5.0 out of 5 stars A rival for Welsh?, 4 Nov 2008
Firstly I would like to say that this book was so unputdownable, I deliberately took a bus ride home from a meeting that I knew would take me an hour and a half, rather than the train, just so I could carry on reading this novel!
The Beatle Man tells the story of a young Glasgow lawyer who finds himself embroiled in a strange world which initially is disjointed and confusing but over the course of the novel the many threads became entwined and the story and all becomes clear. Danny, the protagonist is rather young, dumb and full of.....himself and at times you find yourself exasperated at how stupid he is but that isn't a criticism of the author more a reflection of how young men operate.
The book reminds me at time of Bedroom Secrets of the Masterchefs by Irvine Welsh and indeed Liddell's writing is very similar to Welsh but without the `Scottishness'. It is full of hooks and twists and turns that keeps you reading until the end and despite Danny's boneheadedness, you can't help but like him and stick with him.
I can truly say this book was a joy to read - not too long, funny in parts, touching in others. I can't recommend it enough.
4.0 out of 5 stars Hey Bulldog!, 29 Jan 2009
It's a tricky business, this book reviewing lark.
Too harsh a review and you come across as an embittered never was, a non-writer who's jealous of those who can. Too nice and you sound like a mewling sycophant!
Luckily, this book - without being perfect - is obviously not rubbish but rather is an effectively written and tightly plotted thriller somewhat in the Rebus mode.
It starts well, with a firm authorial hand on the tiller as the narrative kicks off in faintly comedic strain. The various characters are introduced in a steady early stream and each proves to be engaging and interesting, while the central conceit of the title (a presumably mentally ill man who speaks only in Beatles' lyrics, and the effect his passage through life has on those around him) is just odd enough to hold the attention.
All of which would be worthless if the plot was weak or uninvolving. Fortunately, the story of how Danny McColl collides with the terrible Finch family and appoints himself a sort of weirdly ineffectual protector for those who live in his new stair (including the Beatle Man) is well told by the author and comes to a satisfyingly twisted conclusion which ties up every loose end.
Don't get me wrong: like I said at he start, this book isn't perfect. There is perhaps a slight tendency to lean in the direction of caricature (Asian shopkeeper, Glaswegian wideboy, posh lawyer who likes a drink and the ladies and so on) and the writing does at times seem unsure if it wants to be a more chatty, less idiotic Irvine Welsh or a 'proper' gritty crime novel, but these failings - such as they are - are never enough to adversely effect the narrative.
All in all, this is both an excellent first novel and a good novel full-stop.
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read..., 3 Feb 2009
I have to admit that when I picked this book up I wasn't entirely sure that it was my cup of tea, but once I started reading I couldn't stop. There's a lot to take in at first, but as things start falling into place you just can't help yourself reading a little more, and a little more...and a little more!
For anyone who is fond of Irvine Welsh or Iain Banks, it's definitely worth a read. There's plenty of giggles in there and bucketloads of intrigue - it keeps you guessing right up to the last chapter.
Click that Buy Button and enjoy, and in the meantime I'm holding out for Book #2!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great promise from a new writer..., 16 Mar 2009
An imaginatively complex plot, an array of interesting characters and the wit and turn of phrase to go with it, result in an entertaining debut from Scott Liddell.
The pace builds towards the end as the threads are drawn together and the climactic scenes unfold (no spoilers here!)
Well worth a read, and I look forward to the next one.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Stuff, 21 Nov 2008
I've thoroughly enjoyed reading this book from start to finish. The threads are brought together well with some well-placed misdirection adding to the enjoyment. Many of the scenes in Glasgow were nicely familiar and the comedic moments had me chuckling (attracting bemused glances in the coffee shop!)