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About the Author: David Peace

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 Red Riding books grew from this obsession with the dark side of Yorkshire. These are powerful novels of crime and police corruption, using the Yorkshire Ripper as their basis and inspiration. They are entitled Nineteen Seventy-Four, (1999), Nineteen Seventy-Seven (2000), Nineteen Eighty (2001), and Nineteen Eighty-Three (2002), and have been translated into French, Italian, German and Japanese.

In 2003 David Peace was named by Granta magazine as one of twenty "Best Young British Novelists." His novel GB84, set during the 1984 miners' strike, was published in 2005.


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Goodreads rating: 3.60

Paperback, Published in Sep 2008 by Serpent's Tail

ISBN10: 1846687055 | ISBN13: 9781846687051

Page count: 295

From the very first page of David Peace's first novel, 1974, it soon becomes clear that something is rotten in the state of Yorkshire: a young girl is missing.

The Yorkshire Post's young but disillusioned crime correspondent, Edward Dunford, is assigned to the story, while juggling the recent death of his father and the return to his native Yorkshire after a brief, unsuccessful stint in Fleet Street. For the jaded Dunford, it's just another story; the only intrigue is whether or not the girl will be found dead or alive before Christmas. That is, until the girl is discovered brutally murdered, face down in a ditch with a pair of swan's wings sewn into her back.

As Dunford follows the case, he begins to make a series of terrifying connections with a string of child murders, plunging him into a gut-wrenching nightmare of corruption, violence, sadism, blackmail and sexual obsession--from the upper echelons of local government to the tacky heart of Yorkshire darkness.

As Peace's tale of corruption and conspiracy unravels, it becomes clear that 1974 is as influenced by Orwell's own bleak vision of Britain in 1984 as it is by the wonderfully evoked atmosphere of the mid- 70s. The Bay City Rollers, Leeds United, It Ain't Half Hot Mum and Vauxhall Viva's all make an appearance. The novel works at several levels, from the brilliantly unsentimental homecoming of the gifted, alienated northern son, to a terrifyingly accurate portrayal of an insular, tribal community. The plot is complex and frenetic and Peace often leaves strands untied, especially as he builds to an extremely powerful climax. Yet the dialogue is fast, witty and violent; a must read for fans of Yorkshire Gothic. -- Jerry Brotton

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