O! what Man will do fore a Rime!

Self-proclaimed bibliophile, culture nut and nerdfighter. English lit. and linguistics geek. Future career in publishing.

Nineteen Seventy-Seven by David Peace

Nineteen Seventy-Seven (Red Riding, #2) - David Peace

Note: The review below was taken directly from my Goodreads account.



Nineteen Seventy-Seven is about the beginning of the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry and it's told from the perspective of two people involved with the case: Det. Bob Fraser and reporter Jack Whitehead.

Peace continues with the same film noir mood and tone in this book. The writing style is the same as well, in that we still get a load of repetitions for emphasis and mood. Peace is still vague in his descriptions, always asking for you to work hard at solving it first before he reveals it -- and sometimes he doesn't even do that. I appreciate mystery novels that make me work for the ending.

This installment in the series alternates points of view between Jack and Bob every chapter. There's also the usual breakdown of the main characters at the end of the novel, but hasn't gotten boring yet. It's always so interesting the different issues that each character has and the way that they're handling or not handling them. Peace is so good at reminding us that people are people, and that means that they are never fully good or bad; it's always a mix of both, a spectrum that you can always slide on.

One thing that makes this novel different from its predecessor is the introduction of pre-chapter topical events. Before every chapter there is a little excerpt from a (most likely fictionalized) radio show with local Yorkshire and Leeds citizens weighing in on country-wide topics like the Queen's Jubilee and area-centered topics like the Yorkshire Ripper and murders. I really liked reading these, and maybe even a tad more so than the actual chapters themselves.

The ending of Nineteen Seventy-Seven will not be a surprise to anyone who has read Nineteen Seventy-Four, but it's still gut-wrenching because it's a mix of "They don't deserve this," and "Well, that was drastic." However, clearly 1970s Yorkshire was a mixed-up, dark place and maybe the events that I consider drastic were perfectly standard for the time.

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