It’s 1963. Billy Driscoll and his best mate, Peter ‘Rooksy’ Rooker, have the run of their street. Whether it’s ogling sexy mum, Madge, as she pegs out her washing, or avoiding local bully Griggsy, the estates and bombsites of Pimlico have plenty to fire their fertile imagination.
Billy is growing up and after years of being the puny one, he’s finally filling out. He is also taking more than a passing interest in Sarah Richards, his pretty neighbour. But he isn’t her only admirer – local heartthrob and rotten cheat, Kenneth ‘Kirk’ Douglas, likes her too – something drastic must be done if Billy is to get his girl.
When Rooksy suggests a day out with Sarah and her shy friend, Josie, it seems like the perfect summer outing. Little do they know that it will be a day of declarations and revelations; of secrets and terrifying encounters – and that it will change them all forever…
The Pimlico Kid by Barry Walsh was published by Harper Collins on 4 July 2013.
Set in Pimlico, London in the 1960s, The Pimlico Kid is narrated by Billy Driscoll. Billy and his mates live on a street inhabited by a bunch of vibrant characters who have been drawn so authentically by Barry Walsh. This is a story that is clearly written from the heart and I'd guess that it also part-memoir, as the novel buzzes with authenticity.
Billy and his friend Rooksy are normal adolescent boys who have discovered the joy of the female form, in the main, they are obsessed with breasts, and find themselves in many scrapes due to their increasing curiosity and the availability of places in the street where they can spy on their female neighbours - young and old.
However, Billy is at heart, a gentle and sensitive boy who loves to read. He has suffered with asthma for many years and this has meant that instead of taking part in all the rough and tumble games, he often has to stay indoors and rest. He loves the library and has a special friend in the librarian there.
Barry Walsh has structured The Pimlico Kid perfectly. Each chapter is a snapshot into Billy's life. Whether it is the joyous and light hearted street party, or the quite dark and more serious issue of domestic violence and abuse, the writing is incredibly perceptive and although it is very nostalgic, it is never sentimental.
The story of a summer in London. A coming of age story and a look back at recent history. The Pimlico Kid is engaging and vivid.
I met the author, Barry Walsh at the launch party for The Judas Scar by Amanda Jennings earlier this year, and I'd like to thank him for sending my copy for review.
Barry Walsh grew up in the heart of the 'Great Metrollops' during the 60s and thought belatedly
that there might be a story in it. The result is The Pimlico Kid, a story of 'first love'. He is now writing his second novel.
When not writing, Barry enjoys cycling, watching Arsenal, holidays in France, listening to Neil Young and gazing at Audrey Hepburn's face. He is a trustee of the world's oldest youth club – St Andrew's – and believes that London might just be the centre of the universe. He is married with two daughters.
For more information visit his website www.bjwalsh.com
Follow him on Twitter @bjwalsh