Not planning to give away the ending but it is pretty safe to say that you have to be concentrating right until the last word.
Things never really end the people involved just disappear or die and you are left wondering whether or not the corruption that gripped the police force has ever really left. Those who appeared to have won were plagued by bad dreams and memories and those who lost in a way had an early release from the hell.
The concluding chapters push your ability to remember the names and places from the first three books to the limit but it is worth it and the final pieces of the jigsaw are still slotting together in my mind.
Over the entire series there has been a palpable grimness that is created by the rain, darkness and the bleakness of most of the locations. Even the homes of the wealthy and corrupt are prisons of despair and hotel rooms and bars have all been poisoned by the fear and death from the past.
In the sense of poetically weaving a nightmare landscape where Rippers walks and angels are destroyed Peace brings that off brilliantly.
A review will follow at some point…
No jokes today reading 1983.
As the extent and ambition of the police corruption starts to become clear you not only understand why certain things happened in the past but get a brutal insight into why Peter Hunter was never going to be able to get very far in Yorkshire.
You are still undecided as to wether or not Jobson, the Owl, is fully signed up to the corruption but as a third strand of narrative is added to the mix with BJ giving an insight into why him and Claire Strachan were hunted down its obvious that the Owl was not able to stop events.
Meanwhile Piggot is being sucked into a world of bad memories which become even worse when he understands that hand in glove with the police were some members of the legal profession.
His search for the truth, just like Hunter’s, is starting to push him to the edge of sanity. For readers trying to make the connections the idea that Jack Whitehead might have hooked up again with Eddie Dunford seems to linger with the Viva being sighted near the Redbeck but what are dreams and what is reality?
As things start to unfold the questions that you have been looking for answers to start to get closer. Some of the characters that seemed so important at the start of the four book cycle have almost completely disappeared leaving you to concentrate on a smaller and more important number.
Without slapping you in the face with the facts some of the pennies start to drop about the movers and shakers in the police corruption and how things are connected.
Everything is connected with the same places, people and visions returning time and time again.
One of the immediate challenges for a reader going through books that are set years apart is to find a reference point that makes it clear what has happened in the in between years.
Having gone through 1980 with an alternate character narrative it picks up again this time weaving in the strands of thoughts from John Piggot, a solicitor looking to help with the appeal of the wrongly fitted up child killer from 1974 and Maurice Jobson a senior policeman.
Things start weaving backwards and forwards through time starting to fill in the gaps not just from 1974 but even before that.
The same dreams are there with references to underground kingdoms and wolves but there is from the start a clear indication the story will be told through the latest case of a missing girl.
This is clearly going to be a day one through to 44 but each day uses plenty of historical material to not only sketch out the story of the present but how Clough got to be there.
As Derby become more successful under his management his relationship with Leeds starts to fall apart. The hatred of Don Revie becomes one of the defining relationships of his career and the hatred of Leeds is established early on.
That helps explain just why Clough might not be the right man to take over Leeds but the character of the man is all his own doing and like him or loathe him he does his best to get noticed.
More next week…
I am not going to give away the ending but just when you think progress is being made the case is closed on the Ripper but the old wounds reopen and the search for the truth in a corrupt world of policemen and prostitutes re-emerges to take centre stage.
As well as a poetry with the use of visual and textual repetition there is equally a return to places of the past. Most of the crime scenes seem to have remained largely undisturbed, even six years after some of the events. That provides those places with a haunted quality and a power to retain that sense of death, fear and pain with the ability to influence the present.
It puts the psycho back into psycho geography but does so in a clever way that creeps up on you and is sometimes shocking its in unexpectedness.
Having gone forward and suffered the plague of the Ripper the way is now clear to solve the original crime and work out just where the corruption in the West Yorkshire police started and who will finish it.
Onwards to 1983.
A review will follow…
After the trials and tribulations of 1974 and 1977 you put your faith in the main character of Peter Hunter but he is being dragged down by the corruption and the atmosphere.
Dreams plagued with images of black wings and dead children put a unique Lancastrian spin on a Yorkshire hell. Hunter then falls victim to a classic fit-up job and the tables are turned and it is not some much a battle to fight corruption but a battle to fight and save his career.
he knows some major pieces of the jigsaw he just doesn’t have enough to out them together. As he walks down a path partly trodden by those before him he not only starts to find out the same things but falls victim to the same sense of altered reality and fear that consumed those before him.
Last chunk tomorrow…