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3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 31 January 2004
I like my crime black as night and completely fearless. 1974 delivers not only great crime, just the way I like it, but great literature. Peace has redefined the crime novel.( I've heard this said many times as a crime afficianado, but in this case it really is true) Generally in crime novels bad things happen in an (essentially) good place. Someone then sets out to make things right. In 1974, the whole world (Yorkshire) is bad and NOTHING can set it right. The truth has to be squeezed out (and I don't use this cliche lightly) like blood from a stone. In Peace's world, the facts are profoundly disturbing and the emotions surrounding them are worse. Morality is virtually non-existent and what there is brings about only brutal survival. This is indeed a Godless universe, and visiting it through these pages truly gives a glimpse of hell. Peace has to be admired for his courage and his unflinching gaze into the abyss. It is troubling to read, what was it like to WRITE. Just to see the author's name - PEACE - after having read this book reminds you how far from peace this time and place are (were).
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
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on 8 June 2017
Excellent book! As most reviewers have already said, it definitely leaves more questions than answers at the end, but then I think that's a sign of it being the first book in a series - and I've missed book series like this!

The way the book is written is sometimes a bit confusing, but I like this aspect because there are times in real life where you are confused, and when you come to recount the story to someone else, things get crossed or blurred or forgotten, so jumps are necessary, if not inevitable. I like this aspect, because it feels like the protagonist is telling us the story as he remembers it.

Despite the dark nature of the book (and it is dark, but I have read darker), there are some funny bits which are only funny if you understand the culture of Yorkshire, which I do. I had a giggle at times: "Excuse me lads, do you know where this address is?" "You what now?" "This address - do you know where it is?" "Yeah - left, then right, then left" "thank you" "I should think so too"!!!

Overall, an excellent read and I do recommend it! I'll be buying the next few in the series! :)
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on 18 May 2017
A good read, some might be offended by some of the un PC comments in this story but it is supposed to be the 1970s. But don't let that put you off its an excellent book & I intend to read the rest of the series.
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on 5 May 2017
v good
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on 12 February 2003
You won't forget this one in a hurry.
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.
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on 8 May 2012
I've heard '1974' being described as like reading a scream. I know exactly where that's coming from. Peace's narrative is intense, visceral, gritty, dark, unrelenting and unsettling. It is very tightly written and through the flair and style of the prose, the contextual framing, and the palpable sense of realism, it produces a powerful affective response from the first page. If anyone is looking for the ultimate noir, then 1974 must be near the top of the pile. The story is a long way from horror, and none of the scenes are particularly horrific, but I nevertheless found it a difficult read at times, simultaneously feeling senses of compulsion and revulsion. It's one of those strange books or movies that draws you in at the same time as pushing you away. I read it in several sittings and found it emotionally draining. The end unravels a little, becoming a bit disjointed (much like the main character). Nevertheless 1974 is a brilliant piece of writing, but it's not for the faint hearted.
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on 16 December 2013
David Peace has translated James Ellroy's apocalyptic view of police etc from LA to Yorkshire. This is not a cosy detective story. It is episodic depressing and black. However, there is a hypnotic rhythm to the prose and the police get it in the neck. The problems are that the prose breaks down and teeters into incoherence. The subject matter is also rebarbative.
One detail; the book starts with a Vauxhall Viva having its hazard lights on.I doubt that in 1974 such a car would have such lights.
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Set in Leeds, in the run up to Christmas 1974, this novel is full of anything but Christmas cheer. Edward Dunford is the North of England crime correspondent on the Yorkshire Post - desperate to make his name and always coming second to veteran reporter Jack Whitehead, a man on easy terms with both the police and court personnel. The story begins during a conference at a police station, asking for information on missing ten year old Clare Kemplay. After the conference, Dunford rushes to the funeral of his father and, in many ways, the entire book is like that opening chapter. This is noir at it's darkest, with Edward Dunford chasing leads amongst a cynical population, where the police are corrupt and the 'good guys' only less marginally violent than the criminals.

It is soon apparent that Dunford is in far over his head. A story he had previously covered about the 'Ratcatcher', that by a colleague about building regulations, missing schoolgirls, a missing rugby player and gangsters collide in a frenetic and utterly compelling storyline. This is a world of pub toilets, office banter, physical attacks and, more than anything, the loss of three little girls. It is fair to say that none of the characters are particularly likeable, even our 'hero' Dunford - whose search for the truth owes as much to his career as his desire to find the truth, especially at the beginning of the book, and who is not even thoughtful towards the two women who is linked to. However, if you like your crime realistic, violent, fast paced and hard hitting, it is fair to say that you will like this. I intend to take a deep breath before embarking on book two Red Riding Nineteen Seventy Seven: Red Riding Quartet.
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on 28 March 2009
After seeing channel 4's adaptaton - I had to read it. I thought the first episode was the best, and the story was brilliant. I'm from Yorkshire - I knew it was no tourist ad, more like, 'stay away from the north, we'll kill you.' I'm a 17 year old girl, so the story was quite an eyeopener, the language was foul, the violence bloodthirsty. I fell in love with eddie dunford and sean bean. But it was nothing compared to the book. As an AS level English Lit student, I appreciate the way in which people write. Peace captures the sheer repulsive nature of eddie dunford, who I no longer find an attractive character. Channel 4 have changed the story, in parts its not recognisable, but they've captured moments brilliantly. So if you're expecting the channel 4 retell, beware - its more violent and ripe in language than ever, which is why I'm not going to read the other 3 - this was enough. I felt like I'd had an experience after I read it, you get so connected to the character, the descriptions are vivid, and the narration is fantastic. This book is really on of a kind! I wouldn't say its for the feinthearted - some people may be disgusted by the content and put it down by page 20 - but I read it in 2 days, couldn't put it down. Give it a try and you won't be disappointed!
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on 21 March 2012
I "enjoyed" this dark mixture of fact and prose. There are similarities to James Elroy but the Britishness is well handled ( this opinion not based on 1st hand experience of Yorkshire).
The quartet are Seedy and antiheroic, I like the shifting characters - well observed and made in to a compelling trilogy by Channel 4.
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