#Review Psychopath’s Anonymous By Will Carver @Will_Carver @OrendaBooks #WelcomeToTheClub #PsychopathsAnonymous #Thriller @RandomTTours

Psychopath’s Anonymous
By Will Carver

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Having read a few books by Will Carver now, you realise that as chilling the titles may be, there is often a point being made for the greater good of society that is compelling and to read in his thrillers. Psychopath’s Anonymous has got this too, through its dark tones. These may be some of this most important fictional books ever that never cease to amaze me.
Find out more in the blurb and my full review below.
Firstly, thanks to Random T. Tours for inviting me to review on the blog tour and Orenda Books for gifting me the book.

Psychopaths Anonymous

Blurb

When AA meetings make her want to drink more, alcoholic murderess Maeve sets up a group for psychopaths.
Maeve has everything. A high-powered job, a beautiful home, a string of uncomplicated one-night encounters.
She’s also an addict: a functioning alcoholic with a dependence on sex and an insatiable appetite for killing men.

When she can’t find a support group to share her obsession, she creates her own. And Psychopaths Anonymous is born. Friends of Maeve.

Now in a serious relationship, Maeve wants to keep the group a secret. But not everyone in the group adheres to the rules, and when a reckless member raises suspicions with the police, Maeve’s drinking spirals out of control. She needs to stop killing. She needs to close the group. But Maeve can’t seem to quit the things that are bad for her, including her new man…

Review

Psychopath’s Anonymous is a book where every word has strength in tone and matters so much that it grips every part of your being until the end, where it only loosens its grip every so slightly, but leaves part of its astonishing text and feeling/aura to live on within you.
The book is in 5 parts with some sentences written in a most unique way, with a score through them that holds so much poignancy and relevance. There is no detective, rather an exploration of part of society in fictional thriller form. Each part is cleverly separated into steps, like you find steps to recovery in a support group. This instantly sets up the story that unfolds. Will Carver invites readers into the h..ead of an addict and the inner sanctum of support groups, depicted by Maeve, who you enter into an AA meeting with and meet other addicts. It packs a punch! It tells a raw truth of various people sitting in this circle. The book is unique. Books don’t often have the same sentence typed out and then scored out. This one does, within its seering paragraphs about humanity and some people’s minds. It’s also about other addictions within society, such as social media, egos etc.
There is also the exploration in how people watch tv, especially the news (good versus bad news) and soaps. Then there is an even starker fact that lots of people watch reality tv. The sort where the unlikeliest of people are forced together to create entertainment. The book explores this in a way that it hasn’t been before. It could change perceptions on them and see them in a different light, or perhaps clarify what you perhaps already thought of them. It’s also an interesting way of showing how strangers are put together in what is perhaps unnatural situations, whether it be an AA group or a reality tv show, both showing egos, attitudes, behaviours in one way or another in the stories that are told or shown from lives lived.

The book delves into the mind and about God in a very matter-of-fact way and becomes a recurring theme throughout the book.
There is also an interesting part that splits a wider  into 3 types of addict too, showing that stepped programmes, thoughts go beyond AA meetings in some ways. It doesn’t question anyone’s motives or beliefs. What it does is make you see things in a different perspective. A psychopathic alcoholic’s manner of thoughts. It also has an instruction at the beginning of each step.  Maeve later creates her own group – Psychopath’s Anonymous. Like AA meetings, it has steps to support and give direction, but there are differences within those steps.

Maeve has a sponsor – Gary, who is in no doubt in a precarious position with her as warped, dark thoughts go through her mind, that takes you to the edge of your seat, whether you want to be pulled in that far or not. Sex is never far away, nor is alcohol, nor death that swirl around in this women’s mind and then on the other hand, nor is support and how it’s administered.  Then right when you don’t expect it, the book makes you cast your mind back to an earlier book – ‘Nothing Important Happened Today’; in one breath-taking moment! Certain things trickle through from Nothing Important Happens Today, such as an action, a character, an image (but take note, it is okay if you’ve not read this yet).

As the book goes on, readers find out more about who Maeve has harmed and what she has done. It’s written in a chilling fashion as it delves into her world and what it is to be a psychopath and how behaviours and thoughts are displayed. It looks like research has been done and isn’t like how some films portray a psychopath. There seems to be a lot of consideration to this, as well as encouraging people to examine other elements of society.

It’s an amazing book and one you’ll have to read to see what, if any, improvements are made within lives and see how it ends.

All books written by Will Carver leaves like a residue behind like no other. It seems that every book I’ve certainly read of his sticks for a very long time afterwards.

The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #RandomTTours #TheSkelfs #TheGreatSilence #CrimeFiction

The Great Silence
by Doug Johnstone

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Great Silence is the latest book in The Skelfs series. They are back. Thanks to Random T. Tours for inviting me to the blog tour and to Orenda Books for gifting me the e-book. Find out more about this Edinburgh based crime book in the blurb and my review below.

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Blurb

The Great Silence cover with quotes and author name (1)Keeping on top of the family funeral directors’ and private investigation businesses is no easy task for the Skelf women, and when matriarch Dorothy discovers a human foot while walking the dog, a perplexing case presents itself.
Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: the mysterious circumstances of a dying woman have led them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelfs’ teenaged lodger has a devastating experience.
Nothing is clear as the women are immersed ever deeper in their most challenging cases yet. But when the daughter of Jenny’s violent and fugitive ex-husband goes missing without trace and a wild animal is spotted roaming Edinburgh’s parks, real danger presents itself, and all three Skelfs are in peril.
Taut, dark, warmly funny and unafraid to ask big questions – of us all – The Great Silence is the much-anticipated third instalment in the addictive, unforgettable Skelfs series.

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Review

It is great to be reunited with Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah, of whom each have a chapter dedicated to them and it rotates through them until the end of the story. It starts with a nose-wrinkling moment with Dorothy and her collie dog – Einstein. It’s definitely a most unexpected opener.

The Skelf family own a funeral business in Edinburgh, but also there are investigations to conduct. This isn’t your usual funeral parlour, this is one where investigations also occur, so it’s quite a lot for the Skelf’s to juggle.

In a way, like previous books in this series, it presents itself as something a bit more genteel, but when you get into the detail, nestling amongst some humour and the beauty and fun of Edinburgh and its surrounding areas, such as Leith and Portobello including the zoo and Cramond, (which Doug Johnstone adeptly leads his readers round), it’s actually quite dark and full of mystery. There seems to be many mysterious deaths that turn up in the mortuary; there is one presenting with no clear cause of death or DNA match. There are also mysterious limbs by Leith, not necessarily matching up with each other. There’s mystery and black humour in the way it is written, including some strange embalming.

Nothing is straight forward and some people aren’t either, as Hannah’s got a new colleague who is an astrophysicist and absolutely convinced there are aliens. To add to this strangeness, there may be a mystery surrounding a big cat. As well as mysterious deaths, there is also grief, high emotion, much tension and family dramas; it’s a story of multi-layers that also sees the Skelf’s in danger and a lot of life questions and contemplations about life, religion and more, being questioned are considered.

About The Author

Author Doug Johnstone poses for a portrait near his home in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Doug Johnstone is the author of twelve previous novels, most recently The Big Chill (2020). Several of his books have been bestsellers and three, A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), were shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year.
He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions over the last decade – including at a funeral parlour ahead of writing A Dark Matter – and has been an arts journalist for over twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three solo EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh. Follow Doug on Twitter @doug_johnstone and visit his website: dougjohnstone.com.

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No Honour by Awais Khan @AwaisKhan @OrendaBooks #NoHonour #Abida

No Honour
By Awais Khan

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

No Honour is intensely powerful, gritty and brave. Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my review and then discover more about the author.
Firstly, thanks to Random Things Tours for inviting me to the blog tour and thanks to Orenda Books for gifting me the book. Follow through to find out more 

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Blurb

No Honour Vis 2In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves.
When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts
his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore – only to disappear.
Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.

In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves.
When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts
his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore – only to disappear.
Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.

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Review

No Honour is set in Lahore, Pakistan. It tells a very brave and moving story of Jamil and Abida. It doesn’t hide away from anything, including the notion of honour killings and drug and alcohol abuse. Awais Khan, it feels, tells so much about the culture and attitudes in Pakistan. It’s a tense, but fascinating read. The writing is with strong intent to tell the story of what, perhaps many women experience. It, although a work of fiction, also shines a light on inside Pakistan and at least pockets of its population.

Abida has a fiesty temperament about her when it comes to her baby and Kalim, the man she loves, but sometimes in the background and other times in the foreground are age old traditions and age old attitudes like being pregnant out of wedlock that make it all not as plain-sailing as the western world would perhaps experience.  She is a woman who knows what she wants and who she wants to be with though and as you read, you hope that she does manage to get this in the end, but there are many challenges, including the increasingly erratic behaviours of Kalim.
The book is gritty and don’t expect an easy read, but instead, one of important social and family issues, including that of bringing shame on the family as Abida has, in accordance to the rules. It is a striking, brutal book in many ways and one where fear grips people. It’s hardhitting on a number of pages, but even then, it is one of those books that is irresistable and the end has to be reached. This is a book that may well have readers not wanting to take life and allies for granted ever again.

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Everything Happens For A Reason by Katie Allen @KtAllenWriting @OrendaBooks #RandomTTours #JubilantJune #EveryThingHappensForAReason #BlogTour

Everything Happens For A Reason
by Katie Allen

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Everything Happens for a Reason cover

 

Firstly I would like to thank Orenda Books and Random Things Tours for the copy of this heart-rendering and moving book. Find out in the blurb and my review about what I actually thought about this pretty unique debut book for this great blog tour.

Blurb

A beautiful, poignant and enchantingly funny debut,
inspired by journalist Katie Allen’s own experience of stillbirth and grief

Mum-to-be Rachel did everything right, but it all went wrong.
Her son, Luke, was stillborn and she finds herself on maternity leave without a baby, trying to make sense of her loss.
When a misguided well-wisher tells her that ‘everything happens for a reason’, she becomes obsessed with finding that reason, driven by grief and convinced that she is somehow to blame. She remembers that on the day she discovered her pregnancy, she’d stopped a man from jumping in front of a train, and she’s now
certain that saving his life cost her the life of her son.
Desperate to find him, she enlists an unlikely ally in Lola, an Underground worker, and Lola’s seven-year-old daughter, and eventually tracks him down, with completely unexpected results…
Both a heart-wrenching portrait of grief and a gloriously uplifting and disarmingly funny story of a young woman’s determination, Everything Happens for a Reason is a bittersweet, life-affirming and, quite simply, unforgettable read.

Review

Everything Happens for a Reason coverFairly uniquely, Everything Happens For A Reason, has no chapters as such and is instead, punctuated with emails from character to character. As much as it felt different to other books that do have chapters, the flow and movement through the book worked well, perhaps because of the timeline within the emails and instead of jarring, like it might do with chapters, in this rare instance, it gives it a stronger sense of a certain amount of reality. The book is a work of fiction but it is inspired by Katie Allen’s own experiences.

There is a  strong belief of “Everything Happens For A Reason” is an interesting concept, that is used in a way to justify and perhaps come to terms with everything, is a theme that is carried throughout the book. Rachel even believes that meeting Lola was for a reason and both are interesting characters and there is the gradual uncovering of Ben Palmer, a guy she saved at Oval, when she was pregnant, months before her baby was stillborn. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, there’s no two ways about it. The grief and the trying to live life feels authentic and pierces through to your heart. On the other-hand it also talks truthfully about how there isn’t always the time to grieve. Most of the characters have their issues they are living with.

There are also moments to smile about. It’s is full of bittersweet moments, such as some thought given to baby groups, such as baby and rhyme (if you’re in Scotland its a little bit like Bookbug), and baby yoga etc. 

I am glad that there are some funny moments. In some ways it lightens the book in a good way and in other ways, it is a brave decision to include it as some people don’t think you should find something funny, when grieving etc, but this shows life in every aspects from friendships to the politics of the day. There’s a particularly humorous analogy about a spider, for example. It shows life and grieving is not a straight line and life presents itself with unexpected moments and a web of people and situations. There’s some moments of pragmatism and others that has a bit of humour, but most of all it is emotional and an aura of it lingers round you after you’ve read it.

This is not a light read by any means, but it is some original storytelling, with a subject matter that is still almost taboo and uncomfortable for some people to talk about. It is a subject matter that is rare in books, if there at all. If you’re wanting something different and meaningful, this is your book.

 

ABOUT KATIE ALLEN

Katie AllenA beautiful, poignant and enchantingly funny debut, inspired by journalist Katie Allen’s own experience of stillbirth and grief.
Everything Happens for a Reason is Katie’s first novel. She used to be a journalist and columnist at the Guardian and Observer, and started her career as a Reuters correspondent in Berlin and London. The events in Everything Happens for a Reason are fiction, but the premise is loosely autobiographical. Katie’s son, Finn, was stillborn in 2010, and her character ’s experience of grief and being on maternity leave without a baby is based on her own. And yes, someone did say to her
‘Everything happens for a reason’.
Katie grew up in Warwickshire and now lives in South London with her husband,
children, dog, cat and stick insects. When she’s not writing or walking children and dogs, Katie loves baking, playing the piano, reading news and wishing she had written other people’s brilliant novels.

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This Is How We Are Human By Louise Beech @louisewriter @OrendaBooks #JubilantJune #BlogTour

This Is How We Are Human
By Louise Beech

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I have a review of the emotionally poignant –  This Is How We Are Human, that may spark some debate and plenty of talk in a book that is beautifully written and is somewhat uplifting too. The more I think about it, the more I think it is such a good and unique book. Find out more in the Blurb and my Review. Continue down to find out what inspired Louise Beech to write this story and a bit about her.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the blog tour and for Orenda Books for gifting me the book

 

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Blurb

Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely. Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy, and she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he
desperately wants. Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.
When these three lives collide, and intertwine in unexpected ways, everything changes. For everyone!

Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, This Is How We Are Human is a powerful, moving and thoughtful drama about a mother’s love for her son, about getting it wrong when we think
we know what’s best, about the lengths we go to care for family and to survive.

Review

This_is_how_we_are_human proof aw (1)I reckon, even though this is quite different in some aspects, but readers who were swept along with “The Curious Incident With The Dog In the Midnight”, may also find they are with “This Is How We Are Human”. Although different in  that this is a man with ASD and the other was a boy with Aspergers, but I mention it because I have liked and totally appreciated both of these books.

Firstly, that cover is beautiful and as you read through the story, you’ll see it has some symbolism, including in the snowglobe, and emotion, in this deeply thoughtful book about subjects not often talked about.

Sebastian is Autistic and is now an adult with all the needs and desires of any other adult and a few extra. There is so much that parents who have children and adult offspring, will be able to relate to.
There’s a rawness about the story and sense of truth as it tells the story of a mother and son needing support and guidance for this next stage of life – adulthood.

It’s emotional and sometimes heartbreaking and a bit uplifting, but most of all, poignant and thought-provoking with some possible themes that may be controversial to some, but others would be open to debate, especially when it comes to Sebastian’s sexual desires and how they are handled. It’s a pretty unique book in the subject matter of an autistic adult who is suggestive and has desires like the majority of humans on the planet. 

You can see the frustrations and the love coming from Veronica who is desperate to help her son and also the challenges and complexities that surround this. It is emotional and pretty hard-hitting and yet the love of the mother to her son is tender, yet desperate to help him understand relationships and his sexual desires, so hires people to assist.

Aside from Sebastian, there is Isabelle who goes by the name, Violetta, who is trying to be brave and deal with her seriously ill dad, as it shows how being a high class escort and her home/personal life sit very differently next to each other. It also shows how much she needs support and the money to pay for her nursing career. She then becomes linked to Sebastian and lives alter.

How We Are Human, is ultimately a powerful book, which shows lives that may be different from your own and how some things are almost so unimaginably complex and brings topics to the fore that aren’t heard about being discussed so much; if at all in the wider world, in a highly emotionally charged way, mixed with love, desire, lust, family relations. It is beautifully written, without shying away from the biggest of subjects. The book becomes so absorbing and emotionally poignant and ends in a way, perhaps not quite as expected, but better than expected. 

Read the Author’s Note too in the book. I think it is important to as it will explain a little bit about ASD and a bit about a family who inspired Louise Beech to write this story.

Inspiration for This Is How We Are Human.

Louise B (1)“Though This is How We Are Human is fiction, the premise was inspired by my friends, 20-year-old
Sean, who is autistic, and his mum Fiona. Fiona had spoken to me about how much Sean longed to
meet a girl and have sex. No one talks about this, she said – the difficulties navigating romance often faced by those on the spectrum. It ’s an issue that I wanted to explore. Fiona and Sean encouraged me and guided me through the book; Sean regularly consulted on dialogue, rightly insisting that his voice was heard, was strong, and was accurate. I cannot thank my extraordinary friends enough for their help and support.” Louise Beech

About The Author

Louise Beech (1)Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted
for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her 2019 novel Call Me Star Girl won Best magazine Book of the Year, and was followed by I Am Dust.

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There’s Only One Danny Garvey by David F. Ross @drf10 @OrendaBooks #Excerpt #Extract

There’s Only One Danny Garvey
By David F. Ross
Excerpt/Extract

Today I am re-showing you an excerpt/extract from the book – There’s Only One Danny Garvey by David F. Ross. It may inspire you for an Easter Read.  It’s great for not just sport, including football fans, but also for those looking for a bit of hope. The extract/excerpt, along with the blurb will give you a sense of what is within the book and may well whet your appetite for more…

I have read and reviewed a book by David F. Ross before and he’s a very good author.

Take a look at the blurb, an excerpt from the book and finally a bit about the Scottish author himself and praise for the book.

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Blurb

Danny Garvey was a sixteen-year old footballing prodigy. Professional clubs clamoured to sign him, and a glittering future beckoned.
And yet, his early promise remained unfulfilled, and Danny is back home in the tiny village of Barshaw to manage the struggling junior team he once played for. What’s more, he’s hiding a secret about a tragic night, thirteen years earlier, that changed the course of several lives. There’s only one Danny Garvey, they once chanted … and that’s the problem.
A story of irrational hopes and fevered dreams – of unstoppable passion and unflinching commitment in the face of defeat – There’s Only One Danny Garvey is, above all, an unforgettable tale about finding hope and redemption in the most unexpected of places.

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Extract/Excerpt

—There hasn’t been a word out of him since he got up. Every question or remark I’ve made gets ignored. He’s always had these periods where he just retreats into himself. It’s like he’s in a trance; impossible to reach. I hope today isn’t another one of those times.

Thirteen seasons have passed, but I walk into this dilapidated place known to everyone as The Barn like I was returning to it after a disappointing two-week summer break. I’m anxious. Sweating. Not about the job – about the interview; the kind of social situation I dread. I wander down the narrow corridor. It hasn’t seen fresh paint since Higgy volunteered to decorate three months before I left. The carpets are new, strangely enough. Loud and headache-inducing, admittedly, but new.

I pass the office, a large cupboard rammed with everything from cleaners’ mops, detergent supplies and cans of petrol, to last season’s team strips, balls and training equipment. It smells like something has crawled in there and died. Months ago.

The changing rooms are exactly as I remember them. Cold, dark, windowless and stinking of a mix of stale body odour and Ralgex spray. The showers drip. The urinal trough is dented in the middle, leaving a puddle at the opposite end from the drain. And the light switch has gone on strike. I make a mental note to swap the home and away dressing rooms for next season. There’s not much to choose between them but I’d rather we benefitted from a working radiator when winter hits.

The season we got to the league cup final, a small army of volunteers materialised. The facilities were transformed. Amazing what a wee bit of spit, polish and elbow grease can achieve, they’d say proudly. A selfless backroom team, galvanised by the unfettered joy of an unexpected cup run.

Failure, on the other hand, is like a rot that sets into everything and everyone. A blanket of gloom descending on a whole community of desperate men. For this is a corner of community life that is almost exclusively male. A pervading depression descends. There’s too much invested. Too little self-control on the sidelines when that investment bears nothing. Fans arguing and fighting amongst themselves. As if the village didn’t have enough to contend with.

—I came in three hours ago. I hoovered the committee-room carpet, after spreading this powdery freshener stuff that I’d seen advertised. It smells like a bloody perfume counter. I dusted. I scrubbed. I laid out clean glasses and placed the chairs for the committee tight together, like a defensive wall facing a Beckham free kick. I put the heater on, to shift the chill that makes your fingers go blue. It’s a new season. New hope. I hope the interviewing panel notice.

Praise for There’s Only One Danny Garvey
‘Full of comedy, pathos & great tunes’ Hardeep Singh Kohli •
‘Warm, funny & evocative’ Chris Brookmyre •
‘Dark, hilarious & heartbreaking’ Muriel Gray • ‘An astonishing tour de force’ John Niven • ‘A real new talent on the Scottish literary scene’ Press & Journal • ‘By turn hilarious and heart-breaking, more than anything Ross creates beautifully rounded characters full of humanity and
perhaps most of all, hope’ Liam Rudden, Scotsman • ‘‘David Ross carved out an enduring place for himself among contemporary Scottish novelists’ Alastair Mabb, Herald Scotland • ‘This is a book that might just make you cry like nobody’s watching’ Iain MacLeod, Sunday Mail

About the Author

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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 received exceptional critical acclaim, as did the other two books in the Disco Days Trilogy: The Rise & Fall of the Miraculous Vespasand The Man Who Loved Islands. David lives in Ayrshire.