Opening sentence: “The city shimmered in a ridiculous heat.”
Welcome to my stop of the Welcome to the Heady Heights blog tour! First up, the…
It’s the year punk rock was born, Concorde entered commercial service and a tiny Romanian gymnast changed the sport forever… Archie Blunt is a man with big ideas. He just needs a break for them to be realised. In a bizarre brush with the light-entertainment business, Archie unwittingly saves the life of the UK’s top showbiz star, Hank ‘Heady’ Hendricks, and immediately seizes the opportunity to aim for the big time. With dreams of becoming a musical impresario, he creates a new singing group called The High Five with five unruly working-class kids from Glasgow’s East End. The plan? Make it to the final of Heady’s Saturday night talent show, where fame and fortune awaits… But there’s a complication. Archie’s made a fairly major misstep in his pursuit of fame and fortune, and now a trail of irate Glaswegian bookies, corrupt politicians and a determined Scottish WPC are all on his tail…
/ My Thoughts:
Set in 1970’s Glasgow, Welcome to the Heady Heights was a really refreshing read, quite different from anything I’ve read recently. That’s not to say the plot doesn’t take dark turns in places, but it was the balancing of the thriller and dark humour elements that really sold it to me. You really find yourself rooting for lead character Archie and the multiple plotlines were woven together seamlessly.
Ross has a terrific tone, mixing great sentences like this: “All the routes open to a make carried a life expectancy that was almost Dickensian.” – with colloquial conversation that (if, like me, you’re not Scottish) may take a re-read or two, but wholly work to transport you right into the setting of the book: “Ye’ll need tae get a shift oan if yer gaun in. The doors’ll be gettin’ shut.” I love it when the location becomes a key character in the read, as Glasgow does here, you really feel immersed in the story. I’ve read a few other books with a talent show plotline that didn’t really do it for me, but I have to say that in Welcome to the Heady Heights it worked, I think it was the retro feel to proceedings that gave it all a satirical nod. Overall, this is a clever, witty thriller with heart that I highly recommend!
/ Published by Orenda Books 21st March 2019
/ 276 pages
/ Rating: 4/5
About the Author:
David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964 and has lived in Kilmarnock for over thirty years. He is a graduate of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, an architect by day, and a hilarious social media commentator, author and enabler by night. His most prized possession is a signed Joe Strummer LP. Since the publication of his debut novel The Last Days of Disco, he’s become something of a media celebrity in Scotland, with a signed copy of his book going for £500 at auction, and the German edition has not left the bestseller list since it was published.
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