Review: Stairway to Hell by Charlie Williams (Serpent’s Tail)

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Stairway to Hell by Charlie Williams
Published by Serpent’s Tail and out now in paperback
Review Copy

Rick Suntan is winner of Pub Idol for two years running. This can’t be bad for someone whose act is doing Cliff Richard covers at the local night club. The trouble is that his slot has been axed, and his girlfriend has dumped him for a ginger bloke, but it’s not all bad. He’s just found out that he’s the reincarnation of David Bowie.

Well reincarnation is a bit of a rouse really seeing as David Bowie is alive and kicking. Not to worry though as it seems that Jimmy Page in the 70s was involved in black magic and he experimented on a few people including Bowie moving their souls about explaining some odd changes in well known personalities at the time.

Rick isn’t really a likeable character, at least not at the start, but he is fascinating as are the people around him. It’s one of those first person tales that seems to bounce from on incident to the next with no real game plan other than Rick either trying to sort something out or him getting dragged into something.

What Charlie Williams does is keeps everything bouncing in tone, action and humour making Stairway to Hell an entertaining read. It does have a sort of dig at the delusions we all share that we are somehow more important than we are. By the end I’m not sure if Rick does have a little bit of David Bowie inside him. And for most of the book neither is Rick.

I think that’s what makes it most fun is that we see Rick’s arrogance and how he misinterprets peoples interest in him. He’s got himself caught up in some very bizarre stuff. But not so bizarre that you can’t see it happening in your home town.

If you’re into your 70s music you’re going to get a bonus kick out of this but for anyone with a passing knowledge of Cat Stevens, David Bowie and Jimmy Page there is more than enough fun to be had to see if there really is a Stairway to Hell and what ladder Rick is on.

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