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Friday, March 09, 2018

Nineteen Seventy-Seven (2000) by David Peace



Book Review
Nineteen Seventy-Seven (2000)
 by David Peace

  Nineteen Seventy-Seven is the second of four books in the Red Riding Quartet, about the Yorkshire Ripper murders, written by English author David Peace.  I'm not much for crime procedurals, being a criminal defense attorney.  I'm not one of those defense attorneys that holds law enforcement in contempt, but I've been around long enough to know that the idea of the super-hero police detective catching an active serial killer is a fantasy, and given the fact that this is a set of four books about a single killer, David Peace understands that as well. 

  Since there is no ending in the sense of catching a villain and obtaining an explanation, Nineteen Seventy-Seven is about the personal lives of the investigators, and a journalist covering the murders for the local paper.  The two main players are both engaged in protracted affairs with prostitutes, the victim of the Ripper.  There is nothing simplistic about the way Peace handles these troubled male characters, but at the same time, it certainly can be wearisome to read a work of literary crime fiction with a deeply troubled middle aged, married detective, cheating on his spouse with children at home.  The only other type of major player in detective fiction is the detective with no home life and all, whether through an off-stage death, a crippling character flaw or an inappropriate choice of mate.

  Both the sex and violence in Nineteen Seventy-Seven is explicit but not particularly shocking for anyone who has seen a single serial killer film. 

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