Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross. It’s a sardonic, brusque contemporary piece of fiction, which is steeped in the harsh reality of the time period.
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.
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…
The caustic humour of the Scots, in particular of the Glaswegian brand of the people way up north, is a wee bit like a slightly burnt piece of toast with a slathering of marmite and no butter on it. You’ll either hate it or you’ll enjoy it in a way only a marmite lover can. The humorous element is therefore debatable depending on how you like it or comprehend the written accent and in-jokes.
I didn’t feel it had much of a funny pull to it, and it wasn’t really of great importance to the story as far as I was concerned. If I had to describe this story to someone I would do it from an entirely different angle.
Behind the wall of snark and feisty dialogue is an exploration of debauchery, fame, infamy, influence and power. Ross portrays this side of humanity against the stark contrast of the working man’s life and the dire statistics of mental health, and those in regards to the life expectancy of men in certain areas.
This is especially evident in Archie’s life as he struggles to deal with the deterioration of his father’s memory and mental health, whilst fearing loss of employment and simultaneously trying to make money by becoming famous. This is how he becomes involved in the shallow, disgusting world of Heady Heights.
As the criminal actions are rolled out in the background of the story, slowly piece by piece like a jigsaw puzzle. The reader is also introduced to WPC Barbara Sherman, the character who leads us to the more salacious habits of the corrupt so-called elite. She has to deal with the misogynistic nature of the police force and harassment being brushed off like a speck of dust on a shoulder.
It’s a sardonic, brusque contemporary piece of fiction, which is steeped in the harsh reality of the time period. It’s crime fiction hidden in a noirish, brash story of corruption and deviancy.