Paul Davis’ Out of Time – A Dublin’s Mod’s Tale

Written by Matteo Sedazzari
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‘You don't know what's going on, You've been away for far too long, You can't come back and think you are still mine’ Chris Farlow – Out Of Time

Being in the know is a key element in Paul Davis’ Out of Time, a Dublin rite of passage and thriller set in the present and the mid 80’s mod scene of ‘the Pale’, which centres on Jools, a beautiful, streetwise and kind-hearted Mod, with no agenda other than the pursuit of happiness. Yet unfortunately, that quest can more often or not take a detour, or even end up at the wrong destination. Yet despite any setbacks, Jools and her wonderful array of Mod friends, always chase for the positive outcome, they live and breathe ‘Clean Living Under Difficult Circumstances.’

For Jools and her peers, ‘being in the know’, is not just about being innovative and creative in their appearance or being inspired by a sixties beat band or soul music from over the Atlantic. No, for them, ‘being in the know’, is a life-or-death situation, as one of Jools’ closest friends Robbo, a sharp-dressed Mod, and part-time dealer, has incurred a huge cash debt to the local crime boss, Freddie Collins, a man who relishes nailing debtor’s hands to trees around Dublin. The tone is set for a roller-coaster thriller, where Jools, Robbo and their posse have to play ‘cat and mouse’ with Freddie Collins, and where the lyrics from Secret Affair’s Time for Action, ‘Looking good's the answer, And living by night’ is fundamental to their survival.

Paul Davis, a Dublin lad and respected Mod DJ, has penned a powerhouse of a debut pulp fiction novel, that escalates in excitement as you delve further into the book, a slow burner that rapidly becomes a page-turner. From the onset Davis has created empathy with the key characters like Jools and Robbo, as he portrays their strengths and weakness, they are ‘everyman’, so the reader can relate to them, and those from Mod sensibilities, like myself, can relate to their obsession with certain music and certain fashion, yet you don’t have to be a Mod to root for Jools and Robbo. Along with these likeable and plausible leading characters, Davis has penned some fine fictional characters, like Dosser, the Mod wannabe, who would happily sell his own mother’s wedding ring, just to buy a Ben Sherman shirt. But Dosser isn’t just a pain in the backside, he’s the catalyst to the problems that these Mods encounter with Freddie Collins, the sociopath who clearly relishes distributing retribution. A colourful and sinister fictional villain, that do exist in every village, town and city across the world, a man that can turn on a sixpence, if you say something out of line.

Along with a strong plot, and in-depth characters, Davis revisits old haunts of his youth, like the legendary Mod Dublin Club ‘Bubbles’, and as I was reading his description of these young Mods dancing to classic Soul records, I could visualise their joy as they embrace the night.

Davis cleverly entwines the high and lows of a subculture in with that of the underbelly of Dublin, where the kids would rather ‘ Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights’ ( Dexys Midnight Runners- Geno).

Paul Davis’ Out of Time is a realistic and well-written novel, that is joyful and thrilling. Worthy reading that will keep ‘you in the know’…….

Out of Time out now on Amazon 

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Read 423 times Last modified on Sunday, 11 April 2021 11:27
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Matteo Sedazzari

Matteo Sedazzari

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