Welcome to the Heady Heights is a novel that exposes an era. The setting choice of 1970’s Glasgow and the character of Archie Blunt and his various acquaintances are dissected under a David F. Ross scalpel. The instruments Ross uses in this operation are an unflinching awareness of the period, an ear for the vernacular of his subjects, a sharp humour, enveloped in despair and depression and delivered with anger, empathy and warmth.
Protagonist, Archie Blunt, has reached a new low. There is not a lot to look to in his future. But, out of the quagmire, which is gradually stripping him of what little pleasures remain, an opportunity arises. New possibilities and an opportunity to realize a dream beckon in the world of showbusiness. When the inevitable collision takes place between Showbiz ‘Heady Heights’, corrupt politicians and the police in the Glasgow underworld, and with Archie Blunt thrown into the mix, there is great scope for Ross to use his observational scatter gun.
It is in the description of Glasgow in the ’70s and the characters and personalities populating his novel that a connection will be made with anyone who was there during those years. Those connections have a resonance still found, with other cities and people, past and to this day. Parallel political and criminal chicanery in society still leaves room for the individual skilled or hapless entrepreneur.
The language and the description from Ross is raw but at the same tie accurate, rounded, funny and fond. There are some lapses in pace as he moves the story forward and ties up the loose ends with some of the cast as the reader heads to the conclusion, but perhaps it just allows more time to appreciate the achievement of fireworks in the arrival of Welcome to the Heady Heights.