David Peace


The second book in the Red Riding Quartet series, 2001

This book is dedicated to the victims of the crimes attributed to the Yorkshire Ripper, and their families.

This book is also dedicated to the men and women who tried to stop those crimes.

However, this book remains a work of fiction.

When a righteous man

turneth away from his righteousness,

and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them;

for his iniquity that he hath done

shall he die.

Again, when the wicked man

turneth away from his wickedness

that he hath committed, and doeth that

which is lawful and right,

he shall save his soul alive.

Ezekiel 18, 26-27

Beg Again

Tuesday 24 December 1974:

Down the Strafford stairs and out the door, blue lights on the black sky, sirens on the wind.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

Running, fucked forever – the takings of the till, the pickings of their bloody pockets.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Should have finished what he started; the coppers still breathing, the barmaid and the old cunt. Should have done it right, should have done the bloody lot.

Fuck, fuck.

The last coach west to Manchester and Preston, last exit, last chance to dance.


Part 1. Bodies

The John Shark Show

Radio Leeds

Sunday 29th May 1977

Chapter 1


Sunday 29 May 1977.

It’s happening again:

When the two sevens clash

Burning unmarked rubber through another hot dawn to another ancient park with her secret dead, from Potter’s Field to Soldier’s Field, parks giving up their ghosts, it’s happening all over again.

Sunday morning, windows open, and it’s going to be another scorcher, red postbox sweating, dogs barking at a rising sun.

Radio on: alive with death.

Stereo: car and walkie-talkie both:

Proceeding to Soldier’s Field.

Noble’s voice from another car.

Ellis turns to me, a look like we should be going faster.

‘She’s dead,’ I say, but knowing what he should be thinking:

Sunday morning – giving HIM a day’s start, a day on us, another life on us. Nothing but the bloody Jubilee in every paper till tomorrow morning, no-one remembering another Saturday night in Chapeltown.

Chapeltown – my town for two years; leafy streets filled with grand old houses carved into shabby little flats filled full of single women selling sex to fill their bastard kids, their bastard men, and their bastard habits.

Chapeltown – my deal: MURDER SQUAD.

The deals we make, the lies they buy, the secrets we keep, the silence they get.

I switch on the siren, a sledgehammer through all their Sunday mornings, a clarion call for the dead.

And Ellis says, ‘That’ll wake the fucking nig-nogs up.’

But a mile up ahead I know she’ll not flinch upon her damp dew bed.

And Ellis smiles, like this is what it’s all about; like this was what he’d signed up for all along.

But he doesn’t know what’s lying on the grass at Soldier’s Field.

I do.

I know.

I’ve been here before.

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