Rockerhead – Peter Marshall

rockerhead

If you search for Hells Angels fiction on Amazon’s Kindle, once you discard the ones about angels and demons you’ll get page after page of romance titles featuring a hairy biker and his massive chopper next to some skinny bird who’s probably never had a hot throbbing motorcycle between her legs in her entire life. Presumably there’s a market for such books, but they don’t really appeal to me.

But tucked away on page three of the list you’ll find one called Rockerhead with a cover reminiscent of the old NEL books of the 1970s by Peter Cave and the like. The description mentions those books too, as does the writer’s introduction (which you will need to page-back to see, since it opens by default at chapter one).

The writer uses the name Peter Marshall, and goes to great lengths to point out it’s not his real name. Maybe he’s ashamed of the book, or doesn’t want to tarnish his current or future reputation by taking ownership of it, but he shouldn’t be. In a lot of ways it’s better than the original 1970s Hells Angels books he says he wrote it as a homage to. Most of those were pretty far-fetched, and barely more than a series of Asian or skinhead bashing set-pieces with minimal plot to tie them all together.

This one’s more of a revenge thriller with outlaw bikers in it. It has all the trappings you’d want from a Hells Angels book – bike chases, fisticuffs in the pub, petty crime, evading capture by the fuzz, even a bit of racist banter (though obviously toned down for today’s more sensitive readers).

Rockerhead is the nickname of the lead character, but everyone seems to call him Andy instead. He’s the leader of the pack, riding a BSA Thunderbolt with his Shangri Las style old lady Chrissy on the bitch-pad. Along with the rest of their gang they get up to assorted mischief during their annual run to seaside town Sidmouth, and soon get on the wrong side of Eastenders style cockney villain Jimmy Fitch.

The writer seems to know his stuff. There’s no motorcycle tyres screeching round bends, and no long, drawn out conversations between bike rider and passenger during a high speed chase like you find in a lot of books. So he’s either a biker himself or he’s at least done his homework. My only real quibble is with the naming of two of the supporting characters, Tosher and Tonner. The names are too similar, and you end up getting them mixed up with each other.

I’d recommend it if you grew up reading the old NEL books, like I did. And if you liked any of my books you should like this one too. It says it’s part of a series of “Retro Fiction” but it seems to be the only one available so far. Hopefully there will be others to come, but I’d guess that will depend on how well this one sells. It’s ebook only at the moment, and currently exclusive to the Amazon Kindle (though you could convert it to epub easily enough with Calibre if you needed to read it on something else).

It’d probably do better as a paperback, so if “Peter Marshall” reads this, get yourself over to Createspace and make one.

 

Get it here for 2 quid

 

 

 

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About Marcus Blakeston

Ex-shouting poet, ex-fanzine writer, ex-angry young man (now growing old disgracefully). Living in sunny Yorkshire with his wife, children and motorcycle, Marcus still has a healthy distrust of all forms of authority.
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One Response to Rockerhead – Peter Marshall

  1. Jaime Peters says:

    Hello, Marcus.

    Many thanks for taking the time to write about my novel, Rockerhead. I really enjoyed reading the review and was very pleased that someone had genuinely enjoyed it. It has had some nice reviews. (plus a poor one – but hey, C’est la vie) I only discovered this when a friend told me about your site and it’s like a breath of fresh air seeing the ‘retro’ genre evoking a sense of renewed interest. And it’s a profound pleasure to be amongst like-minded people. I think nostalgia is a brilliant accompaniment to writing: it actually fuels it.

    The reason I chose to write my novel under a pen-name or ‘pseudonym’ was because I also write horror fiction. I didn’t want the genres to clash because Rockerhead is a very different sort of novel. I was not ashamed of it – far from it. In fact I feel I may have found the niche I’ve been searching for. I know what I can do and more importantly, I know my limitations and the pulp genre is a nice place to be. :) I didn’t write Rockerhead for money (although the rewards are okay) but more out of a sense of passion and respect for a long-gone era that was far better than the one we have now. The book has sold quite a few copies but is far from hitting the dizzy heights of ‘best seller’. But I’ll be happy enough if it attains a sense of ‘cult status’. That would make my day.

    I’ve been a fan of NEL since the mid-70’s and I wrote this (as you astutely pointed out) as a homage to the likes of Peter L Cave, Mick Norman and Alex R Stuart. I grew up on those novels. But I wanted to take this novel further. I wanted to write a retro-biker novel that had an actual plot and to fuse a novel like this with gangland criminality wasn’t such a bad idea. It seemed to work well. The novel is beyond the usual 50,000 words that NEL authors seemed to anchor themselves to. I think Rockerhead was around 74,600 so I did cram as much as possible into it.

    To answer your question: Yes, I was a former biker and I did do my homework on what the UK Hells Angels were like. I was also into the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) as a teenager and I suppose that helped to craft my fiction. I once saw Peter Cave on the BBC ‘Arena’ programme in the mid-1990’s. It was called ‘Skinhead Farewell – The Richard Allen Documentary’ And he wrote ‘Chopper’ after talking to a few bikers. (He also got a few threats from them, too) It gave a nice background on some of the NEL books and their respective authors. I wish the BBC would do more to highlight the importance of how pulp fiction shaped the 70’s generation. And also how the 70’s generation shaped NEL pulp fiction.

    ‘Rockerhead’ will be part of a series and I’m writing a sequel to the novel. I’ll keep you posted when I finally get it completed. I think I’ll probably venture into other retro areas, but for now, I’ll develop what I’ve started.

    Marcus, many thanks again for writing this review. It’s been a joy to read it. I wish you every success in your own writing ventures because we are lucky to be part of something special in the field of fiction.

    Best wishes to you,

    Jaime Peters (Peter Mashall – author of Rockerhead).

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