David Peace’s 1977: even more dark and brutal than 1974

January 3rd, 2011 Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Crime, Kelly, Mystery

1977From 1975 to 1981, the Yorkshire Ripper preyed upon women, murdering thirteen and injuring seven. While the majority of his victims were prostitutes, some were ‘ordinary’ women with regular jobs and lives. One murder victim was just sixteen years old.

David Peace’s 1977 is a fictionalized account of the hunt for the real life serial killer. The novel follows two characters: a slightly corrupt cop, and a jaded journalist. Both characters are present in the first novel in the Red Riding Quartet, 1974, although this novel brings them into focus.

Jack Whitehead, the journalist, is haunted by crimes he’s covered, and by the actions of his coworker Eddie from the first novel. Detective Sergeant Bob Fraser seemed like he was on the up-and-up in the first novel, so either the corruption of his fellow police officers has rubbed off on him, or he was always morally ambiguous. Both make questionable moral judgments throughout the novel, with surprising consequences.

Like its predecessor, 1977 has unresolved plot threads that will hopefully be tied up in the final two books of Red Riding Quartet.

On a side note, the real life Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, is in Broadmoor psychiatric hospital and has challenged his life sentence in court: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/29/peter-sutcliffe-challenge-high-court

Sutcliffe was caught 30 years ago, and the young journalist who “unmasked” Sutcliffe has written about the experience: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1343210/Jonathan-Margolis-The-night-I-unmasked-Yorkshire-Ripper.html

Reviewed by: Kelly

Book: 1977
Author: David Peace
Read: January, 2011
Source: Public Library

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