Danny Garvey was a sixteen-year old footballing prodigy. Professional clubs clamoured to sign him, and a glittering future beckoned.
And yet, his early promise remained unfulfilled, and Danny is back home in the tiny village of Barshaw to manage the struggling junior team he once played for. What’s more, he’s hiding a secret about a tragic night, thirteen years earlier, that changed the course of several lives. There’s only one Danny Garvey, they once chanted … and that’s the problem.
What I Thought:
In my experience Orenda Books is really strong on Scandinavian crime fiction, but we find ourselves much closer to home here with There’s Only One Danny Garvey. Set in a mid-1990s Scotland, this book seems to defy categorisation with elements ranging from sports memoir to domestic drama with some clever twists thrown in.
On the surface, this is a story of a talented footballer who, after injury, is stuck coaching a junior team and is offered the chance to return to coach the team with which his glory days started but pretty quickly we realise that this is not a traditional homecoming and redemption story. There are huge complications here as Danny faces up to a brother in prison and the mother that he is certain never loved him near death from cancer, but these are not the only issues that Danny will need to resolve. Something happened thirteen years ago and coming home might have been the worst thing Danny could have done.
I was really impressed by how this book ended, especially so when I went back and realised that David F. Ross had been laying down a trail of clues all throughout the book – there were little tickles on the edges of my brain but their significance only dawned on me as the ending unfolded. It was beautifully done and beautifully tragic all in one.
As this book is set in Scotland – the author himself is Scottish – it was nice to read the dialogue in dialect – more books like this are welcome as it adds so much depth to the story to hear those voices telling their own stories.
I suppose because this book is set around the time I remember well and with affection, it was easy to get into and there were plenty of references that I was able to get hold of – although obviously David and I are on different sides of Euro 96 – but the hook into the book was only the start and it was easy to remain gripped by it and to be touched by the unique main character. Definitely recommended.
There’s Only One Danny Garvey is published by Orenda Books.
This post is part of a blog tour to celebrate the publication of There’s Only One Danny Garvey. why not check out some of the other blogs taking part (below) more additional content and reviews.
Please note: I received this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.