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Welcome to the Heady Heights

Published Date: 5th October 2018

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EBook
9781912374625
£5.99
21 January 2019
Paperback
9781912374618
£8.99
21 March 2019

Description

A hilarious, dark and heart-warming drama about the elusivity of stardom, in an age when ‘making it’ was ‘having it all’ …
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.
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‘Ross brings his ever-so-dark humour and caustic eye to 1970’s Glasgow, and it proves to be the perfect pairing. ‘Welcome To The Heady Heights’ is where those famous Williams, Connolly and McIlvanney, meet, using the city’s ‘No Mean City’ reputation as the backdrop to a story which lifts the lid on the worlds of showbuisness and politics and finds that the contents are rotten’ Alistair Braidwood
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‘The Heady Heights is a twisted love letter to Glasgow at her finest and worst, shot through with an eye for 70’s detail and an awareness of our current, complex ills. This is hardboiled tartan noir with a musical edge, streetwise intelligence and exactly the sense of humour you’d hope to find as showbiz meets Duke Street and high society enforcers battle gentlemen of the Sarry Hied and graduates of the Bar L’ A L Kennedy

‘Music is always at the heart of David F Ross’ novels, but the spotlight in his latest is trained on the ugly, sleazy side of Glasgow in 1976, with decaying tenements, a misogynistic police force, corrupt councillors and a ring of powerful sexual predators from the worlds of entertainment and politics … This story goes to some dark places but Ross keeps it consistently entertaining’ Alastair Mabbott, The Herald Scotland

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‘David Ross’s gripping Welcome to the Heady Heights is populated with characters so real you can smell them; his Glasgow, instantly recognisable to those who know the city. Capturing the horror & futility of life on the fringes of its criminal underworld, it is a gloriously dark read’ Liam Rudden

 

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‘The book could easily seem artificial in its plot and setting, yet by the end Ross has woven a narrative together so organically you’ll want to kick yourself for ever doubting its plausibility. Ross produces a picture of 70s Glasgow we may not be wholly familiar with, for better or worse, leaving us questioning what may also be lurking below the surface now. Welcome to the Heady Heights is a whirlwind of 70s Glasgow complete with chippies, boozers and brown corduroy flares. Witty, dark humour cuts through what can at times be an uncomfortably real narrative, setting an invigorating pace for this tale of glitz, glam and institutional corruption which keeps you guessing at every turn’ The Skinny

‘It is a triumphant debut novel, which announces a real new talent on the Scottish literary scene’ Press and Journal

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‘More than just a nostalgic recreation of the author’s youth, it’s a compassionate, affecting story of a family in crisis at a time of upheaval and transformation, when disco wasn’t the only thing whose days were numbered’ Herald Scotland

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‘Dark, hilarious & heartbreaking’ Muriel Gray

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‘Warm, funny & evocative’ Chris Brookmyre

 

‘A smirky, fierce, heartachingly provocative read set in the Glasgow of the late 1970’s. 52 year old Archie is a bus conductor, however he dreams of bigger and better things, can he leave behind Glasgow, the gangsters, the corruption and make something of himself? Within just a few paragraphs, I knew exactly where I was and who I was with, the characters sit on the page with vibrancy and in some cases brooding attitude. I could hear the voices rising from the page into my head, they took on my here and now and slapped it straight into 1975. Glasgow screams with attitude, sauntering, sulking, yet with moments of real beauty. David F. Ross doesn’t overplay the vivid characters, they feel as real as real could be, not necessarily likeable, in fact some are defiantly abhorrent, though I do have a soft spot for Archie! Each moment swaggered into being, opening a window through into another world. ‘Welcome to the Heady Heights’ is powerful and punchy, with well placed, darker than dark humour highlighting a visual feast of a read’ LoveReading

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‘For those who are already a fan of his writing they will be familiar with the way he uses comedy, and often controversy, to examine and comment on matters serious. While having a ball with his memorable array of characters running amok, a central theme is the systemic abuse of minors by members, often well-loved, of the apparently respectable establishment, particularly with regard to the entertainment industry … As evocative of the ’70s as Alvin Stardust riding a Chopper, Welcome To The Heady Heights is where those well-known Williams, Connolly and McIlvanney, meet. Ross uses Glasgow’s infamous No Mean City reputation as the backdrop to a story which lifts the lid on the worlds of showbuisness and politics and finds what lies beneath rotten. It’s one of the most thoroughly and unapologetically enjoyable novels you’ll read this year – riotous, courageous, and laugh-out-loud funny. It’s also gritty, gallus and Glaswegian to its core – with Welcome To The Heady Heights David F. Ross has given us a novel to revel in’ Scots Whay Hae

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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.

Online Reviews

‘I loved this novel, just like I loved the Disco Days trilogy. To have the skill to write a novel that can make you laugh out loud and also make you cry is something I can only dream of having, but Ross absolutely nails it in this novel. One phrase in the novel seemed to sum it up perfectly (although it wasn’t necessarily it’s purpose in the narrative): “But she was joining the dots. The many, many threads –random when examined individually, but wound together, they began to make sense.” (Kindle location:3383 of 3725) That’s exactly what this novel does, and it does it exquisitely well. Bring on the next David F. Ross funny tear-jerker!’ Segnalibro

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‘The dark humour in these books paints a truthful and perceptive portrait of Scotland that is unsurpassable, giving us Scots of a certain age so many ‘That’s exactly right!’ moments and the blend of humour and truthfulness hits just the right balance to make you think as well as making you crease up laughing. This portrait of Big Jamesie Campbell will definitely take its place in Scottish Book characters Hall of Fame as we’ve all met one in our time and he is such a fabulously drawn character, you’ll swear he rises up off the page and starts talking to you as you read … David has been compared endlessly with Irvine Welsh and John Niven and if you enjoy these writers then you will definitely enjoy this book, but I think his books all contain something wholly their own that sets them apart from their contemporaries. If you enjoy your humour dark and your tales memorable – then what are you waiting for – Buy this book! I can’t wait to see where David F Ross goes next in his fiction writing – once you’ve read his profile, you’ll be amazed he finds the time. He is definitely one of the most exciting Scottish writers that I read at the moment’ On the Shelf Book Blog

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‘These are big, bold, largely writ characters you know, even if you can’t love them – though you have to admire their optimism. Like a Howson painting, these are faces that stay etched in your memory, their crags and depths showing every moment of their trials and sorrows. David Ross has painted a brash and coruscating picture that brings life to his subjects, even where hope is a step too far. The humour is rich, excruciatingly funny and welcoming in a sometimes pitch dark landscape. This is undoubtedly David Ross’s best book yet and it even comes with its own excellent playlist’ Live and Deadly

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‘Ross’ writing style is powerful in many ways, as black humour threads throughout the danger and squalor of a city in a heatwave … Ross shows great skill in creating comedy where life would otherwise be bleak, and hope where everyone is threatened. I found this book compelling and fascinating even when a little surprised by its bleakness, and darkly funny in many respects. Not for those of a nervous disposition, this is a well written book of lively images, determined descriptions and memorable characters’ Northern Reader

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‘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’ Cheryl MM Book Blog

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‘This is a book dealing with violence, corruption, menace and brutality in a way that pulls no punches but is underpinned with a vein of dark humour which carried me through the read … A tumultuous, thought-provoking rollercoaster of a read that spotlights a time and place in history that has had a long-lasting effect on people but hopefully is teaching us something about how far we have come and what we still need to do to better society. With a great soundtrack along the way. Bold and innovative storytelling that makes for an exciting read, exactly what fans have come to expect from an Orenda book’ A Little Book Problem

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‘This book is real, raw and I could visualise everything that David Ross described. Welcome to Heady Heights, is filled with darkly comedic moments as well as those which are really touching and tender … This book is unlike anything I have read; it’s raw, fresh, unflinching but at the same time tender, capturing loneliness, and hope’ The Literary Addict

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‘What makes it an absolute belter of a book is that David F. Ross takes these elements and marries them to a fucking brilliant story line – the depths and scope of Welcome to The Heady Heights is phenomenal. From the aspirations of Archie Blunt to a ‘holy crap’ plot that takes in a secretive, dark and disturbing society, murder, extortion and crooks both small time and big, Ross spins a story with so many different facets and so many well realised and engrossing narratives that his place as a master storyteller can never be doubted’

Mumbling About …

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‘Ross has a terrific tone … I love it when the location becomes a key character in the read, as Glasgow does here, you really feel immersed in the story. I’ve read a few other books with a talent show plotline that didn’t really do it for me, but I have to say that in Welcome to the Heady Heights it worked, I think it was the retro feel to proceedings that gave it all a satirical nod. Overall, this is a clever, witty thriller with heart that I highly recommend!’ Book on the 747

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‘This is a novel that feels impossible to define but it’s utterly brilliant. It’s gritty and disturbing, it’s funny and poignant and just so readable! I found this hard to put down because I just couldn’t see how it was all going to turn out for Archie and I was desperate to find out! This is definitely an author I want to read more of and I’ve already bought a couple of his other books and I can’t wait to read them! I highly recommend Welcome to the Heady Heights!’ Rather Too Fond of Books

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Welcome to the Heady Heights has everything in it that you could possibly hope for. It’s funny, exciting, thrilling, moving, heartbreaking and poignant. And all of this is topped off by the strong sense of place which weaves throughout the book, with the written Glaswegian dialect making me feel as though I could hear the voices coming from the page … I really enjoyed how Ross uses dark comedy to explore much more serious themes and I thought that it was really effectively and intelligently done … Each page is more and more compelling, especially as the pace picks up, and I was quite honestly left breathless at times. Overall, I’m giving Welcome to the Heady Heights 4 out of 5. It’s gritty, poignant and darkly funny’ Misti Moo Book Reviews

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‘I felt an instant liking towards this book. I lived in Glasgow for five years and this book references SO many places that I’ve visited or know about. I love when a book really captures the essence of a place and this one certainly did that. Billy Connolly of course gets a mention and even Queen were in there with Bohemian Rhapsody, which made my fangirl heart very happy! … This book is black comedy at its finest, with some seriously twisted moments. I don’t often laugh out loud at books but this one did it. Archie’s escapades were a delight to read about. Overall, this was an extremely fun read that I would recommend to fans of The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, or anyone with a love of Glasgow’ The Paperback Piano

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‘It’s a fun, compulsively readable, rollercoaster of a book with a real bite to it and some genuinely sad moments. The extensive use of Glasgow vernacular adds to the atmosphere (and no, this English reader didn’t have any problem following it) but really, Archie, Geordie and their pals are just infectiously compelling characters you want to keep reading and reading about. It would have been nice to read more about Barbara Sherman and journalist Gail Proctor – perhaps in another book, Mr Ross? – but with this one I really, really felt it was a shame when the book had to end’ Blue Book Balloon

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‘Well this is a punchy number indeed. It picked me up and transported me back to Glaswegian life in the 1970’s with such style and flair. I absolutely loved it. It was like a masterclass in the Glaswegian dialect … I won’t dive into details regarding the story line as I feel it’s best to let the plot unfurl exactly how the author intends it to. But it is full of energy and humour and races forward with a punchy rhythm. Welcome to the Heady Heights is an addictive read with a quirky retro vibe. It balances humour with heart to perfection to create a compulsive read that I could not put down’ Stacy is Reading

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‘This beautifully crafted novel is storytelling at its absolute finest – honest, impassionate, 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’

Hair Past a Freckle

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‘Ross draws a fine parody of the workplace hell endured by women police officers at that time, taunted with relentless sexism, relegated to making tea and accompanying the wives of public figures on their shopping expeditions. But for all its laugh out loud moments, there’s plenty of darkness and grit in the mix … This is an enjoyable helter-skelter ride of multiple perspectives with an exceptionally strong sense of place. Filled with larger-than-life characters, the strong Glaswegian dialect may occasionally prove a little difficult to decipher for those of us born south of the border, but hold on in there for the twisted thrills and spills along the way’ Claire Thinking

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‘The humour in this stunning novel comes from his attempts to enter a boy band into a talent competition. I kid you not, I cried tears of laughter as well as tears of sadness when reading this novel … It is powerful stuff, especially when you add the thriller elements into the story. I spent so much time scared that Archie and the supporting cast of characters would be destroyed by the evil raging against them, that I forgot to breath on times. The language is colourful on times, but what’s not to love about the authors celebration of language, unafraid to give a honest voice to his characters’ Books are my Cwtches

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‘Each character was a cog in a wheel, a link in a chain that Ross used to slowly unwind his story. All three set out with the same purpose, yet unaware of the other until Ross carefully and skilfully pulled all the strands together. The narrative was sharp and punchy and at times very funny, but there was always a darkness lurking underneath. You wanted the characters to succeed and in Archie’s case break free from the relentlessness of his life with no job, no money and a dad with dementia. I loved his determination, his absolute belief in his newly created boy band and felt sympathy in his naivety when faced with blackmail and criminal intrigue … Intrigue and suspense permeated the pages and kept me well and truly hooked. The Glasgow setting and use of the true Scottish dialect added a harshness and realism that lifted the novel and made it an enthralling and brilliant read’ My Bookish Blogspot

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‘The book takes us to some very dark places, but within his cast of characters, Ross balances humour, pathos and retribution beautifully, with the Glasgow vernacular front and centre, and a resigned balance of optimism and pessimism amongst his protagonists, which adds to their realism and our reactions to them as readers. I loved the mordant wit, and the very defined sense of the goodies, the baddies, and the generally confused … A wee twisted gem, giving this reader a very warm welcome to the Heady Heights. A thoroughly gritty, uncompromising and entertaining throwback to the 70s and totally recommended’ Raven Crime Reads

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‘This is a comedic book full of heart, despite the story’s grim undercurrent. This is not a crime thriller, and it is not an earnest or hard read; that said, neither does it treat the difficult subject matter with flippancy. It is a paean to the Glasgow of the seventies – one can feel the author’s affection for the city and time period – though not rose-tinted and ignorant of the poverty that blighted it. But mostly it’s a rollercoaster of a ride, one man’s attempt to follow his dreams and reach for the sky, ignorant of the fact that all around him is cynicism and criminality. This is a great book, a poignant and funny blast, and I can highly recommend it’ The Crime Novel Reader

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‘Thankfully David F. Ross has a better grasp of the times. The Ayrshireman has form when it comes to entertaining crime noir that comes gift-wrapped in cultural reference points from the past. You might be familiar already with his Last Days Of Disco trilogy. If not, you might want to get acquainted with it. For his latest offering, David has once again looked to the past for inspiration … read the whole story for yourself. I think you’d like it’ Plain or Pan

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‘I was really drawn in to this book by the blurb and the fantastic cover! I thought that this was a really good story, I loved the author’s writing style and it had me laughing, cringing at what I thought was quite dark humour in places but very enjoyable all the same. The book is very well crafted, I am too young to know the period and I didn’t live through it but that didn’t really matter and the author really helped to bring it all to life for me and I really feel as though he has made me experience what it would have been like in Glasgow in the 1970s! … A really enjoyable read – highly recommended and definately an author I will be looking out for in the future!’ Donnas Book Blog

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‘Although set in the 70s, there is so much that is relevant to the here and now, especially concerning revelations in recent years, and I really enjoyed sofa-speculating as to how much truth was hidden amongst the plot. I can’t say more without giving anything away – so, you’ll just have to read it! There is so much to enjoy packed into this novel. Once I reached the half-way point I read the remainder in one sitting and was wholly entertained. If you’re looking for something dark, funny, tremendously Glaswegian and seeped in 70s pop culture, then I recommend checking out Welcome to the Heady HeightsEmma R

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‘This is what I think you’d call black-humour or Tartan-Noir. It is very, very dark but very funny. The story very loosely features famous faces and personalities that we’ll all know from TV and it also features a very loose equivalent to what Operation Yewtree turned into. Sort of. See? Dark … Even though the subject matter can get a bit raw in places this isn’t a hard book to read or get into. It’s funny and barrels along at a good pace… although I will say this – good luck if you’re not great at deciphering the Scottish accent when it’s written down!’ Online Blanket Fort

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‘There’s laughter and tears throughout as once again David F Ross presents readers with a colourful, relatable and engaging cast of characters. He takes them and places them in a time and a setting that will have those of you who are of a similar age to me, look back with both fondness and horror at the decade. Passing reference to other characters will spark some recognition in the reader’s mind as the author gives a poignant nod to some of the more unsavoury aspects of show business back in the 60s and 70s. He expertly weaves the seemingly unconnected characters and their stories into a smooth and perfectly executed plot. An outstanding exploration of character, secrets and that dark underbelly of my hometown of Glasgow in the 1970s, “Welcome to the Heady Heights” is not to be missed!’

Chapter in My Life

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‘There’s a feeling of wanting hope for Archie, hope that the strives of life change for him. He’s got hope and optimism within his character that fits in rather well into the story. It isn’t overdone by any means. This is a book with plenty of  humour weaving through it as Glaswegian life goes on in both the East End and the more celebrity world. The author has great strands of a story in this book as we learn of character’s stories, that are then cleverly pulled together. All in all, this is a very original book with humour, but there is also a rawness of reality through its narritive. It’s worth picking up a copy and giving it a read’ Bookmarks and Stages

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‘This is the first book I have read by David F. Ross but it won’t be that last. I thoroughly enjoyed Welcome to the Heady Heights. His clearly strong views on Bohemian Rhapsody aside (okay, so the song makes literally no sense but I still like it), this book is a brilliant blend of humour and compelling story telling, both used to make the strong socio-political commentary about the endemic abuse of power among the elite far more palatable whilst still conveying a total sense of condemnation at what occurs. And above all else, it’s just bloody good fun with a dang good soundtrack to back it up. Top stuff’ Jen Meds Book Reviews

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‘This is the best mixture of dark and bight, heavy and light, fun and somber attitudes in a book that I have seen for a while! There are clearly intentional funny moments, and those that just are funny because they are. Without the humour, I perhaps would have struggled to read this, but as it is I found the balance perfect, and the book very enjoyable indeed! I will certainly be reading this again, and hopefully returning to this Author soon!’

Made Up Book Reviews

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Welcome to the Heady Heights has a dark but hugely entertaining humour which I thoroughly enjoyed.  This novel would be perfect for adapting for the TV.  Amongst the humour there is a darker side to this story and a part of me hopes that a sequel is in the pipeline.  I’d like to know more about what happens next for some of these characters and there were one of two that I certainly would like to see…. Well, I don’t want to spoil it for you.  Go read it, it’s fab.  Enjoy the grit, the rudeness and the fabulous seventies setting’ Tales Before Bedtime

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‘Ross evokes the atmosphere, politics and culture of a particular time in Glasgow’s history. He writes with warmth and dark humour, his affection for the city and its people shining through, and reading it brought to mind Colin MacInnes’ wonderful London novels. One of our best reads in a very long time, Welcome to the Heady Heights will join our Old Familiars, the books we revisit time and time again’ The Literary Shed

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‘This book is touted as a love letter to Glasgow, and given the subject matter and bleak tones of the book; you’d wonder how that could possibly be true. But in fact, it is! There’s a raw truth to the dialogue, descriptions of places and behaviours of characters that all lend an incredible credibility to Welcome to the Heady Heights. I’m no stranger to Glasgow and it’s great to read about places I can recognise in my head because I’ve been there … All in all, Welcome to the Heady Heights is a gritty, involving novel that isn’t afraid to go to some dark places, but always keeps the realism intact!’ A Novel Love

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‘I loved David Ross’s writing style, however I have to admit I did find myself reading it in a Scottish accent which defiantly helped with some parts.  He also paints how it was in the 1970s – not much technology and how people were treated especially in the workplace. Would defiantly recommend this book, especially if your a fan of  books set in the 70s’ Books Tea and All Things Me

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‘It isn’t only about the talent show scene. There is focus on the lifestyle of the working class. The alcohol and chip shop meals consumed. The larger than life characters and the untouchable wealthy. There is a journalist who refuses to stop asking questions and there is a female police officer who refuses to just be there to make tea. It’s very funny, and with the help of google at times in translating some of the Glaswegian slang it made an entertaining read. But alongside the humour there is also sadness. Archie’s loyalty to his father and the memories of his wife especially. It is a long time since I’ve read anything like it’ Stephs Book Blog

Reviews