If you thought fiction couldn't get darker than then think again. Nineteen Seventy Seven, the second installment of the Red Riding Quartet, is one long nightmare.
It's heroes - the half decent copper Bob Fraser and the burnt-out hack Jack Whitehead - would be considered villains in most people's books. Fraser and Whitehead have one thing in common though; they're both desperate men dangerously in love with Chapeltown prostitutes.
And as the summer moves remorselessly towards the bonfires of Jubilee Night, the killings accelerate and it seems as if Fraser and Whitehead are the only men who suspect or care that there may be more than one killer at large.
Out of the horror of true crime, David Peace has fashioned a work of terrible beauty. David Peace (born 1967) is an English author.
He was named one of the Best of Young British Novelists by Granta in 2003 and won the 2004 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. Also known for his novels GB84 and The Damned United, the latter was made into a feature film starring Michael Sheen.
©2001 David Peace (P)2010 Audible
"Quite simply, this is the future of British crime fiction." (Time Out)
"The pace is relentless, the style staccato-plus and the morality bleak and forlorn....Peace's voice is powerful and unique." (Guardian)
The Red Riding Quartet is shocking, especially for those of us who really enjoy Masterpiece Mystery. The language is obscene, the situations are brutal, and the characters are vile. There are no heroes here; every character is deeply flawed. But his style is that of Literature with a capital L. Some of the passages read like free verse poetry. Symbollic imagery threads throughout the books. In "1980" there are many passages of stream of consciousness -- think Joyce's Ulysses. The quartet is a single story that unfolds over 10 years. Each book is very different: told from different characters' points of view. Each book has it's own style. We Agatha Christie fans need to be patient with these books because underneath all of the Evil, there is a very clear and certain Morality. A Morality that has been violated, but it is there in every book.
Truly, these books are not for everyone. They are absolutely horrifying, the stuff of nightmares, but they are also very beautifully thought out and executed.
Great reader, and very dark story. The level of the writing is high and the characters feel authentic to their time and place.
I want more! Can't wait for the last two in the series.
The Red Riding Quartet overall is excellent and deserves a good readership. It's definitely not for everybody, but lots of stuff isn't so whatever.
The presentation of The Year 1977 itself--the Jubilee, the sense of social breakdown. Very much engaged with a very turbulent and unsettling moment of British history. In my view, this quality makes 1977 the most rewarding book of the series.
Reichlin is all-around superb as a reader of the Quartet. I do kind of wish, for this book, there'd been 2 readers--one for each narrator--since Peace is overall not very good at distinguishing between the "voices" of his various characters, which can cause extra confusion when listening. But it's not a huge deal.
Already been done.
Readers of 1974 will find 1977 more challenging, partly because a lot of what happens in 1974 is only vaguely and tangentially dealt with in 1977. But persevere. It's worth it.
Wow. I have read all of the Marquis de Sade's books so I thought nothing could really shock me but David Peace's "1977" managed to do just that. His portrayal of the absolute worst in people is epic and really hard to digest. I physically felt ill a couple of times. I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to make it through the whole recording but am I glad I did. The story and the characters really drew me in and I was actually sad when the recording ended. Saul Reichlin is an absolutley perfect narrator. I am already starting on "1980".
Some of the listener reviews of the Red Riding quartet have been less than complimentary so I thought I'd write my first review by way of balance...
I came to these books having watched the C4 TV films - which I think are great and are an example of how Britain can produce TV to rival HBO - I had heard the books were difficult so decided [having already seen how the plot goes] I would given them a miss... well that would have been a real mistake and I am grateful to audible for producing these versions...
I have listened to the first three novels and have 83 as treat for when the new year commute commences...
These books are really well read - as good as any I have listened to from audible...
If you are put off because you think, like I did, that having watched the TV films there will be no surprises well you would be wrong - the plot in the book is much richer and differs in many important respects from the TV version... I look back now at the TV films thinking how can they have missed that character, or merged those characters...
In particular - and this is why I attach my review to 1977 - I cannot understand why they didn't film 1977 [I know it was a cost issue] as without this book all that follows really doesn't make full sense... in this book you get a real sense of the mayhem the Ripper caused the police and you get to meet and really appreciate Jack Whitehead [a minor character in 1974 and 1980] as a true embodiment of flawed tragedy... you also appreciate the persuasive power of the Rev Laws...
1977 spirals into a tragic conclusion which you can see coming in inevitable slow motion and 'after the end' Peace gives a stream of consciousness end to the book which I am sure must be his finest writing and stands well above the normal James Ellroy comparisons...
Thanks to audible for producing a marvellous edition of these books...
"toe curling !!"
David Peace's novel was hard hitting right from the off. His use of colourful language took alittle while to get used to, but the genre giving to Red Riding series on Channel 4 of 'Yorkshire Noir' definately works.
The story line at times is a little hard to follow and I found myself going back and listening over the previous 15 minutes to recap. Originally coming from Leeds I loved the references to landmarks and pubs in the 70's now since gone - very nostalgic. Peace's ability to capture the mood and attitudes in the 70's was brilliant at the same time his brilliance in describing mutilation and abuse was on a par - not for the faint hearted, it really made my toes curl.
I felt that the story took awhile to get going, maybe just for me to get my head around his characters.But overall I really enjoyed listening to the book and look forward to the remaining books in the quartet to be added to the audible catalogue.
"Difficult to enjoy"
I found this book to be very difficult to finish
I found it difficult to separate the different characters
The story line was difficult to follow
I would not recommend this book in audible form
It may be ok as a read
can not understand, where is the story,very upset.but will download next book.must know the ending.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.