The Last Days of Disco – David F. Ross


Orenda signature published December 2014 by Orenda Books


the last days of disco


Early in the decade that taste forgot, Fat Franny Duncan is on top of the world. He is the undoubted King of the Ayrshire Mobile Disco scene, controlling and ruling the competition with an iron fist. From birthdays to barn dances, Franny is the man to call. He has even played ‘My Boy Lollipop’ at a funeral and got away with it. But the future is uncertain. A new partnership is coming and is threatening to destroy the big man’s Empire … Bobby Cassidy and Joey Miller have been best mates since primary school. Joey is an idealist; Bobby just wants to get laid and avoid following his brother Gary to the Falklands. A partnership in their new mobile disco venture seems like the best way for Bobby to do both at the same time. With compensation from an accident at work, Bobby’s dad Harry invests in the fledgling business. His marriage to Ethel is coming apart at the seams and the disco has given him something to focus on. Tragic news from the other side of the world brings all three strands together in a way that no one could have predicted. The Last Days of Disco is a eulogy to the beauty and power of the 45rpm vinyl record and the small but significant part it played in a small town Ayrshire community in 1982. Witty, energetic and entirely authentic, it’s also heartbreakingly honest, weaving tragedy together with comedy with uncanny and unsettling elegance. A simply stunning debut. ‘Full of comedy, pathos and great tunes’ Hardeep Singh Kohli ‘Warm, funny and evocative. If you grew up in the Eighties, you’re going to love this’ Chris Brookmyre

My thoughts

I always love a story rooted in the 1980s. I lived through the 1980s and they were brilliant. In the novel, we get a real sense of 1982, with Margaret Thatcher taking the country to war and mass unemployment. Ross cleverly gives us wonderful music and lots of television and cultural references. I defy anyone not to be humming ‘Shaking Stevens’ when reading this. You will.

This is a funny, charming, slightly crazy and intelligent tale of a working class family living in 1982 Kilmarnock, Scotland. The number of times I chuckled to myself, whilst reading and then was moved by the sadness of the later chapters. There is a lovely Scottish feel to the language. As an English lass, I feel that I can speak proper Scottish after reading this. You can practically feel and taste the true authentic vibe of Kilmarnock in ‘The Last Days of Disco’, flowing through the language.

We get to know the Cassidy family; Bobby who is setting up his mobile disco ‘Heatwave’, Gary who joins the army, the daughter, Hettie and and their unhappily married Mum and Dad, Ethel and Harry. The story focuses on Bobby who has set up his mobile disco to rival the rather funny mobile disco gangster boss of the area, Fat Franny. I love Fat Franny. I love his name. Some of the scenes with Bobby and his best mate are excellent, as they get up to all kinds of mischief. And I was particularly interested in Gary and his army adventures.

This is a terrific read. It is retro comic magic. You get social commentary, laughs and a genuine feeling of 1980s Scotland. I loved it. It will make you want to get out your 1980s music and relive the era.


Thanks to Liz and Orenda Books for my review copy 🙂

About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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6 Responses to The Last Days of Disco – David F. Ross

  1. As someone who grew up in the 80s, this really appeals to me – sounds great!

  2. crimeworm says:

    This sounds just up my street (even if I was in primary school back then!) I enjoy books that use colloquiallisms, especially when it’s a language you’re familiar with. We can test your ability to speak Scottish if you come up for Bloody Scotland lol!

  3. FictionFan says:

    Ooh, this sounds like a lot of fun, and I know Ayrshire quite well having worked there for several years. Very tempting… 🙂

  4. Sarah says:

    I love the eighties too. This book looks great.

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