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Nineteen Eighty-Three: The Red Riding Quartet, Book Four (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) Paperback – February 9, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
Book 4 of 4 in the Red Riding Quartet Series

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Editorial Reviews


“A major achievement. . . . Peace’s voice is powerful and unique.  This is compelling stuff.” —The Guardian

“Rarely has the crime novel managed to say something more serious and enduring than in Peace's masterful quartet.” —New Statesman

“Magnificent. . . . Nineteen Eighty-Three is Peace’s best yet.” —Yorkshire Post
“Fiction that comes with a sense of moral gravity. . . . A fierce indictment of the era.” —The Independent

“Peace is a manic James Joyce of the crime novel . . . invoking the horror of grim lives, grim crimes, and grim times.” —Sleazenation
“[Peace] exposes a side of life which most of us would prefer to ignore.” —Daily Mail
“David Peace is the future of crime fiction. . . . A fantastic talent.” —Ian Rankin
“British crime fiction’s most exciting new voice in decades.” —GQ
“[David Peace is] transforming the genre with passion and style.” —George Pelecanos
“Peace has single-handedly established the genre of Yorkshire Noir, and mightily satisfying it is.” —Yorkshire Post
“A compelling and devastating body of work that pushes Peace to the forefront of British writing.” —Time Out (London)
“A writer of immense talent and power. . . . If Northern Noir is the crime fashion of the moment, Peace is its most brilliant designer.” —The Times (London)
“Peace has found his own voice—-full of dazzling, intense poetry and visceral violence.” —Uncut
“A tour de force of crime fiction which confirms David Peace’s reputation as one of the most important names in contemporary crime literature.” —Crime Tim

About the Author

David Peace is the author of The Red Riding Quartet, GB84, The Damned Utd., Tokyo Year Zero, and Occupied City He was chosen as one of Granta’s 2003 Best Young British Novelists, and has received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the German Crime Fiction Award, and the French Grand Prix de Roman Noir for Best Foreign Novel. He lives in Yorkshire.

Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard; 1 edition (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307455130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307455130
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #486,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Peace is the author of the Red Riding Quartet, GB84, The Damned Utd, Tokyo Year Zero, and Occupied City. He was chosen as one of Granta's Best Young British Novelists of 2003, and has received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the German Crime Fiction Award, and France's Grand Prix du Roman Noir for Best Foreign Novel. In 2007, he was named as GQ (UK) Writer of the Year. He lived in Tokyo for fifteen years before returning to his native Yorkshire.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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.
Since publication in the UK Peace has been listed as one of the Best Young British NOvelists in Granta magazine. He is the only genre writer listed.
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Format: Paperback
In this last book of the "Red Riding Quartet", we come back to three protagonist from the other three books. Maurice 'The Owl' Jobson is followed through his twenty five year corrupt career. Barry 'BJ' the rent boy of 1973 is a strange catalyst for the story who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jim Piggott is a solicitor whose usual clients are pimps and whores but is out to prove that Michael Myshkin did not murder the young girls and sew on swan wings.

The chapters swing between the previous three book years and 1969 and 1972. We learn of the brutality that Myshkin (his mate Jim Ashworth), BJ and Piggott suffered as children. We also learn about the 'taking of the North' by the new 'Yorkshire Constabulary'. When Leeds is merged into the regional police force, the Chief Constable decides that it's time to take over the porn trade and use it to make all 'us coppers' rich. What it does is to corrupt the police force beyond recognition even to those inside of it.

All three major characters have their own quirks so that the writing seems at times to be by different authors. BJ always speaks of himself as BJ (as in BJ in car, BJ running away), in a childlike manner. Both Piggott and Jobson tend to begin their chapters speaking in the first person and it's not always clear who is speaking until after a couple of pages. The book is written in a staccato method and sometimes in 'train of thought' or intertwined with lyrics or poems making it absorbing and confusing at the same time.

Rapped around all this is the "Yorkshire Ripper" and the stories of three ten year old girls who were kidnapped and later found dead with the wings of swans sewn onto their backs.
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I don't need an author to supply an "Agatha Christie' solution to a mystery (or say it was 'Miss Peacock in the library with the candlestick!). But when one invests the time and energy to read a 1417 page series of four novels and STILL only has a very vague idea of what the heck happened, something is missing in the author's arsenol. The stylistic 'tics' are also somewhat annoying (the endless repetitions slow things down enormously, and are not as poetic or evocative as Peace intends). That said, the books DO keep one's interest, and individual scenes are electrifying ... I just wish the books hadn't left me totally confused and in the dark as to who did what to whom ... also it doesn't help when there are literally THREE characters named Clare, three named Bob, and three named Peter...which is incredibly confusing and shows not only a lack of imagination, but a somewhat sadistic attitude towards one's readers...
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My favorite book of the series. It not only gives an ending to the story, but explains the history of the corruption of the Yorkshire Police Department.

This book is told through the POV of three different characters. Maurice 'the Owl' Jobson, one of the heads of the corruption. You see his conscious eat away at him in the present as well as how he got pulled into the cover-ups and money making at the very beginning. Solicitor John Piggot, who is handling the appeal of the person arrested for the child murders in 1974. When a new girl is abducted the person arrested in 1974 wants to prove his innocence. John learns some interesting things about his past through his investigation. The final narrator is Barry 'BJ' Anderson, rentboy, and the key that ties all the stories together.

Every character goes through their own personal Hells, and no one leaves the series unscathed.

I don't normally read 4 books in a row by the same author, but Peace has written a very good series, and I'm sad that there aren't any more to read. I will definitely be picking up Peace's other books.

A word about the BBC adaptations of the books. They are extremely different. I only saw the 1974 movie, but it was vastly different from the book. I read spoilers on the other two films on Wikipedia, and they are very different from the books. I want to see the films, but I highly doubt they will as good as the books.
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