Monday 16 March 2015

Review ~ The Last Days of Disco by David F. Ross.

Title: The Last Days of Disco.
Author: David F Ross.
Publisher: Orenda Books.
Ebook Publication Date: December 15, 2014.
Print Publication Date: March 15, 2015.
Source: Review copy.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

Early in the decade that taste forgot, Fat Franny Duncan is on top of the world. He is the undoubted King of the Ayrshire Mobile Disco scene, controlling and ruling the competition with an iron fist. From birthdays to barn dances, Franny is the man to call. He has even played 'My Boy Lollipop' at a funeral and got away with it. But the future is uncertain. A new partnership is coming and is threatening to destroy the big man’s Empire ...

Bobby Cassidy and Joey Miller have been best mates since primary school. Joey is an idealist; Bobby just wants to get laid and avoid following his brother Gary to the Falklands. A partnership in their new mobile disco venture seems like the best way for Bobby to do both at the same time. With compensation from an accident at work, Bobby’s dad Harry invests in the fledgling business. His marriage to Ethel is coming apart at the seams and the disco has given him something to focus on. Tragic news from the other side of the world brings all three strands together in a way that no one could have predicted.

The Last Days of Disco is a eulogy to the beauty and power of the 45rpm vinyl record and the small but significant part it played in a small town Ayrshire community in 1982. Witty, energetic and entirely authentic, it’s also heartbreakingly honest, weaving tragedy together with comedy with uncanny and unsettling elegance. A simply stunning debut.

The Last Days of Disco is a nostalgic, heart-warming tale of music and gritty real-life set in Scotland in the 1980s. This is the author’s debut novel and the writing style is fresh and witty, packed with inviting Scottish charm and a fantastic set of characters. I did at times think I was a bit too young to understand all the references and the odd moment went a bit over my head but that didn’t stop me from really bloody enjoying the book and guiltily or not-so-guiltily singing along to a bit of Shakin’ Stevens whilst reading.

My favourite part of this novel was the chaos brought by Heatwave Disco, Bobby Cassidy and best friend Joey’s mobile disco. Emergency Services should have been part of the disco party they were needed that often and I loved all the drama brought by bitter Fat Franny Duncan and the rivalling mobile disco. I loved the moments when it all went wrong, when sex was more on the agenda than music, when they’re playing the poorest soundtrack possible and when things kicked off, practically every time Bobby and Joey were working. It was messy and chaotic and very, very funny. I liked the friendship between Bobby and Joey, with the often crude language and banter, but actually the entire Cassidy family brought something special to this book.

Bobby’s brother Gary has joined the army and is heading to Falklands, something Bobby himself is keen to avoid. The scenes from the army and the break-up of chapters with quotes from Thatcher proves that The Last Days of Disco is not just good for its humour. There is a more serious outlook in this book at times and Gary’s involvement is very moving, to say the least. A part of this book is told through Gary’s letters and they were written with great warmth and emotion. It’s so easy to see the strong impact war takes on a family through this book and the underlying nerves and tension from the Cassidy family. It makes for touching reading.

The Last Days of Disco has an effervescent soundtrack which I loved. It reminded me of the kind of music my parents brought me up to and taste in music is kind of a personal thing, bringing back memories and putting smiles on faces. Aside from the novel itself, I found the list at the back of the book of songs that brought about the novel to be interesting too and there were a lot of familiar names in there. I found The Last Days of Disco to be a wonderful book. The author David F. Ross excels in his weaving of humour and sadness into a novel which will have you feeling a range of emotions but ultimately marvelling at the signs of a great new author to follow.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK


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