finds himself entangled in an inept police investigation with
a cast of colourful and unusual characters. Who is behind the
murders? Is it a hotel and casino war? Is it a war between local
wedding chapels? Is it a war between Sin City's major brothels?
third instalment (a fourth is in the works) in Daniel
Klein's exciting murder-mystery series featuring super-sleuth,
Elvis Presley is now out.
plot takes place in 1964 as Elvis enjoys some rest and
relaxation before commencing filming on Roustabout.
However his peace and quiet is interrupted by the ritualistic
murder of an enormously overweight tourist, a murder
closely followed the next day by a second killing.
The King becomes more and more involved with the murders he
finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer, Shiva
Ree. Klein's narrative is compelling:
moment Shiva led Elvis into her tent, they clutched each other
and kissed. And oh my God, what a kiss it was - succulent,
rapturous, and yet somehow so very young and innocent. Elvis
started to unbutton his shirt. "Hi, Mommy!" Elvis froze."
Klein has once again woven an involving tale of murder, music
and romance. Critically, Klein's central character is well
drawn, strong and believable.
other characters in Viva Las Vengeance are an eclectic bunch.
There is a group of born-again Christians who view Elvis as
the Second Coming ('Jesus Presley' and 'Pope Elvis the First');
Dr Billy Jackson, Elvis's best friend; Digby Ferguson, a pill
popping, enlightenment-seeking Harvard Divinity dropout with
whom Elvis forms an unlikely alliance; stunning Vegas dancer,
Meryl "Miss Candy Kane" Rubelski and Howie Pickles, the incredibly
annoying headline comedian whose jokes quickly become known
as being 'deadly'.
from these protagonists, there are characters familiar to
all Elvis fans: Priscilla, Ann-Margret, Colonel Tom Parker.
Throw in a Don't Be Cruel Peace Concert, a horde of randy
showgirls, some heavy- duty motor oil and religion that's
bad for your digestion, and you have a fast paced mystery
pot pourii that's as entertaining as it is colourful.
author's smooth, easy-going writing style and great use of
imagery invoking language effortlessly reels the reader in
throughout the novel's 264 pages:
stared back at Elvis, tears filling her almond eyes, and she
spun around, raced into the bathroom, and slammed the door
behind her. Elvis felt his heart shrivel up in his chest until
it was no bigger than a bee."
love-making between Elvis and Shiva is also nicely presented,
obvious without being too graphic or pornographic: "Shiva
lowered herself onto him, drawing the very center of what
made him a man inside her."
use of humour has always been a very important element in
Daniel Klein's Elvis novels and Viva Las Vengeance features
numerous amusing moments. For instance, Howie Pickles' biting
comments to himself:
at you, you're living proof of reincarnation - nobody could
get that dumb in just one lifetime!" "Man, you're so ugly,
your dog closes his eyes when he humps your leg!" And some
of Pickles' comments to members of his Vegas audience will
have you laughing long after the scene has finished.
the titles of many of the chapters raise a smile, for example,
'Elvis Interruptus', 'The Beagles from Liverpool', 'Recently
Adjusted Underwear' and 'Ain't Nothin' But A Dead Man'.
Viva Las Vengeance continues Daniel Klein's strong literary
presence with his crime-solving hero, Elvis Presley. The central
figure is strong and believable as is the primary plot and
the sub-plots. This is a well-written and engaging novel that
will have you laughing, and guessing, from beginning to end.
by Nigel Patterson © EIN, 2003