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Nineteen Seventy Four (Red Riding Quartet #1)

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  3,612 Ratings  ·  336 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
Paperback, 295 pages
Published October 1st 2000 by Serpent's Tail (first published 1999)
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The Big Sleep by Raymond ChandlerThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell HammettThe Long Goodbye by Raymond ChandlerFarewell, My Lovely by Raymond ChandlerThe Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Best Hardboiled PI & Noir
218th out of 538 books — 662 voters
Nineteen Seventy Four by David PeaceNineteen Eighty by David PeaceNineteen Seventy Seven by David PeaceOccupied City by David PeaceNineteen Eighty Three by David Peace
The Best of David Peace
1st out of 7 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dan Schwent
Jul 08, 2015 Dan Schwent rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
When a little girl goes missing, crime reporter Eddie Dunford is on the case. Eddie finds a pattern between the girl's disappearance and others. Where will the trail lead and will Eddie have anything left when he gets there?

There's a greasy spoon close to my house that serves something called The Mess, a pile of scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, bacon, sausage, and gravy, a meal that will simultaneously help you achieve Nirvana and hit your life's nadir. That's what this book reminded me of.

Nineteen S
Sep 24, 2010 Greg rated it it was ok

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
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
J. Kent Messum
A bloody brilliant book. David Peace's writing is sharp, sometimes unhinged, and its barreling pace just whips you along. A thriller that tosses murder, corruption, and characters around like a cement mixer. The plot is complex, an ongoing spiderweb of violence, set-ups, double crosses and the like, all stemming from the disappearance of a young girl and one green journalist's mission to uncover the truth. This novel will require your undivided attention as you navigate its uncomfortable murk. S ...more
3 I guess.

Hey, I reviewed this book almost two years ago and just noticed today the review is gone. Maybe I mistakenly deleted the book, could be.

This novel tells a pretty good story, about the abduction of a young girl, possible related abductions of other girls, how the story is handled by a fairly corrupt police establishment, how it’s reported by a local newspaper, and … well, it’s a pretty good “page-turner” … but I don’t know, I just feel not all that enthusiastic about recommending it or
Aug 24, 2015 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Becky by: Anthony Vacca
If ever there was a book to really make you appreciate how versatile the word "fuck" can be, I think this might be it.

I'm not sure if that's a compliment or not. You'd think it would be, from me, considering that it could be considered a 'get rich quick' scheme for someone to put a swear jar in my vicinity. But my goodness, there were a fucking lot of fucks being said in this book, and I think that, in combination with the slang, it tended to muddy the waters a bit and make it harder to follow
Paul Bryant
Jan 02, 2010 Paul Bryant rated it did not like it

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.
Paul Bryant

Oh how the crime thriller is a paradoxical conflation
Of the realistic and the bonkers in one tough narration.
Our author requires us to sit back and gape
At his tale of child torture and of course anal rape.

Like every other crime thriller, this packs in as many exact details as possible and he’s very good on English life in Leeds in December 1974 – it’s gritty, unceasingly unpleasant, and the incessant use of the F word is very authentic in certain areas of English society. But the more the
Dec 07, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it
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 fune ...more
Dec 26, 2014 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night, lit
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
Oct 06, 2015 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Originally posted at

Now, I know that normally I do my book reviews at the midpoint… but having a few reviews under my belt by now, I have come to the realization that that doesn’t always work. Sometimes there is no secret to be uncovered so there is nothing for me to guess at. Other times I am just too enthralled in the story; the thought of stopping and then taking the few days to write a review is just too hard! Sometimes a book is just so messed up that if I stop r
Mark Desrosiers
Jul 04, 2011 Mark Desrosiers rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Sep 03, 2010 Isabelle rated it did not like it
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
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
I'm either stupid or this was poorly written, because I have literally no idea what happened in this book. I don't even know who the main character was, really - at one point he's a writer, and then he's confessing to crimes, knocking down doors, raping people (how does that even play into this, I honestly was just so beyond confused at this point that it didn't even phase me), and I don't even know who ended up being the culprit. The thought process was so twisted and disjointed that I honestly ...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
Richard Wright
May 06, 2009 Richard Wright rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 24, 2009 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Dec 08, 2010 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, kindle
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
Apr 08, 2013 Linda rated it it was ok

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
Oct 23, 2014 Alexandra rated it did not like it
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
Aug 31, 2012 Scott rated it did not like it
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
Mar 17, 2010 Jane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
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
May 22, 2009 Johnny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book, but I feel like I only have bad things to say about it. I know that sounds odd, but it's hard to explain.

I enjoyed reading it, even as it frustrated me. It has a number of major flaws, yet it has a certain resonance. It tries way too hard to be intense and serious, ultimately making it fun and breezy. The characters have little depth, but their actions are intriguing, if sometimes contrived.

For its strengths, it is an impressive first novel.
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.
Chad Post
Jul 05, 2014 Chad Post rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The literary precursor to True Detective, but with a much more satisfying ending. Damn this book is dark. And amazing.
Carole Tyrrell
Jan 22, 2012 Carole Tyrrell rated it liked it
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
Apr 02, 2016 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I'd try another crime novel, one in darkest West Yorkshire this time. It was a hell of a ride. The style was well suited to the pace of the thriller, creating a work that was genuinely a page-turner; I can't remember the last page-turner I read. The dialect was spot-on, and the author recreated a very accurate West Yorkshire. Thankfully, my Yorkshire was a couple of years progressed from 1974 and I can only hope that things really weren't that grim, but then again...the famed phrase ha ...more
Ubik 2.0
Oct 23, 2012 Ubik 2.0 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A centoventi all'ora.

Quando ci ripenso alla fine dopo aver tirato il fiato, mi rendo conto che la cruda trama dei fatti narrati, benchè complicata da riassumere, non è poi così originale: ma il romanzo colpisce, e colpisce duro, perchè qui è lo STILE che fa da padrone, lo caratterizza in modo indelebile e determina un impatto che potrà anche avere alcune ascendenze (Ellroy) ma è assolutamente unico nell'estremizzazione dei suoi componenti.

Un ritmo che corre sempre più accelerato, travolge tutto
Mar 02, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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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Information about purchasing 1 5 Jul 31, 2015 01:19AM  
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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
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)

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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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