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by Nick Wray
Mam Tor Publishing, October 2009
224 pages
7.99 GBP
ISBN: 0954999878

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

A TRIBUTE TO ZED BEDDINGTON is a curious little offering from the small UK publisher Mam Tor. I suppose it's a thriller, with a hint of suspense. Whatever, it's an absolute gem.

I usually ignore the blurbs on covers, as they generally bear little resemblance to what's inside. But I have to point you in the direction of the one on the back of this book, which will give you the best possible flavour of what's inside:

"A TRIBUTE TO ZED BEDDINGTON is a tale of sex and drugs and Transit vans, motorways, amplifiers, ripped-off lyrics, creative accountancy, Mozart, life after death, home improvements and finding love where you least expect it."

Billy Silverthwaite is a bass player. Together with enigmatic drummer Otto Anderson and pretentious guitarist Danny McPhee, they make up the backing band for blues legend Zed Beddington. They tour non-stop, hauling up and down the UK in a battered van, churning out Zed's four chart hits to keep the audiences happy.

Then, one evening, Zed doesn't show up for a gig. And Billy, who by default appears to be the brains behind this dysfunctional unit, has to think fast to keep the show on the road.

According to the very brief biography of author Nick Wray in the back of the book, he's been a piano player in a succession of bands for the past 30 years without making it big. And the novel reeks of authenticity of struggling bands whose members have never quite grown up, slogging country-wide in smelly vans to gigs in grotty pubs and living on past minor glories.

Wray has a nicely understated, spare writing style which complements perfectly the rather bleak story he's telling. His previous published work is apparently an anthology of science fiction and fantasy short stories. On the evidence of A TRIBUTE TO ZED BEDDINGTON, he's found a niche in the crime fiction field.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, November 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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