The fact is he is a really great writer.
I’ve just put down 1977, the second in the Red Riding Quadrilogy which is centred on a fictional backdrop of The Yorkshire Ripper killings in and around 1977 (but to be continued in the next in the series; 1980).
Although The Ripper enquiry is essentially the main plot device it’s really about police corruption which provides the main narrative flow. It’s about guilt. It’s about god. Does he exist? Can he forgive us our tresspasses (if we do not forgive others). Reeking with religious symbolism it is a horrific read with murder, rape and brutality leaping out of almost every page.
But it is mesmeric in its structure and his quite unique use of language.
This is way beyond the ambitions of most crime novels.
This is art.