‘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.‘
(Dashboard Elvis is Dead – Publisher Quote)
[ Synopsis ]
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…
[ My Review of Dashboard Elvis is Dead ]
Dashboard Elvis is Dead by David F. Ross will publish 8th December with Orenda Books and is described as ‘an extraordinary, gritty and tender novel about fate and destiny, regret and absolution – and a road trip that changes everything…’
Some reviews are more challenging to write than others, and this is one. In January 2021, I read and reviewed There’s Only One Danny Garvey by David F. Ross. At the time, I wrote that it was a book ‘that punches you in the gut and leaves you in no doubt that you have read something raw, something authentic, something very remarkable’. When I heard that Orenda Books were going to publish Dashboard Elvis is Dead, I got very excited. There are writers who tick every single box and, for me, David F. Ross is one of them.
Dashboard Elvis is Dead takes the reader on the most extraordinary journey from Glasgow to the US, crossing periods of time from the 1980s onwards. The intricacy of the storyline is astounding. The attention to detail is mind-blowing. The narrative and dialogue are remarkable.
Jude Montgomery has established herself as an acclaimed photo-journalist in the States. On a visit to Scotland she recalls her own past, from her early years in Texas to where she finds herself now. Jude Montgomery had a very tough childhood, one she was only too happy to leave behind as soon as she could. Her adventures took her on a road trip in the 80s across the American West, traversing borders and embarking on a multitude of experiences which left her permanently scarred. In 2014 she makes a decision to travel to Glasgow in search of a truth. But what is it?
In the 1980s James Hewitt was the lead guitarist of The Hyptones, a Glaswegian band that had dreams and potential. Unfortunately their career was short-lived and they fell victim to being a one-hit-wonder after James, and his fellow band mates, fell foul to numerous difficulties. They did manage a brief tour in the US but then it all came to a very sudden end. What was the real truth behind The Hyptones demise?
Anna Mason is a Scottish politician with the drive and ambition to become First Minister. But Anna Mason has her own story to tell, her own secrets to keep. When Jude Montgomery comes knocking on her door, Anna Mason wants nothing to do with her. Some memories do not need to be resurrected and Anna Mason wants her past to remain exactly there, in the past. But why?
Rabbit is a world-renowned artist with a base in Glasgow. Jude Montgomery is her foster sister. An event happened many years ago that put more than a physical border between the two sisters. Rabbit does not want anything more to do with Jude. They are connected through a shared history but Rabbit has distanced herself from her roots. What happened to cause this division between Jude and Rabbit?
Anna Mason, James Hewitt and Rabbit are three individuals with no apparent connection to each other yet there are invisible threads forever binding them. Jude Montgomery might just be the missing piece in this complex jigsaw. What is it that Jude knows that could possibly connect all three?
In this epic novel, David F. Ross delves into humanity and what it means to be alive, to feel, to exist, whether it be through good times or bad. He turns a seemingly complex tale into an addictive and very vivid experience that leaves the reader in complete shock. The characters are all depicted in the most outstanding fashion, with a gritty dialogue and a wealth of visual descriptions creating a totally immersive experience.
Dashboard Elvis is Dead is powerful, dynamic and forceful. It is a unique read, overwhelmingly intense and, at times, brutal. It is an exceptional novel from an exceptional writer, quite simply breath-taking.
So, with all that in mind, I’ll make it very easy for you – you can pre-order now from Orenda Books. Please do let me know your thoughts.
[ Bio ]
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 Vespas and The Man Who Loved Islands, soon followed by Welcome to the Heady Heights.
In 2021, David’s gritty, richly authentic novel There’s Only One Danny Garvey was published, creating an extraordinary wave of acclaim from booksellers, press and readers alike, and comparisons drawn with Shuggie Bain. David lives in Ayrshire.
Twitter – @dfr10.