David Peace

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David Peace at a reading in Oelde-Stromberg in November 2010

David Peace (* 1967 in Ossett , West Yorkshire , England ) is a British author who mainly wrote crime novels.


Peace graduated from Manchester Technical College . After graduating, he first went to Istanbul as an English teacher , then to Tokyo in 1994 , and then returned to England after 12 years , where he has lived with his Japanese wife and two sons ever since.

He became famous and received several awards for the so-called "Red Riding Quartet", consisting of the novels 1974 , 1977 , 1980 and 1983 . The story of police corruption takes place against the background of the real murders of the so-called "Yorkshire Ripper" Peter William Sutcliffe .

Peace's subsequent novels are also based on real events: GB84 is about the British miners' strike of 1984/85 and " The Damned United " is about Brian Clough's 44-day tenure as manager of Leeds United football club . Since 2007 Peace has been writing another series of detective novels set in Tokyo.

Peace named James Ellroy and the socially realistic British tradition of Alan Sillitoe, for example, as literary models .


Peace's best-known work are four books, which are entitled " Red Riding Quartet ".


1974 marks the beginning of the saga, which is based on the actual crime of the Yorkshire ripper Sutcliffe. In his debut work, Peace leads the reader for a period of eleven days into the investigation of court reporter Edward "Eddie" Dunford, who solves a series of murders of children in 1974 when he started work for the Evening Post newspaper in the British county of Yorkshire , in the north of England should. The series of murders began in 1962, 1972 and continues with the finding of Clare Kemplay's body. During his investigative work, Dunford becomes entangled in a world of sex and violence. He comes across the machinations of the construction lion John Dawson, who tries to distract from the murders and to suspect a group of gypsies who are occupying a piece of land he wants to get hold of. Dunford uncovers the connections between the criminal machinations of Dawson and begins a personal campaign of revenge. 1974 takes place in the small town of Morley and the surrounding area of Leeds and is both a thriller and a society portrait of everyday provincial life. The novel earned the author the title of “toughest crime writer of the present”.

“Bombs for Christmas and Lord“ Lucky ”Lucan on the run, Leeds United and the Bay City Rollers, The Exorcist and It ain't helped hot mum. Yorkshire, Christmas 1974. I'm not saying anything. I sold lies as truth and believed truth as lies and everything. I've had women I didn't love and the one I loved I'll never have again. I killed a bad man but let others live. I killed a child. Yorkshire, Christmas 1974. I'm not saying anything. "

First part Yorkshire wants me 1st chapter

"The only thing we get in front of us is the fucking Lord Lucan and some stupid wingless crows," Gilman smiled as it became the best day of our lives: Friday, December 13, 1974. I was hoping for my first front page finally named: Edward Dunford, court reporter for northern England; two damn days late. I looked at my father's watch. Nine o'clock and none of the assholes had been in bed; still stinking of ale, straight from the press club to this hell: conference room, Milgarth Police Station, Leeds. The whole damned pack was waiting for the main attraction, pens drawn and tapes ready to record; hot spotlights and cigarette smoke illuminated the windowless room like a boxing ring in the town hall during a late night fight night: the newspaper smearers let themselves out over the TV showers and radio freaks and pretended to be deaf:

'No shit they know.'
'A pound, if George is there, she's dead.'

Khalid Aziz in the background, no sign of Jack. Somebody nudged me. Gilman again, Gilman from the Manchester Evening News and from before.


“To be honest, it's not a book I'm particularly proud of. I think it's clear to see that I wrote this before I had kids. It's a lonely man's job. [...] There are a number of people who don't like this book and I absolutely understand why. "

- David Peace : Interview with Die Berliner Literaturkritik, March 2006

"Like a hard blow in the pit of the stomach."

- Lars will do it

“This book is not the result of moral considerations but of an obsession. And it is accordingly gripping and repulsive, unbearable and fascinating. "

- Katharina Döbler, April 28, 2005

“'It's a book that you want to tear up and flush down the toilet every now and then', that's how repulsive and desolate is the story of brutal girl killers, nasty entrepreneurs, 'disinhibited philistines' and, last but not least, Eddie Dunford, the reporter who Solves crimes, but sinks himself in the mud of the abyss. But at the same time it is a book full of 'impetuous force that one does not want to put down.' "

- Tobias Gohlis


Peace's second book "1977", the sequel to "1974" takes place three years later in Wakefield , Northern England. "1977" deals with the prostitute murders associated with the so-called "Yorkshire Ripper". The story, which begins shortly before Christmas, similar to "1974", begins with the discovery of a severely damaged corpse of a young prostitute. In a press conference, the police mentioned parallels with similar murders from the past, which followed a very similar pattern. Jack Whitehead, a journalist for the local newspaper Evening Post, is assigned to the case and accompanies Police Sergeant Robert "Bob" Fraser in his search. More prostitute murders occur in Leeds and Bradford . Both Whitehead and Fraser have been traumatized since their youth. Whitehead, since he lost his father at a young age. You have close contacts with the prostitutes in Chapeltown. During their investigations, the two encounter corruption, violence and excesses of all kinds. They find out that the police manipulated and embezzled evidence to cover up the perpetrator. An atmospherically dense and extremely personal narrative structure is ascribed to the novel with the leitmotifs guilt and crime.


Renewed forgiveness
Tuesday, December 24th 1974 :

Down the steps of Strafford, out the door, blue lights in the black sky, sirens in the air. Damn, damn, damn. I run, done for forever - reaching into the box office, reaching into their bloody pockets. Damn, damn, damn. I should have finished what he started; the cops who were still breathing, the barmaid and the old sack. Should have broken up, should have done the whole damn gang. Damn, damn. The last bus west to Manchester and Preston, the last exit, the last dance. Done .

First part
CALLER: So we stop in front of her house and she says it has no gravel. Burned down. So I say, and what the hell are we going to do with the fare? I'm the last white taxi driver anyway; do I look like welfare ?
JOHN SHARK: A species that is dying out .
CALLER: And what is she doing? She spreads her legs, one thigh to the left and the other to the right, and gives me a deep look into her meat pot. And then she says, help yourself. I just couldn't believe it .
JOHN SHARK: Insane. What did you do ?
CALLER: Yes, what do you think? I got my cock out and got her. In the back of my cab. But neat. Her best fuck in a long time, she said .
JOHN SHARK: Women. You can't live with them, but you can't kill them either. Unless around Chapeltown .

The John Shark Show, Radio Leeds, Sunday 29th May 1977


“The detective novels by the English writer David Peace are dark, pessimistic moral images of English society; Stories without a glimmer of hope, without a positive figure, written in a kind of claustrophobic narrative form. Without comment, without explanation or explanation by the author, the reader finds himself in the middle of the action at every moment, in the heart of the darkness. "

- Ursula March

“'1977', the second part of a four-volume series, takes place in England in the late 1970s, in which racist police officers, beat-ups and drug-addicted prostitutes dominate the scene. An admittedly unfair section of society in which the world in which the question of what color the walls of the kitchen should be painted does not matter. [...] Not even the perspective of those whom Peace makes victims in the novel. The profile of the serial killer, whose actions advance the plot of the novel, is particularly brutal and bloodthirsty. He ambushes women, prostitutes, it turns out, and brutally murders them - he cuts off their breasts, jumps around on their rib cage and eviscerates them with a Phillips screwdriver. And that over and over again. But Peace moves this orgy of violence, which demands one victim after the other in the course of the story, remarkably far into the background. The focus is on the two figures in whom these crimes dissolve traumatic reflexes in advance. [...] The real quality that the novel has, however, does not lie in the fact that it continues to tighten the screw of terror, but - and you hear and be amazed - that it tells its story (whatever content it is supposed to convey) with unbelievable sovereignty and speed . And that with all the means that modern stylistics make available to him: inner monologues, rapid, barely comprehensible changes of perspective, quick cuts, ruffles and stretches. "

- Walter Delabar

“'1977' is an exciting piece of literature, told quickly and painfully in sentence fragments and scraps of dialogue. 'He struck' is the penultimate line. And then: 'No future.' David Peace also struck. And his colleague Ian Rankin calls it 'the future of crime fiction.' "

- FOCUS editor Jobst-Ulrich Brand : The shooting star


The third part of the Red Riding series takes place in Leeds in 1980. The action begins on December 11, 1980 with the finding of the murdered nurse Laureen Bell. The number of victims of the Yorkshire Ripper has now increased to thirteen. Detective Peter Hunter is being withdrawn from Manchester by the British Home Office and is supposed to lead the case as a special investigator. His job is to arrest the Yorkshire Ripper and solve the corruption cases with the police. During his investigation, Hunter puts his life in danger.


“Nothing new in Yorkshire. Fast-paced and with great passion, David Peace tells of dark obsessions, supposedly righteous citizens and a deadly game with the truth. "

- Lars will do it

"With the thriller" 1980 "the award-winning British writer David Peace presents the third part of his" Red Riding Quartet ". The focus of this work is the authentic case of the serial killer Peter Sutcliff, who murdered thirteen women in the north of England. Peace researches carefully and does not shrink from bloody details. "

- Not for the faint of heart

“Reading Peace is no walk in the park, no nice evening entertainment, no simple who-was-then-guessing. His books are exhausting, his stories dark and disturbing. The author expects a lot from his readers, tells intensively, directly, almost without any distance from his characters. His subject: the Yorkshire Ripper, England in the late 70s and early 80s, the corruption in the ailing police apparatus and the crossing of borders. To say it right from the start: The third part of David Peace 'Red Riding Quartet is a great detective novel, but tough stuff. "


"1983" is the final part of the crime series. In the year of the same name, the body of a school girl is found. The chief investigator in this murder case is Detective Chief Superintendent Maurice Jobson, who can quickly arrest a prime suspect. This commits suicide in custody. Attorney John Piggott takes on the matter and discovers numerous criminal machinations in the porn business, real estate and child abductions, with which the police are entangled at the highest level. The Red Riding Quartet ends with Piggott's suicide. In addition to the case of Yorkshire ripper Peter Sutcliffe, the crime story is based on that of the murderous lovers Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, who kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered five children between 1969 and 1983.


"Hell revisited. With '1983' David Peace closes the Red Riding Quartet even more apocalyptically than he started it. "

“David Peace can plausibly claim that he has written the blackest, worst, most hopeless, saddest and otherwise not very life-affirming novels in recent years. He's miles away from the usual serial killer convention, close to James Ellroy and some of Don DeLillo's novels - and yet thoroughly British. His characters are police officers, journalists, lawyers, petty thieves and prostitutes. Peace weaves a carpet of streams of consciousness, their haunted dialogues, scraps of news, incredible violence against young women. News from a sinking land. The hatred and turmoil of the punk years is in the books. In the end, Maggie Thatcher will be elected Prime Minister. No Future, they say. "

"With" 1983 "the English author David Peace wrote a follow-up thriller to his books '1974', '1977' and '1980'. From the perspectives of a corrupt police officer, a hungry lawyer and a juvenile criminal, the story of a missing girl tells a far-reaching crime. "



  • 1999 Nineteen Seventy-Four (novel)
  • 2000 Nineteen Seventy-Seven (novel)
  • 2001 Nineteen Eighty (novel)
  • 2002 Nineteen Eighty-Three (novel)
  • 2005 GB84 (novel)
  • 2006 The Damned United (novel)
  • 2007 Tokyo Year Zero (novel)
  • 2009 Tokyo Occupied City (novel)
  • 2013 Red or Dead (novel)

Film adaptations

Web links

Notes and individual references

  1. Original edition published in 1999 under the title Nineteen Seventy Four, German edition for the first time in 2005 by Liebeskind. Place & time of action: Great Britain / England / Yorkshire, 1970–1989. Episode 1 of the Red Riding series.
  2. fictitious newspaper publisher
  3. ^ Dradio.de: Yorkshire Ripper and other cruelties. Review by Katharina Döbler, April 28, 2005.
  4. a b c Krimi-Couch.de: David Peace, 1974
  5. Prologue in David Peace: 1974, original title: Nineteen Seventyfour, Heyne Verlag, 2006, ISBN 978-3-453-67508-7 , p. 6.
  6. David Peace: 1974, original title: Nineteen Seventyfour, Heyne Verlag, 2006, ISBN 978-3-453-67508-7 , p. 9.
  7. Dradio.de
  8. Perlentaucher.de - David Peace, 1974
  9. Leeds Red Light District
  10. a b Finstere Sittenbilder, David Peace: "1977" by Ursula March on March 27, 2006.
  11. David Peace: 1977. Original title: Nineteen Seventyseven. Heyne Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-3-453-67509-4 , p. 6.
  12. David Peace: 1977. Original title: Nineteen Seventyseven. Heyne Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-3-453-67509-4 , p. 8.
  13. Literaturkritik.de,: Monstrous passions, David Peace leaves morality behind
  14. Focus Magazin No. 16, 2006.
  15. a b 1980, David Peace (original edition published in 2001 under the title Nineteen Eighty, German edition first published in 2007 by Liebeskind). Place & time of action: Great Britain / England / Yorkshire, 1970–1989. Episode 3 of the Red Riding series on Krimi-Couch.de
  16. Dradio
  17. Lyrikwelt ( Memento of the original dated November 2, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.lyrikwelt.de
  18. Tobias Gohlis
  19. 1983, David Peace original edition published in 2003 under the title Nineteen Eighty Three, German edition for the first time in 2008 by Liebeskind, Place & Time of Action: Great Britain / England / Yorkshire, 1970–1989. Episode 4 of the Red Riding series Crime Couch
  20. Tobias Gohlis: David Peace: 1983
  21. David Peace and the Hell of Yorkshire , Holger Kreitling in Die WELT, March 7, 2008.
  22. ^ Bad Weather and Bad People , DeRadio, February 18, 2008.