Monday, March 30, 2009

Nineteen Eighty, by David Peace

(hb; 2001: Book Three of the Yorkshire Quartet, aka the Riding Red Quartet)

From the inside flap:

"People are frightened. People are angry. Yorkshire police havent' laid a glove on him. Someone's got to take the blame. And someone's got to police the police.

"Step forward Peter Hunter. The honest copper. Hunter digs deep into West Yorkshire police. Hunter finds corruption, murder and cover-up. Hunter digs too deep. West Yorkshire police look after their own. . ."

Review:

Possible spoilers in this review.

Hunter, mentioned by never shown in Nineteen Seventy-Seven, is the main character here. Fresh twists and Hunter's clean-cut character set this apart, tone-wise, from the first two Yorkshire Quartet novels. The bloody end, keeping with otherwise grim, series-true form, doesn't come off as powerfully as those in the first two books, but it's not a complete 'what the f**k' moment, either.

Throughout this puzzle-like series, Peace uses his characters well: e.g., Reverend Martin Laws, who's barely mentioned in Nineteen Seventy-Four, becomes a prime mover in Nineteen Seventy-Seven. In this third book, Nineteen Eighty, Laws is pivotal again, in a seen-from-a-different-viewpoint way. And so it goes with the rest of the many characters in the Yorkshire Quartet, whether they be major or minor (which depends on which book you're reading).

Therein lies much of the power of this series. The characters, often recurring, are never entirely good or bad, though most are corrupted one way or another, whether it be through love, power, sex or money -- or a combination of the four motivations. That, and the way Peace keeps shuffling facts/puzzle pieces around, revealing more (often disturbing) character links as the books progress, make this, easily one of the more note-worthy crime series I've read. The characters and plotlines are so multi-layered that it becomes almost impossible to keep straight 'who's doing what to whom and why,' without writing down characters' names, their links to each other, and plot points.

Excellent, genre-shaking series, this. Check it out.

Followed by Nineteen Eighty-Three.

The novel Nineteen Eighty has also been filmed, under the title Red Riding: 1980. It's scheduled for stateside release in 2009. Tony Grisoni scripted. James Marsh directed the second part of the Grisoni-scripted Red Riding trilogy.

Warren Clarke played Bill Molloy. Paddy Considine played Peter Hunter. James Fox played Philip Evans. Ron Cook played Clement Smith. Maxine Peake played Helen Marshall. David Morrissey played Maurice Jobson. Eddie Marsan once again played Jack Whitehead. Sean Harris played Bob Craven. Shaun Dooley played Dick Alderman. Lesley Sharp played Joan Hunter. Peter Mullan played Martin Laws. Robert Sheehan once again played BJ. Kelly Freemantle once again played Clare Strachan. Joseph Mawle played The Ripper. Andrew Garfield once again played Eddie Dunford.

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