Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Rapid Reviews : The Yorkshire Quartet by David Peace

Firstly, an explanation. I don't think I'm actually very good at book reviews, but I still want to do them from time to time. So, with that in mind, I'm trying out a new post style that could become a series called Rapid Review; basically it will be a relatively short and punchy review of whatever book I feel like writing about.

To start with the four books that go by the names The Yorkshire Quartet or Red Riding by acclaimed author David Peace; 1974, 1977, 1980 and lastly, 1983

I started reading this series last year and, after a break between 1977 and 1980, I completed the series this week. These books are like downing a bottle of gin before breakfast and then receiving a punch to the gut. Visceral and uncompromising they detail four pivotal years across nine years in the heart of Yorkshire, a Yorkshire rife with crime, corruption, child abductions and murder. Drawing on real life events - some of the books specifically deal with The Yorkshire Ripper inquiry, whilst they also echo the wrongful imprisonment of Stefan Kiszko with his character of Michael Myshkin, a young man with learning difficulties who is subjected to a serious miscarriage of justice - Peace blurs reality to create an almost alternate world across the timeline that nevertheless has the all too cruel, grimy and grubby ring of truth. There are no heroes as such in Peace's world, but plenty of villains, especially those in the Yorkshire constabulary. 

The novels require a good memory and I must admit whilst the break between 1977 and 1980 may have helped restore my positive outlook on the world, it did hinder my ability to follow all the plot points and characters as well as I'd have liked when returning to conclude the series. Highly recommended to anyone with a strong constitution, but be advised to select something light to read immediately afterwards! The series was adapted for TV as Red Riding, but the books are far superior.


  1. I like it when you review books because you've got similar tastes in reading material to John so it gives me ideas for birthday/Christmas presents. ;-)

    I remember watching the adaptation of this when it was on a few years ago. I think I'd like to read these at some point.

    1. Hehe happy to help! Keep an eye out for any 'Rapid Review' titles then...in fact there's another scheduled for later tonight ;)

      The adaptation was good, but the books are really something else...and the TV version missed out one year completely (1977) which was weird as it was really pivotal.