Nineteen Seventy-seven

Nineteen Seventy-seven
David Peace

The second part of the Red Riding Quartet was the only one to be dropped from the film version (which was thus the Red Riding Trilogy), for what I think are obvious reasons. It is, for starters, easily the most muddled of the four. Peace’s interiorized version of Ellroy’s late style is often amplified by being broadcast from inside troubled minds, and here he gives a good example of just how confusing the results can be. The real Yorkshire Ripper murders, with names and details slightly changed, provide the backdrop, with two secondary characters from the first novel stepping forward and suffering spectacular mental breakdowns. Sex and violence are the drugs that keep it all going, but they can’t hold it together. One can see, however, the larger structure of the quartet starting to take shape.