blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Dashboard Elvis is Dead – David F. Ross

Renowned photo-journalist Jude Montgomery arrives in Glasgow in 2014, in the wake of the failed Scottish independence referendum, and it’s clear that she’s searching for someone.

Is it Anna Mason, who will go on to lead the country as First Minister? Jamie Hewitt, guitarist from eighties one-hit wonders The Hyptones? Or is it Rabbit – Jude’s estranged foster sister, now a world-famous artist?

Three apparently unconnected people, who share a devastating secret, whose lives were forever changed by one traumatic night in Phoenix, forty years earlier…

Taking us back to a school shooting in her Texas hometown, and a 1980s road trip across the American West – to San Francisco and on to New York – Jude’s search ends in Glasgow, and a final, shocking event that only one person can fully explain…

David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964 and has lived in Kilmarnock for over 30 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 debut novel The Last Days of Disco was shortlisted for the Authors Club Best First Novel Award, and optioned for the stage by the Scottish National Theatre. All five of his novels have achieved notable critical acclaim and There’s Only One Danny Garvey, published in 2021 by Orenda Books, was shortlisted for the prestigious Saltire Society Prize for Scottish Fiction Book of the Year. David lives in Ayrshire.

My thoughts: this is a blackly comic tale of roads converging, life changing events and secrets. Jude’s journey to Glasgow is a lifetime in the making in many ways, she’s not had it easy, and has some things to settle. But before that we need to go on tour with The Hyptones, and learn a bit more about Jude’s life and the moments that changed it.

A chance encounter at a gig going very wrong sends Jude on a lifelong mission of sorts, as she becomes a talented photojournalist in New York, haunted always by the moment Jamie Hewitt, guitarist of The Hyptones possibly saved her life, and by their one hit record.

That final trip to Scotland, partly to trace her late Glaswegian father, but mostly to find out what happened to the band and more specifically Jamie, is very powerful and moving in many ways. Fame dealt the members a pretty bad hand, well and Anna Mason – soon to be First Minister (replacing Nicola Sturgeon in the plot), daughter of a very dodgy man and the woman holding most of The Hyptones hostage financially.

But Jude isn’t easily swayed, she tracks down the members, a journalist called David F. Ross (hmmm) who wrote a staggeringly bleak article that has Madonna’s lawyers all over him, and AnnaFuckingBelle Mason too. But will she make it to lunch with her long separated foster sister, artist Rabbit? Or will the madness and sadness of The Hyptones get her too?

It’s gripping and unputdownable and dark and rather marvellous, from Texas to San Francisco, New York to Glasgow. One heck of a ride and with Dashboard Elvis there for it all.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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