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Nineteen Seventy Four (Red Riding Quartet #1)

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  2,693 ratings  ·  277 reviews
It's winter, 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 a season in hell. A dead little girl with a swan's wings stitched to her back. A gypsy camp in a ring of fire. Corruption everywhere you look.

In Nineteen Seventy Four, David Peace brings passion and stylistic bravado to this terr
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Paperback, 295 pages
Published October 1st 2000 by Serpent's Tail (first published 1999)
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Greg
1.

As long as nothing really happened this book was pretty readable. It moved along at a quick clip, it had a certain zip to the writing style and it was like a junior league mid-period (LA Quartet) era James Ellroy. Sort of.

Once stuff started happening the book got worse. And as more stuff happened the worse the book got. And then as the book started to resolve and the mysteries began to be solved the book got even worse still. If the book had gone on much longer it may have turned into a mucoi
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Trin
Okay, so. I'm fucking sick of it.

I'm sick of thrillers that burn through female characters like the author is keeping score. None of these women have any agency: they're clearly there to be fucked and beaten and raped and abandoned and called bitches and be mad drooling hags and be violently killed. Oh, except for the one lucky woman who gets to be the hero's mom.

Hero's totally the wrong word, though, of course. Instead of anyone remotely admirable or interesting, we're forced to suffer through
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Paul
VERY GENERAL SPOILER ALERT

I just saw the TV movie dramatisation of this, entitled “Red Riding 1974” and I wanted to make a couple of notes here for myself really, to try and figure out a) why I hated it and b) why everyone else loved it. This is a not unfamiliar feeling for me of course but usually it’ll be some major Hollywood blockbuster (Avatar!) or some chintzy adaptation of Charlotte Bronte that everyone is swooning about while I remain sneering haughtily at the array of lemmings before me.
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Tfitoby
A brilliantly bleak British Christmas noir, told first person from the perspective of an ambitious young crime correspondent as he investigates the seemingly related abduction, rape, torture and murder of young girls in Yorkshire in the early 1970s. Set against police and council corruption and the apparent disintegration of British society, Peace weaves a tale based on actual events and loaded with historical references.

Other than his willingness ta take the reader in to the darkest reaches of
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Mark Desrosiers
OK, sure here's December 1974, John Lennon just released his shittiest post-lost-weekend album, and David Peace has the gall to create a journalist-detective who's tougher than Jesus? Seriously, our narrator here -- a junior reporter who just lost his dad (zzzzzzzz) -- bumbles through this complex and dangerous murder investigation (dead raped girl with live swan's wings stitched to her back) while constantly drunk, hungover, popping pills, pulped, bloodied, tortured: a Caviezel-cavalcade of mar ...more
Lisa
Well...that was bloody grim.

Eddie Dunford is the crime reporter for the Yorkshire Evening Post when a little girl is found brutally murdered with swan's wings stitched into her back, and his colleague, chasing a story on corruption involving prominent local businessmen and public figures, winds up dead.

Chasing the link between the two, Dunford is soon drawn ever deeper into a brutal and corrupt work of casual racism and violence, in which children wind up dead and their murderers protected, a br
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Isabelle
I actually read all four books in the series, thinking that at one point, I would change my mind and join David Peace's ever-growing fan club.
No such luck for me!!
The premise of the books is certainly very clever and promising: coming back to the same place and the same group of characters, every few years, to try and unravel murders that are obviously so interconnected that they seem to be the work of serial killer(s).
I also thought it was a good idea to change narrator with each book and pa
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Erik Simon
While recently visiting some friends in the offices of Vintage, I mentioned my new love for Ellroy, and they all said, "You need to read David Peace." So I read David Peace, at least this first. It's a very good mystery very well written though quite gruesome, so not for the squeamish. I like that the narrator is not a particularly likable chap. It's no Ellroy, but then Ellroy's first book wasn't Ellroy either, at least not the transcendent Ellroy some of us have come to worship. I will gladly a ...more
Linda

Normally, I don’t read crime fiction very often - which might make me inappropriate to review this kind of books. Naturally, there are some good ones, but it is difficult to distinguish them among the less complicated and very sick and twisted books. But, as this is about a journalist and sounded interesting, I decided to give it a try. I regret that. Now, it will take a long time before considering this genre again.

So, what is so disturbing about it? Well, let us have som examples.
Everyone in t
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Scott
Local newspaper reporter Eddie bites off more than he can chew when he investigates the death of a murdered child. Cue 300 pages of hangings, beatings, scalpings, chokings, bummings, roses stuffed where they should not go and copious amounts of 70s pop culture references so you can go "ooh, remember that?" while trying to comprehend the grimmest, unlikeliest and most incomprehensible plot ever written.

Who DID kill almost every character in the fucking book? Who fucking cares? Nobody except mayb
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Jane
argh! everyone in this novel is awful, everything that happens is awful. there is no way to like anyone or to make any sense of what happens (not a failing of the author - nothing that happens makes any sense, cause that's what life is like). there's none of the satisfaction you get from solving a crime in a more standard crime novel cause really, when you get down to it, everyone is a criminal more or less. if you like grittiness and violence and don't mind if the hero occasionally rapes and be ...more
Ben Loory
this world is hell and we're all gonna die, but there's a slight possibility you might be able to do something good before the end, not that it would matter in any way, shape, or form, to anybody, because we're all demons.

it's not a bad book; peace writes good sentences, but i couldn't tell any of the characters apart and got tired of everybody farting all the time and getting pissed and shat on every ten seconds. no one in this world can ever enjoy anything; if someone by some miracle happened
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Bill
Feb 24, 2009 Bill rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
This is the second of David Peace's books I have read (the first being The Damned United)the first was good, but for me 1974 is streets ahead. A real stormer of a book. I started it Saturday morning and finished it Sunday night. I am so looking forward to reading the next three in the series.
It has some fantastic prose and brilliant narrative flow. The research seems impeccable. A supreme crime novel and set not just in England but also in an area close to where I now live.
For me you would prob
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John Guild
1974 is bleak and violent to the point of absurdity. Peace is definitely a talented writer, and the style he uses here is very effective. Unfortunately, as the narrative progresses, things quickly become ridiculous. The violence and general depravity starts to feel silly. The novel feels more like a farce than anything else. It's as much of a crime novel as Titus Andronicus is a tragedy.
Alexandra
Well, thank heavens that was a quick read. I'm generally a fan of the gritty urban mysteries, and with its tough first-person narrative voice, this seemed like it would be a fun little trip into the Troubled Unlikely Detective genre. Also, the premise sounded deliciously gruesome--missing girl found with swan wings stitched to her back. Titillating! I couldn't wait to see how this played out.

Once we actually got into the nitty-gritty of the book, however, everything just spiraled further and fu
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Carole Tyrrell
This is the first in the celebrated Red Riding Quartet by David Peace and it was a real jolt out of my comfort zone after reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. But that’s a good thing as crime fiction is a broad church and it always does you good to read something completely different from to time.
Peace’s prose hits you right between the eyes and doesn’t let go, 1974 grabs you by the throat, pushes you up against a wall and yells right in your face ‘I’ve got something to tell you pal
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Michael
I recently watched the stunning 3-part movie series "Red Riding" twice because it was so powerful and complex. I found things I had completely missed in the first viewing. It was based on David Peace's book series so I picked them up to see if there was more to be had. Sure enough, the book enhanced the movie's understanding even further.
1974 is the basis for the first part of the Red Riding movie trilogy set in the north of england around the Leeds/Bradford area. It is a brutal and grisly story
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Nick Sweeney
The first book in David Peace's series set in the north. I liked it in general, though after a while felt a bit disconnected from the text, as it's rare for any paragraph to be much longer than 3 or 4 lines. A young newspaper reporter finds himself doing the police's work for them as he investigates a number of crimes that all seem to be pointing back to the same people; he finds to his cost that there is a very good reason why the police aren't doing the investigating themselves. The style is d ...more
Jessica
I'll review the entire Red Riding Quartet, since the books really compose one large narrative.

David Peace takes us into one of the bleakest worlds I've encountered even in the most hard-boiled detective literature -- northern England from 1974-1983 (with some flashes back into an equally dismal late 60s) in which a child abductor and killer is running rampant, the Yorkshire Ripper is terrorizing the region, and the police force is hopelessly corrupt and in bed with some very bad businessmen. Squ
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Richard Wright
There is no comfort at all to be had in this book. It's bleak to the point of despair, from the first page to the last, swallows you into itself whole, and tries to drown you in misery and corruption. Even the expected hero of the piece, journalist Eddie Dunford, is despicable and deserves at least some of what he ultimately endures as his exploitative investigation into a child serial killer spirals out of his control, and collides with a conspiracy of violent, powerful men. The pace is manic, ...more
Jpaflas
David Peace is one of my new favorite writers. I was introduced to him through my brother's rec of Damned United (a great and true football,real football as in soccer story)which is one of my all time faves. 1974 is a mystery thriller type thing set in the North/Midlands area of England in said year. A dark and brooding time, but one I dig. DP can write the hell out of some prose and tells a great story to. He's a fave of James Ellroy. But a caveat my friends, this is one dark and twisted tale a ...more
Ubiqua
Mediamente truce (Ellroy è molto più cattivo), 1974 è un hard boiled “marlowiano” dove l’investigatore (in questo caso un giornalista) si degrada fisicamente e moralmente dal principio della storia, fino a precipitare in caduta libera verso gli schianti conclusivi. Il protagonista deve diventare “duro” per affrontare il proprio destino; ma per quanto la sua pelle s’inspessisca, continuerà ad essere suonato come un tamburo da una miriade di poliziotti veramente perfidi e assetati di sangue. Il po ...more
Lizixer
Make no mistake, with its graphic violence and sex and the sheer 'bloodiness' of the plot, this isn't a light read. It's exhausting and disturbing. Yet with our hindsight of the 70s, the terribleness of events in the book ring true; echoes of real miscarriages of justice, the brutality and corruption of police forces, the macho racist culture of that time, the exploitation and brutalisation of children.

Still, this book adheres to rules of noir that Chandler would recognise-the flawed, driven pr
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David Mcangus
The problem I had with this book wasn't the constant swearing, the violence or the disreputable characters. It was the total lack of depth. Consequently, the insatiable swearing and general darkness comes off as hollow and lazy. Even though the reader is given access to a first person narrator, the walls to his psyche never go down, thus this defeats the device's purpose.

Due to the overall lack of depth in characterisation and resorting to play-by-play commentary from the narrator, I didn't giv
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Andrew Cumming
After reading and loving The Damned Utd. I wanted to try another David Peace novel. So, I went back to the beginning and boy, was I glad I did. Nineteen Seventy-Four was a blast. A tight, English, murder mystery with plenty of scumbags making the story a mess for our intrepid reporter Edward Dunford. Peace owes a lot to Elmore Leonard in his use of dialogue with almost no description at all. Because of that, the story flew along. It also helped that you cared about the main character and were as ...more
Neil Powell
A terrific novel. It moves along at a fantastic pace, with some super characters and wonderful imagery. The plot is convoluted and a little confusing, but I understand that all the answers come in the 3 follow up books. It is very depressing and graphically violent in places, makes me glad I wasn't living in 70's Yorkshire. Can't wait to start the next part of the quartet, and watch the TV adaptation
F.R.
A brutal read, although one that is worthwhile getting through.
Clearly influenced by the James Ellroy LA crime novels, the book does capture 1970s Yorkshire well, along with the desperation of its lead character. That desperation is at points off putting, but I do look forward to seeing some of the themes amplified in the follow up 1977.
Chad Post
The literary precursor to True Detective, but with a much more satisfying ending. Damn this book is dark. And amazing.
Katie
I didn't hate this, but I have no desire to read the other three books in the series. I had a hard time with his writing style, very spastic and frenetic. None of the characters are likable, so it was difficult to root for the so-called hero. It was a super quick read, just not that enjoyable.
Katy
Jan 10, 2015 Katy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2015
This had SO much promise: a fantastically lurid, gothic premise set against the backdrop of a post-Three-Day-Week, mid-Bowie, pre-Christmas Leeds. The first chapters were great, but as the action kicked in it all became very messy. Redundant conversations dragged out over pages while physical altercations were described with cartoonish zeal. Strangers declared love within 24 hours of meeting and professional crime-chasers threw up on themselves with alarming regularity. By the end I struggled to ...more
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161893
David Peace was born in 1967 and grew up in Ossett, near Wakefield. He left Manchester Polytechnic in 1991, and went to Istanbul to teach English. In 1994 he took up a teaching post in Tokyo and now lives there with his family.

His formative years were shadowed by the activities of the Yorkshire Ripper, and this had a profound influence on him which led to a strong interest in crime. His quartet of
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More about David Peace...

Other Books in the Series

Red Riding Quartet (4 books)
  • Nineteen Seventy Seven (Red Riding, #2)
  • Nineteen Eighty (Red Riding, #3)
  • Nineteen Eighty Three (Red Riding, #4)
The Damned Utd Nineteen Seventy Seven (Red Riding, #2) Nineteen Eighty (Red Riding, #3) Tokyo Year Zero (Tokyo Trilogy, #1) Nineteen Eighty Three (Red Riding, #4)

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“My father used to say, 'If you want to know the artist, look at the art'.
He was usually talking about Stanley Matthews or Don Bradman when he said it.”
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