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Nineteen Seventy-Four: The Red Riding Quartet, Book One (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) Paperback – February 10, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
  • Paperback: 295 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307455084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307455086
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #548,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 also coping with the recent death of his father and his return to his native Yorkshire after a brief and unsuccessful stint in Fleet Street. For the jaded Dunford, it's just another story; the only intrigue is whether the girl will be found dead or alive before Christmas--that is, until she 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 neglects loose ends, 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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The first volume in Peace's Red Riding Quartet, a grim whodunit noir, will remind many of the bleak, violent work of James Ellroy. In 1974, Eddie Dunford has just been named crime correspondent for the Yorkshire Post. His first major assignment coincides with the death of his father, but his professional ambitions trump his family obligations. The case he's covering involves the disappearance of 10-year-old Clare Kemplay. When Dunford's digging unearths some similar unsolved cases, neither his editor nor the police welcome his efforts. After Kemplay's strangled and mutilated corpse turns up, an unknown source supplies Dunford with leads suggesting that some prominent officials and businessmen may be implicated in the crime. The staccato, choppy prose is a perfect mechanism for conveying Dunford's frenetic approach to his life and work. Peace (Tokyo Year Zero) doesn't pull any punches, and his uncompromising portrayal of his dark and conflicted protagonist will appeal to those who like their mean streets to be really mean.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

The story does not so much advance as add additional unsatisfied lines of inquiry.
S. H. Reynolds
I think it is a very good book, and since it's the first of four I have some good reading ahead of me.
Howard S. Stein
For my tastes this novel overuses foul language and ultimately is too rough for my taste.
Austin P. Young III

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By "scottish_lawyer" on August 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
It is the fate of any new crime/thriller writer publishing "noir-ish" fiction to be beset by comparisons to James Ellroy. For the great unwashed that market modern fiction the ability to pigeonhole somebody by reference to a known quantity is too tempting to resist. Thus, Ian Rankin is Scotland's James Ellroy. And, for David Peace, those marketing him make reference to his Ellroy type qualities. Thus, "the Yorkshire Ellroy".
Well, to rid ourselves of the similarities. Peace, like Ellroy, writes fiction that does not baulk form dealing with the dark side of huamnity. His writing has a direct quality, that deals with brutal themes. The fiction, like Ellroy, is set in a real place (and - in his later work - draws on real events).
But, enough of the comparisons. Ellroy is a consummate stylist, his work finely honed over many years. This is Peace's first novel. We must not expect the same level as Ellroy.
However, this is very promising. It is a first person narrative, from Eddie, a journalist, whose father has recently died, and who gets caught up in a series of vicious child murders (some of the most disturbing imagery I have read is in the graphic descriptions of the crime scenes and forensic reports), local government corruption, blackmail, and corrupt racist police officers. On top of this Eddie has work problems, playing second fiddle to Jack Whitehead, the crime reporter of the year, and working with an editor, Hadden, that bows to Jack's greater ability.
This is a brutish view of the mid seventies, an unflinching look at a community that produced one of the UK's most notorious serial killers.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book rips along at ninety miles an hour, from the first to the very last page. Not for the faint of heart or poorly-read, this is both a hardboiled and an erudite read, James Ellroy versus George Orwell. Peace has been singled out by the New York Times and George Pelecanos as one to watch and with good reason; this is a haunting tale of a journalist's quest to find the truth about three missing schoolgirls, written in original white-hot prose that careers between brutal and beautiful poetry, vividly recreating a bleak Britain during the strife torn Seventies. Word from the UK is that the sequel is even better. Hard to believe -buy this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By alexis R. on March 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
...1974, Yorkshire, and Ed Dunford's got the job he wanted. Crime correspondent for the Evening Post. He didn't know it was going to be the season of hell.... When I first read this I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but the little blurbs on the back and the poem inside intrigued me, making me want to read this as soon as possible. I'm not the type of teenager who would normally pick this genre, but I'm glad I did. 1974, pulls you in by the first 10 pages, a little slow at the beginning but, well worth it. David Peace, I think captured the feeling and emotions perfectly. He has great, needed detail and description. "The whole bloody pack waiting for the main attraction, pens poised and tapes paused; hot TV lights and cigarette smoke lighting up the windowless room like a Town hall boxing ring on a Late Night Fight Night....". This is the first British book that I've read and I plan to read more, the British dialogue, was one of the really strong, emotional parts of the book, with out it the book, wouldn't be as good as it is. .1974 is the a brillant book, I know that it's word that is used a lot to describe more things that needed, But this book in one thing that truly deserves the title... Read this book, if you want to read a book, that you'll never put down, till it's over.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jason Bean on February 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'll admit I'm still conflicted about how I feel about this book. On one hand David Peace is an excellent writer who has a command of the english language rarely seen in crime fiction and this debut novel is no exception. On the other hand the story is so brutal and violent it was hard to derive any pleasure from reading it.

Nineteen Seventy Four is set...well in 1974 Yorkshire. It follows crime journalist Eddie Dunford as he investigates brutal child murders amist a very corrupt small town culture. While all the characters in the novel are well drawn out, the atmosphere Peace evokes is so alive (and claustrophobic) that Yorkshire itself becomes a character. You become just as much a witness to the horrors in this novel as Eddie does and suffer through his investigation (and resulting torture at the hands of the local police).

As well as this novel was written what kept putting me off at points was the uber descriptions of violence, in particular the aftermath of the child-mutiliation killings. It just struck me as a bit extreme. Yes I realise it's supposed to be realistic and nothing that happens in this book is pleasant but considering how authentic the rest of the book felt the murder descriptions seemed to be so needlessly over-the-top it was almost hard to take seriously. It might have been different if the murders had really happened. Nineteen Seventy-Four is the first book in a quartet of novels that span almost ten years and while the later books center around the real Yorkshire Ripper serial killings, the murders in this novel are fictional.

Another thing I felt lacking in this novel was a sense of humor.
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