Peace, David - '1974'
This is the first in David Peace's highly acclaimed Red Riding Quartet and it's an absolute belter. By no means an easy read though and definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Edward Dunford is a young, much disillusioned hack with a local Yorkshire newspaper. He's convinced there's a connection between the disappearances of several young girls in the area, but once he starts digging he uncovers a whole heap of corruption and violence. He doesn't know whom he can trust, the corruption seems to involve everyone from local businessmen and politicians to the police. Dunford's life is spinning dangerously out of control as he struggles to find out who's telling the truth, who is lying, and whom they are trying to protect with those lies.
The language is gritty and raw, giving a real 1970s feel to the book. It's very much a snapshot of a time and era which, thankfully, no longer exist but it's extremely well done. Inside Dunford's head is not a comfortable place to be and it's a testament to the strength of the writing that Peace keeps you hooked right to the shocking ending.
It is part of a quartet though and it seems a tad unfair to judge it on its own, so much as I liked this and thought it worked well on its own I shall reserve final judgement until I've read the other three.
Read another review of 1974.
Pat Austin, England