I’m delighted to welcome you today to my publication day stop on the blog tour for the sensational Dashboard Elvis Is Dead by David F. Ross. Thank you as always to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book.
About the book:
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…
About the author:
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.
How do I even begin to write a review of the incredible Dashboard Elvis Is Dead by David F. Ross? Do I begin by talking about the exquisite writing? Or the larger than life characters who eased their way into my heart before taking hold and squeezing every little bit of emotion out of it? Or should I start with how the eighties are brought so vividly to life that I was instantly transported back to the decade of my teenage years? I could begin with any one of those things, but none could ever convey just how much in love I am with this book. How it got under my skin and tore my heart into a million pieces. How could I ever put all of that into a single review? I’m not sure I can, so all I can do is try.
Beginning in the wake of the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum, renowned photo journalist Jude Montgomery arrives in Glasgow where it soon becomes apparent that she’s looking for someone. Is it Anna Mason, who will go on to become First Minister? Or is it eighties one hit wonder Jamie Hewitt, guitarist from eighties band The Hyptones? Or could it be her estranged foster sister, the world famous artist Rabbit?
Three very different people with seemingly unconnected stories, but who share a devastating secret from forty years earlier that changed their lives forever. We begin at the end, with Jude reaching her final destination. But what we don’t know is the journey she has been on to lead her there. And so we move back in time to 1983, to Jude’s hometown in Texas where something terrible happens. From there to an eighties roadtrip across the American West, taking in San Francisco and New York, a journey that eventually culminates in Glasgow with a final, shocking event that can only be explained by one person…
The story is told mainly from the perspective of two people: Jude and guitarist Jamie Hewitt. Jamie, whose band the Hyptones once appeared to be on the cusp of something great, only for it all to come crashing down. And Jude, whose life has been anything but easy, but who I couldn’t help but fall in love with. She is one of those characters who I know will stay with me forever. For me Jude is the linchpin that holds the story together, slowly burrowing her way under my skin before taking up residence in my heart. I adored her as a character and ached for her as her story unfolded.
With much of the story taking place in a time and place very different to today, some of the language used is shocking but nevertheless felt authentic to the era in which it was set. David F. Ross’s writing is second to none as he brings difficult themes to the forefront, with the harsh reality of life in 1980s America brought so vividly to life it almost felt as though I was there. There is so much more I could say, but this is a book that you really need to experience for yourself. It’s raw, original, and brutally honest in its portrayal of the 1980s, a decade I remember so well from my own teenage years.
A unique and thought provoking read, Dashboard Elvis Is Dead is a book unlike any I have ever read before. Exquisitely written by David F. Ross, it is a book that took me from 1980s America all the way through to Scotland in the wake of the 2014 Independence Referendum. And I loved every single word of it!
Dashboard Elvis Is Dead by David F. Ross is available to purchase now: