A debut novel with a lot of good things in it, Drive! is not only the name of the book, but the name of a band that main character, Terry, joins. Well, joins eventually, because McCallum Crawford keeps the reader in suspense for a good portion of the book. Drive! the band have problems, mainly the lack of a lead singer, and Terry has problems too, although more serious – his Dad is out to ruin his life, and is doing a good job of it. We know that he'll join Drive! though, and it's simply a matter of when. The setup isn't wasted, because it's packed with incidents which develop as the story unfolds later on.
McCallum Crawford writes dialect well, but occasionally overdoes his descriptive prose, using some particularly torturous similes. And although the story remains compelling throughout, the pace can be uneven. So, some small qualms, but the great achievement of the book is its depiction of the pub and club-centric music scene in Edinburgh in the 80s. This reader wasn't there, but was utterly convinced that this was how it was – anyone who was there is sure be enthralled by this fascinating debut novel. [Nat Smith]
Out now. Published by Skepdek Publishing. Available via Amazon, or through the book's Facebook page