*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: It’s been a blissful ten years since George put down his bass, left the Artful Badgers and vowed never to play in public again. But when tragedy strikes his best friend he’ll do anything to help.
Unfortunately that means going back out on the road, and this time he’s taking his daughter with him.
Alice has realised she wants more from her best friend than she is prepared to give and the band they have spent so long building up may not survive the fallout.
Luckily her dad has the perfect plan to take her mind off of it.
It might feel more like a support group than a band, but if George can’t keep it under control then it could destroy his best friend’s life, his daughter’s happiness and what’s left of his own sanity.
Join George, Alice, Tim and a whole host of familiar faces as George is dragged back into a world to which he hoped he’d never have to return.
The Ballad of Fat Labrador is the second book in Dave Holwill’s Weekend Rockstars lineup, and brings back George and his friends from the first book, but you don’t need to have read Weekend Rockstars (I hadn’t!) to follow the story and characters here. George and the gang are introduced naturally and effortlessly, and any necessary information is filtered through the current action as you go along.
The story follows George, his daughter Alice and his best friend Tim in the wake of a tragic loss in Tim’s life and a very stressful point in Alice’s life. George already had his mid-life crisis in the previous book (so we are reliably informed) and so is a stable and relatively sane presence as Tim and Alice blunder around, struggling to navigate their individual crisis points and find their new paths.
Dave Holwill’s writing style is straightforward and relatable; his characters are people you can and probably have met, his dialogue is authentic, and his love for making music strums between the lines on every page. The storyline doesn’t feature any big dramatic action scenes, flowery romances or riotuous comedic antics. Instead Holwill delivers a warm, witty tale about realistic people doing believable things. It didn’t take long at all for me to care about the characters, and by the end of the story I almost believed they were my friends and family!
Like the best kind of old friends and favourite songs, this book is comforting, warmly affectionate, and entertainingly funny. I highly recommend it!
‘George, George, I know what I have to do now,’ Tim says, running across the fading carpet in Pavlovian response to the sound of drinks being purchased, that old manic look returning to his eyes. ‘How to move on, carry on, live without him.’
‘What’s that then?’ George asks, leaning back and taking a sip from his fresh pint.
‘I’m going to start a band.’
‘A what?’ George replies, spilling lager all over the only suit he owns. ‘Are you out of your fucking mind?’
– Dave Holwill, The Ballad of Fat Labrador
The Ballad of Fat Labrador is available to buy on Amazon right now – in fact it launched today, so Happy Book Birthday Dave!
You can pop over here to find out what I thought of another book by the same author, The Craft Room.