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by Daniel Klein

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-312-28806-9
Publisher: Minotaur

Fresh off a fling with costar Ann-Margret, an agitated Elvis Presley (Blue Suede Clues, 2002, etc.) decides to take a break in Vegas, out of whining range of the increasingly petulant Priscilla, his teenaged paramour. After taking in the act of insult comic Howie Pickles, who works over a big, blithe blond at the front table, Elvis falls a little in love with a voluptuous dancer named Shiva Ree. The dark-eyed beauty performs, along with a black panther, to hypnotic music unlike anything the King has ever heard. Shiva lives at the Center of the Light, an enclave dedicated to the study and practice of Eastern religion and customs. Before long, she’s introduced Elvis to tantric sex and other less carnal disciplines. Meanwhile, a whodunit simmers in the background. The aforementioned blond, Bonnie Donaldsen, is found murdered shortly after attending Howie’s show with Bruce, her new husband. In short order, there’s a second victim, an Atlanta cop named J.P. Whaley, who had his own ringside seat at Howie’s comedy show before his death, and, like Bonnie, his own connections to the Little (wedding) Chapel and a local bordello called the Bambi Ranch. An abrasive writer named Digby Ferguson, who wants to unravel the case, tries with limited success to get lovestruck Elvis involved. Under Shiva’s influence, Elvis is planning an unusual “peace concert,” at which the plot threads converge and most of the loose ends are tied up—not a moment too soon.

Jarringly unfunny, and not much of a mystery either.