A time for LOVE
Micheal Lawerence Isles
Reviewed by Nigel Patterson, January 2019
A time for LOVE, Self-published, 2018, Softcover/ebook-Kindle, 287 pages/424 pages ebook, Not illustrated, ISBN-13: 978-0992510909
Softcover (SOLD OUT)
A new author has entered the eclectic world of Elvis fiction. Micheal Lawerence Isles' second novel, A time for LOVE, weaves an entertaining story of adventure, mystery, redemption and love.
The plotline in A time for LOVE takes its main protagonist, Dante, a high profile prosecution lawyer in 'big city' Chicago to the small, but colourful, outback town of Quinninup in Western Australia. Dante is driven by the want to satisfy his father’s dying wish and reverse the injustice that has been done to Elvis. Dante’s quest is ignited by the death bed confession of retired hynotist, The Great Jacomel.
So begins an 11,000 miles trip in search of a man named Bruce Fredericks – a mute suffering from memory loss who may or may not be Elvis. And if Bruce is Elvis, why did he need to disappear so completely? Through the use of hypnosis, piece by piece, Bruce’s complex story is revealed. Along the way, Dante’s search takes a number of surprising turns, including his falling in love with Bruce’s daughter, Kelly. Is she Elvis’ daughter? The answer to this and other questions are neatly told in an entertaining narrative.
The Elvis theme permeates the narrative from an early point, before gaining momentum
as Dante's quest begins in earnest:
Passing the CD shop on the corner Dante noticed Elvis’ familiar face amongst the CDs at the end of the front of the shop. The song on the radio inspired him to listen to some more of Elvis’ music. He stopped and flicked through some of the CDs, there were so many to choose from. He finally settled on a double CD titled Suspicious Minds.
The mark of a good novel is the author’s ability to evoke vivid imagery and emotional reaction in the reader. Isles writes well with, an at times, staccato style, and celebrates both life and death as he brings to life his city and outback characters and the colour that marks Australian outback communities:
He started the descent of the hill, leaning back so his torso did not overtake his legs, the sun was warm on his back, but suddenly it felt cooler, darkness seemed to be closing in behind him sending a shiver down his spine. He looked back to see a huge cloud drifting across the face of the sun. Glancing back at the town, it was different, the colours had faded and the mood had faded with it. He reassured himself that the cloud would pass and the sun would again shine.
The marina with its jetties and rows upon rows of tall masts came into view in the distance. He tried to calculate the number of dollars floating in the pens, but came a stop at about 250 million. Slowing down he veered into the car park and began his warm down exercises, then followed the signed route through the main building with its trophies and history towards the pens.
The metal rims felt cold yet Kelly could sense a surge of power or feeling coming from them. She looked into Dante’s eyes. “these are really Elvis’s glasses; I’m holding Elvis’s glasses?” Dante grabbed her hands and said softly, “We are holding your father’s glasses.” Kelly took a deep breath, then another holding it in, she started to go red. “Breathe,” Dante said slowly , “breathe sweetheart.”
He could remember flashes of his dreams and memories. I think I am Elvis he told himself. What does this mean? But it was too hard to fathom. He started to feel cold so he increased the hot water, but his joints were starting to ache again.
The book is composed of five Parts (Chicago, Quinninup, The Quest, Australia, Home) with a total of 58 chapters and a brief Epilogue. The book design is generally good with quality paper stock used for the currently unavailable Softcover edition. The text is in somewhat smaller font size which may be an issue for those whose eyesight is not as good as it used to be.
The stereotypical, but (non-Aussie readers should clearly note) untrue beliefs about Australia, are briefly, and amusingly, expressed in the prose:
Dante smiled, “Does Australia have any nice beaches?” April looked surprised. “Australia?” she asked, “Isn’t that dangerous? There are crocodiles, snakes, sharks and what about the bushfires?” Dante’s face took a solemn look, “Don’t forget the man eating kangaroos.” April was quick, “Which man is eating kangaroos? Dante, that sounds exciting.”
Isles allows the narrative to build slowly and accelerate when necessary. The book's denouement will surprise some readers. It is indeed bittersweet.
The characters in A time for LOVE are strongly drawn and an interesting bunch, from Fatboy and Bruce’s son, Jordan, an Elvis tribute artist, to the main protagonists, Dante, Bruce and Kelly.
The book closes with the song lyrics for: A Time for Love, Baby.
Verdict: A time for LOVE is a good read. Its combination of Elvis, adventure, mystery and love story means it will appeal to a wide cross-section of Elvis and non-Elvis fans.
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Mini-interview with Michael Isles
EIN: Who is Micheal Lawerence Isles?
MLI: I was born in Merriden WA 3rd August 1962. Second oldest of 7 children. Our family moved to Manjimup when I was four. I grew up in Manjimup and left school at 15.
EIN: Is A time for LOVE your first novel/what other writing have you done before A time for LOVE?
MLI: A time for Love was the second novel I wrote. The first one I started when I was 16 however my folder with the newly started manuscript along with my drawings and some poetry dissapeared never to be seen or heard of again. Accident or disgruntled sibling :)
EIN: What motivated you to write a book with an Elvis theme?
MLI: I was poor, had very thick glasses. I was small and skinny at 15 years old. I noticed that my Mother and other women admired Elvis. He seemed everything a young man would want to be so I looked to him as a role model. Mohamed Ali was another they both had terrific comebacks. Then Elvis died, my sisters still remind me of how I cried that day. My hero was dead. For many years I heard negatives and jokes about obesity and peanut butter sandwiches and how he looked when he died. This really bothered me, so I thought I would write a different ending of his life. I felt that Elvis was deprived of anonymity and would love to have some normality and obscurity. I wrote this story for myself only to give respect to a person that gave me dreams when I was a young boy and left his legacy and music for my lifetime to enjoy. Note the last page of my book is a song. I wrote this based on if Elvis was alive today and I asked him what he thought of the world today he would answer.
EIN: How would you describe A time for LOVE?
MLI: I describe my novel as a mystery romance.
EIN: Had you always outback Australia in mind as the backdrop for a key part of the book’s narrative?
MLI: It is based in the deep southwest of Western Australia. No I did not have it in mind, I knew the beginning also the end the middle just evolved. I would write for two hours and it would feel like 15 minutes. Even if I had not written for a month I would look at my last sentence and go from there, I would never think about what I was going to write before the pen hit the page I just wrote as it came. By the way it was all hand printed as my writing was and still is very poor:)
EIN: The ending to A time for LOVE is different. Was it always your intention to end the story as you did?
MLI: Yes I always intended the story would end in his death as that was the purpose of my writing to give my mind a different ending. Also no disrespect to those who believe differently but I do not want to be percieved as someone who thinks Elvis did not die on the date his death certificate denotes.
EIN: What plans do you have for future book releases?
MLI: I have another story in mind however I still feel I need to get this story to many before i write it. I enjoy writing, singing and playing guitar to my own songs since I finished A time for Love.
EIN: Micheal, is there anything else you would like to say to EIN readers?
MLI: I wrote the story for me, I dedicate it to all Elvis fans who would have liked a different ending to his life. I hope you read it and if you do that you like it then tell someone else so it gets out there as I am self published. I would love it if Priscilla and Lisa Marie read it. I want to share my story and would appreciate any feedback. It is available on Amazon Kindle. Easiest way to find it search enter the title followed by my name, note Micheal is spelt "ea". The book has a Facebook page. PS Long live the King.
Visit the A time for LOVE Facebook page