Inspector Christy Kennedy novels
Inspector Starrett novels
(in reverse order—latest releases at the top)
The Last Dance
The Irish Showbands—with their high musicianmanship and ability to perform note-perfect the current hits from England and America—were a genuine phenomenon. They were so named in the late 1950s when the Clipper Carlton became the first band of travelling musicians to dump their seats and their music stands and start to move around the stage putting on a show. At one point in the early 1960's at the peak of the showband phenomenon, there were as many as 760 such bands criss-crossing the length and breadth of the land, putting on shows for the new generation.
The perfect timing of this phenomenally successful trend could have had something to do with the fact that it was started by the first post-Second World War generation—encouraged perhaps by the new infectious sounds they were hearing on the wireless. Equally, the dancing craze might have lifted off because the teenagers who came of age after WW2 sensed that The Troubles were just around the corner. Anyway it didn't really matter what the reason was; no, not even in the slightest. This particular generation just wanted to get out of their houses, let their hair down and dance. They worked hard, were paid little and so they needed to enjoy themselves. And enjoy themselves they did!
Ostensibly The Last Dance is the story of The Playboys of Castlemartin—a now forgotten big band from the heyday of the showband era in the late 1950s and early 1960s—and the band members. The Last Dance is, at its core, a love story. Written in the style of a band biography that explores the rise and dramatic demise of The Playboys, The Last Dance focuses on the journey of Martin Dean (McClelland) from small town boy to song writer and lead singer of the Playboys. Along the way it tells the complicated story of his love affair with Hanna Hutchinson, his friend from childhood who grew to be much more.
ORDER THE BOOK:
Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones UK
New Island Books, paperback, June 2012, ISBN: 978-1848401426
"Romeo and Juliet to the sounds of the Hucklebuck."
—Martin McGinley—Derry Journal
"This is a book that's easy to like, with a keen and clear eye for the times, a genuine sympathy for the characters and an obvious regard for the showbands themselves."
"The Last Dance is at its core a love story."
"Mixing nostalgia with humour, Charles gets to the core of what was for its time a glamorous environment full of mystery, mystique and promise, but he also has a deft touch that can make the romance between McCelland and his childhood friend Hanna Hutchinson crackle with drama. This is about as close to the real thing as it's possible to get... you have to remind yourself time and time again this is fiction."
—Jackie Hayden, Music Book of the Fortnight, Hot Press
"The Last Dance is an evocative, engaging and entertaining trip in the company of The Playboys."
"He writes a compelling story that the reader can't wait to finish yet they never want it to end."
—Ivan Martin, The Sunday World
"It is well written... He includes a series of well-researched statistics and he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the decade's most successful showbands. His book, evocative, nostalgic and written with a wry humour will bring back fond memories."
—Sam Smyth, Irish Independent
"Brimming with wry humour and appreciation for the genre, it provided insight into the history of a great showband and lives of those at its heart. Nostalgic and funny The Last Dance with stay with you long after the final page."
"It's a story full of nostalgia and written with wry humour; well worth checking out."
"Sweatin' and pettin' in the Sixties."
—Sam Smyth, Irish Independent
"Paul Charles' latest venture into fiction conjures up the magic of those wild years in Ireland superbly... The Last Dance is a requiem for the times in which it is set."
—Colm O'Hare, Hot Press
"An entertaining read."
—BBC Radio Manchester
"A vivid page-turner packed with believable three-dimensional characters. The Last Dance also serves as a loose history of a country in transition and the birth of the beat group era. Charles with a laconic style, the easy pace of the action and the lyrical dialogue of his characters transports readers to a more innocent time and place."
—Terry Staunton, 4 Star Review, Record Collector
"It's a history of that musical era which no-one else could have written... this towering novel... the best book ever about that time in the 1960s when we spent too much time in the ballrooms of romance. You will be intrigued all the way to the last page."
—Eddie McIlwaine, The Belfast Telegraph
"Paul Charles perfectly captures the magic of the showbands. Setting the novel against the backdrop of real drama and stories anchors the entire book and grabs the attention from the start. Paul has written this book so brilliantly you really are convinced that The Playboys were probably one of those bands you missed out on along the way."
—Michael Commins, The Farmers Journal
"The Last Dance is a new book that fans of the showband era will thoroughly enjoy. Great read."
—Eddie Rowley, The Sunday World
"Evoking the lost world of the Irish showbands of the 1960s with the affectionate eye of an insider, The Last Dance is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand where Irish music has come from—and the extraordinary forces that were at work, in a time of tempestuous social change and sexual enlightenment."
—Niall Stokes, Hot Press
First Of The True Believers
The autobiography of Theodore Hennessya novel concerning the Beatles.
The Beatles formed in 1959, and by March 1964, every one of the top five singles in the American Billboard chart was theirs. They had become a worldwide pop sensation and their hometown of Liverpool was the centre of the thriving British music industry. Among other less celebrated Merseybeat groups of the time were The Nighttime Passengers, led by Theo Hennessy whoaccording to his own testimony, at leastvery nearly replaced Pete Best as the drummer of the 'Fab Four'.
First Of The True Believers tells of a decade in the life of Theodore Hennessey. It begins in the late 1950s with his first meeting with the beautiful and elusive Marianne Burgess, and follows their subsequent on-off love affair and his rise to prominence as a musician and a music agent. Undaunted by his near miss, Theo remains an enthusiastic Beatles fan and he follows their progress with interest.
First Of The True Believers charts the rise of the Beatles through the eyes and ears of a fan, from their early days in Hamburg, through the years of pop stardom to the bitter break-up that signalled the end of the 'Decade of Love'.
The Beatles provided the definitive soundtrack to the Sixties, and in First Of The True Believers, novelist and musicologist Paul Charles combines their phenomenal story with a tender-hearted tale of sex, love and rock 'n' roll in the sixties Liverpool.
ORDER THE BOOK:
IndieBound | Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones UK
Do-Not Press, paperback, October 2002, ISBN: 978-1899344789
Factual Music Books
The Complete Guide to Playing Live
An invaluable "how to" book for anyone planning to get started playing live on the gigging circuit. Covering everything from putting a band together to finding agents, managers, lawyers, accountants, promoters, and road crews, this is the ultimate manual for survival on the road.
Using sample expense sheets, Playing Live, shows where the money comes from... and, where it goes! Everything from concerts, radio and television, to merchandising, sponsorship and how to assemble your road crews.
ORDER THE eBOOK:
Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble
Omnibus Press, paperback, March 2004, ISBN: 978-0711998353
"For all those who dream of being the next Beatles, Paul Charles' latest book is an absolute de riguer purchase. A step-by-step guide to making a career in rock music whilst avoiding being shafted at every turn. Playing Live is essential reading. Enlivened and enriched by Charles' down-to-earth style, dry wit and superbly delivered anecdotal insights, this comprehensive guide leaves no stone unturned in its attempt to guide bands through the pitfalls and pratfalls of 'making it'... What makes this guide essential however is that Charles really does know the business inside out. His work with Tom Waits, Van Morrison, Jackson Browne and The Undertones (among many others) has set a benchmark for quality within the industry. Playing Live is as important to a new band setting out on their career as is remembering to pack the guitar leads before heading off on their first gig."
(5 stars), Colin Hall, What's On In London
"The best stuff is about how to make money from playing your music and how to avoid being ripped off at every stage. If your serious about your music career this book is a wise investment."
"Most entertaining of all are the anecdotes, and it's possible to read this book without possessing an ounce of musical ambition and still enjoy it."
HOW TO SUCCEED IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS (Pocket Essentials)
How to succeed in the music business...
ORDER THE BOOK:
Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble
Pocket Essentials, paperback, August 2002, ISBN: 978-1904048060
The best review quote:
"If you sit at home thinking: 'The music business. That's a glamorous business. Loads of girls/boys, drugs, booze and loads of dosh: I'll have a bit of that' ... then if I were you I'd think again."
The Evening Standard