Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross #BookReview #BlogTour

Welcome to the Heady Heights …
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 now dreams of hitting the big-time as a Popular Music Impresario. Seizing the initiative, he creates a new singing group with five unruly working-class kids from Glasgow’s East End. Together, they make the finals of a televised Saturday-night talent show, and before they know it, fame and fortune beckon for Archie and The High Five. But there’s a complication; a trail of irate Glaswegian bookies, corrupt politicians and a determined Scottish WPC known as The Tank are all on his tail…

A hilarious and poignant nod to the elusivity of stardom, in an age when making it’ was ‘having it all’, Welcome to the Heady Heights  is also a dark, laugh-out-loud comedy, a heartwarming tribute to a bygone age and a delicious drama about desperate men, connected by secrets and lies, by accidents of time and, most of all, the city they live in.

I'm so thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for Welcome to the Heady Heights today. Huge thanks to David F. Ross, Orenda Books and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for m advance digital copy of the book.

My youngest brother was born in 1976, we moved to a new build council estate and I remember the long, hot summer, the older kids giving us backies on their Choppers (I eventually graduated from my trike to a purple Budgie!) Several men on our road worked in the same factory as my Dad so they laid on a minibus to take them to work and our Capri was just used at weekends or for a week's holiday in Devon during the closedown fortnight in August. We listened to Dad's country and western records or Mum liked the Bee Gees, the Quo and T-Rex, and light entertainment ruled on the TV. I might have grown up a long way from Glasgow but there's so much of Welcome to the Heady Heights that's familiar to me.
This isn't a rose-tinted nostalgic look at the past, however, and David F. Ross pulls no punches in this gritty, searingly honest portrayal of desperation, corruption and fear. Archie Blunt is the everyman hero who is just about hanging on to his natural optimism despite a life marked by a series of losses and failures. He senses a new opportunity when he lands a job as a driver for Hank 'Heady' Hendricks, the presenter of the popular television talent show, 'The Heady Heights'. When Hendricks ends up owing him a favour, he tries to secure an audition on the show as a singer-songwriter but learns that audiences want young, fresh acts so instead hits on a plan to find the next big thing and recruits a group of young lads to form what becomes The High Five.
This is the era, however, of Jimmy Savile, Gary Glitter, Cyril Smith and Max Clifford, and Archie makes a discovery which reveals the depraved sexual appetites of Hendricks and his cohorts, including a powerful Scottish politician. As the book progresses we learn more of the ring of abusers and their long reach into all aspects of society and though with the benefit of our hindsight, it's not a shocking revelation, it is still a bitter reminder of just how powerful these men were and how there was little hope of salvation or justice for their victims. Although they perpetrated the most perverted of crimes on their young victims, they were protected by a corrupt web which connected the entertainment business, the media, the police force and the judiciary. Although Archie is the major character in the novel, the storyline also features the tenacious Gail Porter, a freelance reporter who is tenaciously trying to gather enough evidence to expose the abusers and bring them to justice but in doing so risks mixing with some very dangerous people.
Welcome to the Heady Heights is dark and outrageous storytelling which is an angry commentary on the failings of a society which consigns men in their fifties to the scrap heap; destined almost to a man to an early grave, beaten down by poverty as much of hope as from penury. It rails against the misogyny in the police force - the mistreatment the empathetic Barbara receives from her colleagues is sickening  - but most of its fury is directed at the upper echelons of power who participated in the vilest forms of systemic abuse of minors then conspired to cover up their crimes. It's never a bleak read however, and from the audacious and risky plot to commit blackmail to the perceptive look at manufactured fame, David F. Ross underscores the drama with riotously funny scenes which are a love letter to the wit and pride of Glasgow - Archie's journey to London with The High Five (and the spectacularly terrible Manky Marvin, who surely deserves a book of his own) was a particular highlight for me.
This beautifully crafted novel is storytelling at its absolute finest - honest, impassioned, tense and humorous - with a memorable cast who spring to life from the pages to become more than mere characters; they are people and their lives kept me enraptured for the few hours I spent with them. Welcome to the Heady Heights is an evocative, insightful must-read and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Welcome to the Heady Heights published by Orenda Books; it is available now as an ebook and will be out in paperback on 21st March 2019. Purchasing links can be found here.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

 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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  1. This is fabulous! Thanks so much for supporting the Blog Tour Karen x


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