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Billy Tapper - Zillionaire


Worth reading 😎

A flight of fancy exploring relationships, dreams, and coming of age, by a writer who knows the right beats to hit.

It’s hard to get on in life. Especially when you’re a tapper in a British railyard in the tough years following World War II. But all young men have dreams, and Billy is one of them. He has big ideas for him and his childhood sweetheart Meg, and an unexpected windfall helps him to get there. Postwar Britain needed some colour, and that’s certainly what Billy Tapper Zillionaire got.

For the protagonist in Gary Finnan’s debut novel, railways soon give way to rock’n’roll, Elvis, and The Beatles. Billy is swept up in a whirlwind of breathtaking intensity as he goes on an adventure to America to discover a new life. Through the story the issues of the class system, American culture, and relationships are all explored. Personal growth parallels social change, and our hero is tested by the new temptations of wine, women, and gambling. But throughout it all, he keeps home and Meg and Mam at his heart.

Life changed for Billy as he grew up in the 1950s and 60s, like it changed for many around the world. However, this pacy novel does at times feel a little far fetched. It’s quite a steep trajectory from tapping rails to drinking with Elvis, even for someone with a lucky windfall. A flight of fancy for sure, and that’s fine, but it all seemed a bit too unrealistic. Glory is fleeting, fame ephemeral, and things soon change. But Billy is a likeable character, and throughout it all maintains his generous spirit and sense of what is right. Gary Finnan is a good writer, and knows the right beats to hit in this coming of age novel.

Reviewed by

Never happier than when in a library or clutching a notebook, Francesca Baker is a writer, reader, and word lover. As Virginia Woolf said ‘my head is a hive of words that won’t settle.’ So she puts them to use, exploring the world and then writing about it.


About the author

Gary is an award-winning inspirational author, designer, and creative expression advisor. Billy Tapper-Zillionaire is his first novel. Born in Scotland, raised in Zimbabwe and South Africa, Gary splits his time between Sonoma, California and Aiken, South Carolina with his wife Eva and two daughters. view profile

Published on November 12, 2019

Published by Norlite Press

80000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Historical Fiction

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