Second Review of my new book Party Time, the prequel to Hard Time

By Steven McLaughlin, author of Clubland UK and Squaddie

Shaun Attwood is one of life's gifted people. When he was young his gift was for numbers. Now he is older that gift has been supplanted by a gift for words. But it is a gift that has been well earned and paid for, in losses of freedom and opportunity that most of us can scarcely imagine. And the gift that he has to offer in the telling of his tale is one that we'd be wise to seize and ponder - because his gift is a lesson to us all.

Party Time is a book that succeeds on many levels and Shaun Attwood is a writer of brilliance, wit and sensitivity. He is an outstandingly gifted raconteur and his ability to portray human emotion stretched taut as piano wire, caught up in a nightmare of spiralling drug addictions and Faustian pacts with deranged, tragicomic gangsters, is a bittersweet joy to behold. His writer's voice slips effortlessly from observational, to conversational, to stream of conscious - and never once does he lose we the reader. Shaun takes us on a roller coaster ride of desperate highs and lows, which veer from rocket-fuelled joy to slow-motion car-wreck, as his glittering Las Vegas lifestyle burns out in merciless desert heat - an apex predator turned roadkill, scorched into the sands. If ever a cautionary tale was written then this is it.

Laced with warmth and humanity, Party Time is more than just a crime tale; it's a story of friendship, innocence lost, the ties that bind and riches that blind. Underpinning the drama is Shaun's touching and at times misguided sense of responsibility towards his man-child enforcer and childhood protector `Wild Man' - an earthy force of nature who is as physically powerful and destructive as a Mid-West typhoon. Their shared loyalty is an unbreakable, almost telepathic bond that carries dangers in itself - the one area in which Shaun's razor sharp intellect fails him.

When Wild Man trips out so far that he baits infamous Mafioso `Sammy the Bull' Gravano as a `Plastic Gangster' and actively seeks out violence with his crew it is an unintentionally hilarious - but incredibly perilous - crisis for Shaun to damage control and mediate back to peace. And yet he does - time and again using his instinctive gifts to bail out his bear-like pal from all manner of situations. Wild Man rewards Shaun's care with an utterly fearless and unswerving devotion; he is Shaun's not-so-secret weapon and is able to resolve almost any situation by the mere fact of his presence and his aura of a man that is prepared to go to any lengths to protect his friend - even at the cost of himself. As Wild Man succinctly puts it: “you're the brains and I'm the brawn la.” There is never a second's doubt that each man will come through for the other - be it with cash, muscle, a helping hand or a helping fist.

The mental image of these two fiercely bonded Englishmen and their eccentric friendship conquering America's notoriously tough drug scene is one that lingers in the mind long after reading - it is an image that was made for the movies and belongs on the big screen. I look forward to seeing that happen.

If you've ever been involved in clubland and heard the distant wail of blue flashing lights, the close din of rushing boots, the breaking of a bottle, or the harsh utterance of guttural threats and known that `they' are coming for you, then Party Time will resonate like a pounding drum machine. And if you haven't then you'll certainly learn something about what goes on at the business end of the rave equation - behind the dancing and the getting high.

Click here for Party Time’s webpage and Amazon links, including chapter 1:

Click here for the first review of Party Time by journalist Mike Peake:

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