alienated northern son, to a terrifyingly accurate portrayal of an insular, tribal community. The plot is complex and frenetic and Peace often leaves strands untied, especially as he builds to an extremely powerful climax. Yet the dialogue is fast, witty and violent; a must read for fans of Yorkshire Gothic. -- Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
The slow-burning, word-of-mouth success story of British publishing... These four books recreated the pervasive sense of terror and corruption with a hammering, semi-magical style loosely reminiscent of James Ellroy, but steeped in something far more bleak and English... the evil twin of Life On Mars... Peace may have succeeded in creating an enduring literature for a curiously undocumented area of Britain (Justin Quirk Guardian Guide 2009-02-28)
Bleakly brilliant (Radio Times 2009-02-28)
Compelling (Sunday Times 2009-03-01)
He's in a class of his own in terms of ambition. He's trying to write these alternative histories of events we know quite well in a challenging way. The fact that he's dealing with very English subjects from Japan is very interesting (Alex Clark editor of Granta Magazine)
A British crime master work. Required reading... (Maxim 2009-04-01)
Original, difficult, brilliant (Observer 2009-03-01)
Haunting evocations of 70s and 80s Yorkshire - interlinking tales of very fallible coppers, very noir hacks, very human killers (Euan Ferguson Observer 2009-03-01)
Singular and memorable (Ian Jack Guardian 2009-03-14)
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Top Customer Reviews
1974 is the first book of the red riding quartet (1974,1977,1980,1983) and cannot truly be appreciated (good as it is) without finishing the quartet. While a liitle rougher, and not quite as tight as the following three books, 1974 has a raw urgency and ends(?) with a lot of unanswered questions. Questions that are answered, or rather confronted and dissected in the following three books. 1974 lights the fuse,and then the bombs start falling. Woe to the reader with a weak constitution. Once read, these books will NEVER be forgotten
I know a work of art should stand alone, independent of its creator, and there's no doubt that 'Nineteen Seventy Four' does that. This is noir at its most brutal and thought-provoking. But I couldn't help wondering about its author. What kind of hard-boiled nutcase is David Peace, to come up with such a book - the closest thing to literary hell this side of James Ellroy's 'Silent Terror'? I guess there's always the chance he's a sweet-natured, peace-loving, vegetarian optimist... but I wouldn't stake my life on it.
'Nineteen Seventy Four' takes the reader on a frenetic and brutal trip through the corrupt underbelly of Yorkshire society in the mid-seventies. An era of dodgy music and TV, and even dodgier fashion- not to mention bent cops, drunks, freaks, desperados, and crimes so heinous they defy belief. Bang smack in the middle of it all is Eddie Dunford, a young but jaded crime journo assigned to background research on a series of gruesome murders, whilst his nemesis Jack Whitehead - Crime Reporter of the Year - basks in the headlining glory.Read more ›
Serpent's Tail consistently put out top class work, and this is no exception.
Bleak, dark, sickeningly violent, horribly believable, populated by characters who are for the most part doomed, it's never an easy ride. Finishing this book genuinely gave me the feeling of coming up for air, and ever since I have had the contradictory feelings of wishing I hadn't read it, but being glad I had. I will be reading other books in the quartet, but not too soon.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Strong, bleak imagery is well-drawn, but Peace's novel falls short because the lead character is impossible to empathise with, and there is no light or humour to define the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Daniel L.
Not for the faint hearted this is a tour de force that drags you into the dark heart of 1970s Yorkshire and a rogues gallery of characters. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Having read all four books a few years back they are not only about murders but about police & political corruption both local and national . Read morePublished 7 months ago by fabone
It is actually called How to Preach the Alpha Course by Nick Gumby. A piece of poisonous fundamentalist christian god-botherer propaganda. Is there an agenda here?Published 9 months ago by kd
It reads like the script for an episode of "The Sweeney" and is uncomfortably realistic but after 10 tedious pages I lost the will and it is now in the Oxfam shop.Published 10 months ago by Mr. N. Murphy
I enjoyed the first half of the book but by the end I found that there was perhaps too much violence to the point that by the end of the book I'd become somewhat de-sensitized by... Read morePublished 18 months ago by ben mears
I have long wanted to read this series of books and started with 1974 a few months ago. Little did I know that it would be so grim, so gritty, so grimy that I wouldn't be able to... Read morePublished 18 months ago by salemskye.com
Too many F...... words for my liking. I dont mind occcasional ones, but not four or five in every sentence. The story would have been OK without them!. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Taji-ann