‘Rebel Without A Cause’
meets ‘A Hard Day’s Night’
TRAVELERS ON THE 9:09
Engaging…illuminating…a gripping page turner of a historical crime novel | ★★★★★
Set in early 1960s’ Liverpool, this engaging and illuminating combination of crime thriller and recent history takes us to the heart of the Merseyside social scene shortly before The Beatles made their spectacularly successful claim on fame. In sharp contrast to the Fab Four’s lovable mop-top public image, this is a world of bitter jealousies and ruthless self-interest, street fights, gang violence, internecine rivalries, illegal homosexuality, blackmail and murder.
Like their first film A Hard Day’s Night, this novel version of John, Paul, George, Ringo and their manager Brian Epstein invites the audience to eavesdrop on credible conversations and interactions, here vividly presenting them as the complex and sometimes cruel human beings that existed before and behind the two-dimensional publicity hype of Beatlemania.
Alongside the real-life characters – also including contemporary musicians and club promoters in Hamburg and England – the plot introduces a fictionalised Raymond Jones, whose legendary real-life namesake played a walk-on part in the fate of The Beatles as the man who asked music shop owner Epstein for their first recording.
Nicknamed Spike as an apt homage to Milligan of the Goons, this endearing young man is an art-school drop out, bass guitarist, lover, fighter and cheerful dogsbody to anyone and everyone - club managers, bands and private detectives. As an all-round man-on-the-scene, his entertaining access-all-areas activities fill out the context of the Beatles’ backstory.
Prior knowledge or interest in The Beatles as a real phenomenon is not essential, as The One After 9:09 is a gripping page-turner in its own right, but there’s an added pleasure for the cognoscenti in spotting familiar lyrics and titles woven into the narrative, and perhaps reconsidering opinions of over-familiar people and events. It’s one of those books that leaves you wanting more after the last page, and ripe for a sequel, because it ends just after they’ve replaced drummer Pete Best with Ringo and recorded 'Please Please Me'.
Shirley Brown | Book Editor | UK | 9 October 2015
(on what would have been John Lennon’s 75th birthday)
The Backbeat of Beatlemania | ★★★★★
A tale of money, promoters, ambition, culture, rival rock and roll clubs, and young men bent on causing as much trouble as possible …of Brian Epstein and his desperate desire to manage The Beatles to fame and fortune …of deals, double-dealing, failures and success. A book very hard to set down. Well recommended.
Gregory C. Randall | Author | Chicago Swing | The Sharron O’Mara Chronicles | The Face of Evil | Blogger |
writing4death.blogspot | USA | 10 September 2015
The One After 9:09.
Something to savor! It has the power to take you right THERE!!!! Liverpool and The Beatles in the early Sixties!
Jo Perry | Author | Dead Is Better | USA | 16 August 2015
Outstanding!!! | ★★★★★
The One After 9:09: A Mystery With A Backbeat.
This book is fantastic...I couldn't put it down! Although I grew up in London in the 60's I felt that Tony Broadbent captured the essence of living in 60's Liverpool during the "Beat Boom". Characters that we know so well from Beatles history—like Sam Leach, Bob Wooler and Brian Epstein—just come to life and become so much more endearing. The "mystery" that is so beautifully woven into the story makes for great reading, and you'll love the characters of Spike and Sandra. I'd recommend this book to everyone....and especially to all Beatles fans!
Terry Wetton | Singer-Songwriter | Sometimes…I Miss England | Simply Love | USA | 9 October 2015
"It's Fab" | ★★★★★
In the early 60's, Liverpool was ground zero for inventiveness in popular music, to be followed shortly thereafter by Detroit and San Francisco. What a decade!
Tony Broadbent incisively depicts this period in Liverpool's history as if he was there. The voices of the famous (the Beatles and their entourage) are pitch perfect, the musical frames of reference spot on, and the characters he invents to round out the feel of early 60's Liverpool put you right on the street, queuing up to get into the Cavern.
If you're a fan of the Beatles, you'll be fanatic about this book.
Mike Radesky | The Bay Area's #1 Mystery Fan | #1 Beatles' Fan | USA | 8 August 2015
A Labour of Love, Gratitude and Affection… |
The One After 9:09: A Mystery With A Backbeat |
Plain Sight Press, 2015
The mystery in the sub-title concerns the story related in Beatles-manager-to-be Brian Epstein’s autobiography A Cellarful of Noise about how he was first alerted to the Beatles existence by one Raymond Jones coming into the record department of his family’s furniture store and asking for 'My Bonnie', the record they made in Germany with singer Tony Sheridan. Tony Broadbent has been working on this novel for a decade and when he started it, it was widely thought that this Jones feller was a fiction.
The surmise of The One After 9:09 is that Raymond Jones got his historically significant namecheck in A Cellarful of Noise because of services rendered in other circumstances in the Beatles and Brian’s rise to world domination, and the novel, among many other happenings along the way, gives one fictional explanation of what might have occurred. Subsequently a perfectly real (and more mundane – no offence intended), a reasonable actual Raymond Jones has been found (see The Beatles Bible) but that should in no way take away from the invention of Tony Broadbent‘s weaving of what is real and what is not in the early Beatles/Epstein tale.
So, 1961, Beatles established as Liverpool’s top group, excess in Hamburg, Pete Best on drums, groups a-plenty, Teddy Boy gangs, promoters’ fierce rivalries, Brian Epstein’s paranoid homosexual misadventures, his ‘bigger than Elvis’ vision, the fight to manage ‘the boys’, the struggle to get a recording contract, enter George Martin, enter Ringo. All pretty much as reported in the sources Tony Broadbent extensively acknowledges.
It’s weird: early on Tony pitches a fixer called Terry McCann straight into action, which I thought was an unfortunate coincidence – Minder and all that. So I check him out and first mention in the search engine is him attending Cilla Black’s funeral; and he’s not the only one prominent in the story was there. (Fortunately, keeping the corn at bay, Cilla does not appear in the book.)
If you want a lively dramatised potted history up to the recording of Please, please me, and how it all felt, then The One After 9:09 is not a bad place to start. Into all this enter invented teenager Raymond ‘Spike’ Jones – ‘Spike’ from Milligan in The Goons – art school drop-out (same place as Lennon), sometime muscle, admin assistant (bill sticker et al), private eye’s camouflage stand-in at The Cavern (looking out for Epstein), bass guitarist, friend of the Beatles, general man on the scene, and romantic seeker and finder of true love with his judy (not her name). The several narratives are delivered patchwork as events enticingly unfold, split-screen fashion. The coffee bars, the pubs, the clubs, the backstreets of Liverpool the backdrop to the action with 'scousisms' and period vernacular aplenty, and lines and phrases from Beatles lyrics worked, with a nod and a wink, into the prose – the actual One After 9:09 quote is a beaut. Some of the Beatles’ wit could have come out of A Hard Day’s Night, and though some of the fuller passages of dialogue – spelling out dilemmas and options – are a bit strained, I think Lennon’s character, his edginess, is particularly well done. Raymond Chandler’s advice to writers hitting a plot wall – have a man enter the room with a gun in his hand – might be at play with the appearance of a gang of tooled up red bandana’d Teds more than once.
I’m not going to say it’s a great book – I think Tony’s Creeping Narratives, crime thrillers set in post-war and 1950s London, featuring cat burglar Jethro, The Smoke and its successors, are more satisfying conventional genre novels – but it’s an intriguing and entertaining one, the mix of fact and fiction a fascinating exercise.
There were times when reading I forgot it was written by an old mate. It had me eagerly reading on – even when I knew the score as far as the Beatles story went, tension even in those first meetings with George Martin.
That The One After 9:09 is a labour of love, gratitude and affection is evident throughout.
A specific afterthought, one that keeps cropping up generally in all sorts of contexts lately: What if homosexuality had not been illegal when Brian Epstein was a young man? How might popular music history then have been changed?
David Quayle | Pop Culture Curator | Lillabullero |
Tintinnabulation In A Humanist Key | Blog Post | UK | 16 September 2015
More about the author's other works:
Enjoyable romp for nostalgia seekers | ★★★★
An enjoyable if overlong romp through 1961 Liverpool, a City on the cusp of a consumer explosion as everyone wants to become a rock star. The story is mostly told through the eyes of a wannabe musician, Spike Jones, a slightly lost soul seeking an identity after the loss of his dad, and through him we get some idea of the sights, sounds and thinking behind an era. Real characters (not just the stars like Rory Storm, but also Rex Makin, legendary solicitor) populate the novel, and real locations - Pete Best's mum's cafe the Casbah features prominently.
There is some enjoyment to be had spotting the words of the lyrics entering the prose: the words of "Yesterday" and "Money (That's What I want)," for instance, and at least one anachronism, "I'll tell you what I want .... what I really really want." Here is an author enjoying himself.
And why did he put in the unexplained reference "Vivat haec Sodalitas?" A bet with a former student of the Collegiate? Anyway, an enjoyable romp for nostalgia seekers, which will do for a headline for this review.
John Grimbaldeston | Reader | UK | 3 October 2015
A terrific book
Just finished Tony Broadbent’s remarkable novel, The One After 9:09: A Mystery With A Backbeat. It’s about the early days of The Beatles, and it’s a terrific book…a fascinating book…as I read it I kept hearing the music in my head. Read it!.
Janet Dawson | Reader | USA | 9 October 2015
"Loved it. Loved the writing. Loved the story."
“Anyone who grew up loving rock n’ roll and the Beatles will love The One After 9:09. Tony Broadbent skillfully captures a phenomena and the heartbeat of an entire generation.
The One After 9:09 rocked. I rolled. And I dug it!”
Robert Dugoni | #1 Amazon and New York Times Bestselling Author | My Sister’s Grave | 15 October 2015
Love Love Love | ★★★★★
Love the book - really great and a mystery fans book as well - full of fantastic historical insights and tremendous atmosphere about the early Beatles days in Liverpool and a strong, intense story. We all love the Beatles and in particular 'what we don't yet know about' the Beatles, Brian Epstein and George Martin. This novel is full of those lovely 'human' moments about the Fab Four probably not known by many people. Very impressed by the research the author must have undertaken and yet managed to weave into a very entertaining and punchy mystery novel. Love Love Love
Bryan Ritz | Musician | Singer-Songwriter | Phoenix In Silver (w. Nigel Wesson) | Author | 1611 - Miranda's Tales of Shakespeare | UK | 23 October 2015
Back to the Future | ★★★★★
I write this - on the actual day in the future - visited by the film Back to the Future, it colours how I think of this book about a vaguely remembered vanished era.
I read the book in Liverpool whilst staying on the now cleaned-up waterfront. The contrast with the world of the struggling musicians 55 years ago is inescapable. The author has given the story a tremendous sense of time and place. One forgets the inescapable cigarette smoke, the equally ubiquitous dim lighting, the terrible transport system and how one went to a booth in a record shop to listen to the latest 45s. I had also forgotten that Teddy boys were such a violent sub-culture.
In contrast to Liverpool's cosy contemporary Beatle worship, Tony Broadbent shows John, Paul and George as ambitious, hard working and frustrated by their inability to break into the big time and ruthless to improve their act - to the extent of firing their drummer to bring in Ringo.*
The story of how they cut their first record have been told before but never with such intensity, setting them in the grimy context of a run down city. Some of the best writing brings real-life people such as Sam Leach, the impresario and Reg Makin, the solicitor, to life, (Sam Leach nearly hi-jacks the whole tale). I was less happy with the book’s fictional protagonist Spike, his abilities as a boxer seem at odds with affable, slightly weedy art-school drop out. What made him work as a character was you saw through him the struggle of a wannabe musician making it through to professional competence.
*It is news to me that the other Beatles thought so highly of Ringo. When asked by a fan, much later, if Ringo was the best drummer in the UK? John replied - 'Ringo wasn't even the best drummer in the Beatles.'
Gus Coulton | Artist | UK | 21 October 2015