Posts Tagged ‘The Red Riding Quartet’

David Peace's Occupied City and the Red Riding Quartet

February 11th, 2010

It’s a great time to be David Peace: his new novel, Occupied City, is garnering rave reviews (The Los Angeles Times declared Peace, “original and ambitious . . . expect to be enthralled and maybe amazed.”) and his Red Riding Quartet has now become a hit film experience, which David Denby in the New Yorker called “mammoth, sensationally violent and beautiful . . . a high degree of art has been applied to the unspeakable.” Peace transforms real-life crimes into addictive fiction, saying, “There’s just so much that happens in real life that we don’t understand, that we can’t fathom, that I don’t really understand the point of making up crimes. . . . The crime genre is the perfect tool to understand why crimes take place, and to tell us about the society we live in and who we are.” With so much good Peace literature going around, we want you to get your hands on all his great reads, from his newest work to his older must-reads.

OCCUPIED CITY: A fierce, exquisitely dark novel that plunges us into post–World War II Occupied Japan in a Rashomon-like retelling of a mass poisoning (based on an actual event). On January 26, 1948, a man claiming to be a public health official has been assigned by Occupation authorities to treat a bank’s employees who might have been exposed to a dysentery outbreak. Yet soon after drinking the medicine he administers, twelve are dead, and four are unconscious . . . Twelve voices tell the story of the murder from different perspectives (including one from the grave), and each voice enlarges and deepens the portrait of a city and a people making their way out of a war-induced hell.
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TOKYO YEAR ZERO: It is August 1946—one year after the Japanese surrender—and women are turning up dead all over Tokyo. Detective Minami of the Metropolitan Police—irreverent, angry, despairing—goes on the hunt for a killer known as the Japanese Bluebeard—a decorated former Imperial soldier who raped and murdered at least ten women amidst the turmoil of post-war Tokyo. As he undertakes the case, Minami is haunted by his own memories of atrocities that he can no longer explain or forgive. Unblinking in its vision of a nation in a chaotic, hellish period in its history, Tokyo Year Zero is a darkly lyrical and stunningly original crime novel.

And, in case you haven’t picked it up just yet, or they’re just at the top of your list of the “best books you’re not reading”, Vintage has THE RED RIDING QUARTET, the story of the Ripper murders (Nineteen Seventy-Four and Nineteen Seventy-Seven combine in the first of the three films, so you should read all four novels to match up with your movie-going . . . )

NINETEEN SEVENTY-FOUR: Book One follows Eddie Dunford, a newly minted crime correspondent for the Yorkshire Post. His first story is about Clare Kemplay, a young girl recently found brutally murdered. While the police department and other crime reporters at the newspaper believe it’s an isolated incident, Eddie finds a pattern between Clare’s disappearance and those of other girls from a few years earlier. Despite his better judgment, and against the advice of others, he starts to dig deep. What he finds is a nightmare of corruption, violence, blackmail, and obsession that ultimately leads to a shocking, explosive conclusion.

NINETEEN SEVENTY-SEVEN: Book Two. It’s summer in Leeds and the city is anxiously awaiting the Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Detective Bob Fraser and Jack Whitehead, a reporter at the Post, however, have other things on their minds-mainly the fact that someone is murdering prostitutes. The killer is quickly dubbed the “Yorkshire Ripper” and each man, on their own, works tirelessly to catch him. But their investigations turn grisly as they each engage in affairs with the prostitutes they are supposedly protecting. As the summer progresses, the killings accelerate and it seems as if Fraser and Whitehead are the only men who suspect or care that there may be more than one killer at large.

NINETEEN EIGHTY: Book Three. While Yorkshire is terrorized by the Ripper, the corrupt police continue to prosper. To give the case some new life, Peter Hunter, a “clean” cop from nearby Manchester, is brought in to offer a fresh perspective. As he goes about setting up a new case under the radar, he suffers the same fate as those who previously attempted to get in the way of the Ripper: his house is burned down, his wife threatened. But he soldiers on. And as he comes face to face with unthinkable evil, Hunter struggles to maintain his reputation, his sanity, and his life.

NINETEEN EIGHTY-THREE: Book Four and the shocking conclusion of the series. With three separate narrators whose paths are on a collision course, Peace makes a dark study of perverted justice, retribution, and urban decay. Maurice Jobson is a Yorkshire cop whose greed and corruption has rotted the police force to the core; BJ is a local street thug who finds he can no longer safely lurk in the shadows; and John Piggott, a lawyer, is as honest and forthright as they come. His investigation of a long-cold murder might just be the cure for Yorkshire’s woes, but he’ll need to get through it alive first.

Pick up David Peace’s great books today!