Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Nineteen Seventy Four (Red Riding, #1)” as Want to Read:
Nineteen Seventy Four (Red Riding, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Nineteen Seventy Four

(Red Riding Quartet #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  4,427 ratings  ·  414 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Nineteen Seventy Four, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Nineteen Seventy Four

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,427 ratings  ·  414 reviews

Sort order
Dan Schwent
Apr 03, 2015 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
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
Sep 22, 2010 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
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.

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 rating it highly. In fact I really don’t know what to say about what I liked in this book, other than the fact that I did read it over
Jan 22, 2015 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
Oct 22, 2009 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.

”In attesa del mio primo articolo di Prima Pagina, con la firma e tutto, finalmente: Edward Dunford, Corrispondente di Cronaca Nera per l'Inghilterra del Nord; due giorni troppo tardi, cazzo.
Lanciai un'occhiata all'orologio di mio padre.
Erano le nove del mattino e nemmeno uno di noi poveri stronzi era stato a letto; eravamo passati direttamente dal Circolo della Stampa a quell'inferno, con ancora addosso il puzzo di birra.”

Siamo nello Yorkshire ed il dicembre del 1974 (ma va?).
Il cronista Edward
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 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
Roman Clodia
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the first time my prayers were not for me but for everyone else, that all of those things in my notebooks, on all of those tapes, in all of those envelopes and bags in my room, that none of them were true, that the dead were alive and the lost were found, and that all of those lives could be lived anew.

Given that 'dark' and 'bleak' are standard adjectives used about contemporary crime fiction, this book stands out not so much for the depictions of viciousness (though they're there) but for
May 18, 2011 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
Jul 04, 2015 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
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
David Peace’s ‘Red Riding’ quartet of books (‘1974’, ‘1977’, ‘1980’ and ‘1983’ respectively) provides us with an extremely intense, dark, brooding and menacing series of connected stories.

Set against the backdrop of Yorkshire (where Peace grew up) the books have the notorious ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ murders (1975-80) as an underlying, but almost omnipresent theme throughout.

These are hard books about hard people and hard lives with hard themes of murder, corruption, sexual obsession, sadism and then
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vivid, gritty, and just a plain brilliant noir crime thriller. The writing is excellent.

Nineteen Seventy Four takes place in 1974 West Yorkshire, Northern England over the course of the week leading up to Christmas. Young newbie crime journalist, Edward Dunford, has just come off his first case reportage covering the grotesque Ratcatcher, a homicide-suicide involving a middle-aged man and his sister who shared a house together. In the time between the Ratcatcher case concluding and seeing to hi
Mark Desrosiers
Jun 27, 2011 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
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 03, 2009 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
Ubik 2.0
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
Sep 03, 2010 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
Oct 23, 2014 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
Feb 01, 2009 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
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
official rating 4 and a half. This is brilliant brilliant. Only criticism was at the end it got so confusing with so many characters I came away confused, trying to put it all together. But that has only made me go onto book 2 straight away. This guy can write !!!
Dec 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, mysteries
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 02, 2013 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
Sara Mazzoni
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
Aug 31, 2012 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 11, 2010 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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Information about purchasing 1 8 Jul 31, 2015 01:19AM  
  • He Died With His Eyes Open
  • Dirty Tricks
  • Hard Revolution
  • The Long Firm (The Long Firm Trilogy #1)
  • The Nervous System (Dewey Decimal #2)
  • The Madman of Bergerac (Maigret, #16)
  • The Four Just Men  (The Four Just Men #1)
  • The Beast Must Die (Nigel Strangeways, #4)
  • Blood's a Rover (Underworld USA, #3)
  • Flesh Wounds (Inspector Troy, #5)
  • The Killing of Emma Gross
  • Lightwood (Judah Cannon, #1)
  • The Great Impersonation
  • Poetic Justice (A Kate Fansler Mystery #3)
  • Ask The Parrot (Parker, #23)
  • Epitaph for a Spy
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

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)
“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.”
“I sat down on the arm of my father's empty chair, thinking of sea-view flats in Brighton, of southern girls called Anna or Sophie, and of a misplaced sense of filial duty now half redundant.” 0 likes
More quotes…