A failed writer connects the murder of an American journalist, a drowned 80s musician and a Scottish politician’s resignation, in a heart-wrenching novel about ordinary people living in extraordinary times.
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…
Hi and welcome to my review of Dashboard Elvis is Dead!
Wow. Just… wow. Who would have thought a book with a title referring to an Elvis doll could have my head and heart spinning?! Although, come to think of it, after Danny Garvey, I should have at least considered the possibility.
To put it mildly, I found Dashboard Elvis is Dead quite the reading experience. Spanning continents and decades while telling the story of only a few people, it felt simultaneously intimate and epic. An ambitious book with an expansive scope for sure, but David F. Ross pulled it off and Dashboard Elvis is an absolute pleasure to read and a perfect slice of bookish escapism.
Some of the best fiction is fiction that makes you wonder whether or not you’re actually reading fiction, and that is exactly what Dashboard Elvis did to me. By involving the characters in real world events and thanks to the authentic, realistic manner in which they are portrayed, I felt like I was reading about real people, emphasised by the fact that the author is also a character in this book (albeit referred to as a “prick” as well as “another monumental cunt” 😳😬). I really do love it when authors write themselves into their own books.
It’s incredibly difficult to describe how this book made me feel, the range of emotions I went through and how much it made me ponder life in general as well as the impact seemingly rather meaningless events or decisions might have on the rest of your life.
This quote sums it up perfectly:
Of how ordinary people – strangers – exist in extraordinary times, until random acts and coincidental occurrences throw them together, and the direction of their lives are forever altered and entwined.
Dashboard Elvis is Dead is a stunning piece of historical and contemporary fiction. Nothing I can say can do it justice, just read it and you’ll know what I mean.
There’s no truth, only perspective…
And from my perspective, Dashboard Elvis is Dead is one to add to your shelves ASAP. Highly recommended.
Dashboard Elvis is Dead is out on 8 December. Pre-order directly from Orenda Books here.
Massive thanks to Orenda Books for the eARC. All opinions are my own.