Available in Kindle format from Amazon:
- File Size: 1383 KB
- Print Length: 198 pages
- Publisher: Alibi (April 21, 2015)
- Publication Date: April 21, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00L0EYO0W
Gary Cusick's latest novel is a case of Police Woman meets Presleyville. Everything is lawfully Elvis (so to speak)!
Tommy Reylander is Detective (not Officer) Elvis, a cop by day who moonlights as an ETA at night. His murderous demise sets the scene for his ex-partner, Lieutenant Darla Cavanagh, a 'to the point' law enforcement officer (arguably a contemporary version of Dragnet's Sgt. Joe Friday), to investigate the circumstances of his premature and horrible death.
The spirit of Elvis inhabits the well written and fun narrative as the murder of Tommy Reylander is only the first in a series of ETA deaths. Are the murders about ETA's, Elvis or something more sinister? The truth can be complicated as Darla Cavanah soon finds out! The key lies in a secret from the killer's past which drives him to kill. What ensues, soon develops into a cat and mouse game as Lieutenant Cavanah strives to capture the elusive killer. Her partner in the chase is Rita Gibbons, a young police officer seeking redemption.
Gary Cusick has a strong writing style which is expressive and engaging:
Another few steps and Darla saw the sweat dripping down Hillburn's face. He appeared ready to throw up, but he was careful not to budge.
Occupying the sofa was a ponytailed guy in an expensive T-shirt, from which bulged well-muscled arms covered with tats. His eyes were glued to his phone. He was texting.
The have a blessed day lady was a plumpish woman with frosted hair who occupied the chair behind the reception desk.
There are also neat passages of humor in the author's writing:
Darla was a Yankee - meaning she was from someplace other than Mississippi, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansasa, the Florida panhandle, or East Texas. In fact, she was from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Rita is described by her superiors as "half a licorice stick short in the manners department".
The characters inhabiting the story are diverse and importantly, believable. Apart from the two leading protagonists there are many other well drawn players including Jerry Bob Caulder (local thug-in-charge) and the leading impersonator of a well known contemporary of Elvis' who thinks he is the true King of Rock and Roll (and it's not who you think it might be!)
The book's pacing is strong building nicely to its climax. The plot lines are clever, including the SUV with an empty gun case registered to ETA International (aka a talent booking agency). Much of the story transpires in and around the King's Castle (Graceland) ensuring the Elvis theme permeates evocatively as the story twists and turns and the mystery builds towards its denouement.
With the action in Officer Elvis taking place 'down south' the author also infuses his narrative with an appropriate Southern style and aplomb allowing the story to bounce gently off southern manners and customs. There is also a healthy inclusion of Southern style cuisine to whet the reader's appetite:
...delicacies such as crawfish boil, nice and spicy, Cajun style with a deer sausage hors d'oeuvre and ears of corn as an appetizer.
Verdict: Officer Elvis is a fun and engaging read which is perfect antidote after a long day at work or while relaxing with a hot beverage on a lazy weekend afternoon as the rain pours down outside. It is a welcome addition to what is a mini-library of novels whose premise is driven by the murder of ETAs.
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