Recently we received this novel by Mark McGinty. Is the author able, like Daniel Klein in his “P.I. Elvis”-series, to draw a trustworthy Elvis?
As you can see the cover shows an astronaut with a guitar on his back descending to the moon. The print is clear and easy on the eye. Remarkable is that Elvis’ head is used as chapter divider. We wonder how much money EPE gained from this ;-).
After some very funny (not!) Elvis sightings in 1999 (yawn), and a ridiculous description of a tribe in Africa having an ivory idol (representing Elvis of course), the real story begins. This story tells about a conspiracy to make the first moon landing even more spectacular, by having Elvis there for a surprise performance. A journalist feels something is wrong and tries to find out what. For those that really want to read the story we’ll leave it at that, since we might spoil things otherwise. The Presley characterized in this book is very flat, and actually has only a small part in the story (disregarding the fact the story is about him). The book is full with clichés about Elvis: eating hamburgers, rhinestone jumpsuits (yes, we’re talking about 1969) and weight problems (again: it’s 1969, when E was as skinny as a stick of macaroni, to stay in rock’n’roll terminology). There are also more errors in time, like an Elvis concert in 1958 and 1960, the Jungle Room in the sixties, and touring in 1969. Maybe the clichés are a good way to make a believable Elvis for a larger audience, but the general fan will be bothered by it. On the other hand the author knows Elvis made his Vegas comeback in 1969, although they couldn’t know it would be as glorious as it was earlier that year. Another positive thing is that the author made Elvis write a song (partly, but still…), that doubles Elvis’ activities in that side of the business.
So far for the Elvis side, the storyline could have been good, but unfortunately all characters are like Elvis: flat as can be. If it wasn’t for this review we would have put this book aside long before it ended, if not directly after the weak “Elvis sightings”-opening, then at least during the ridiculous party at Graceland, which is probably meant to be funny, but it doesn’t succeed in that at all.
We can easily answer the question in the introduction: No, the author was absolutely not able to draw a trustworthy Elvis like Daniel Klein did in his detectives. Although the language is quite simple, it is still a hard read because it lacks characters to carry the story.