ELVIS by John Parker


The Secret Files
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 ``Dead or alive, the magic of Elvis lives on'' claims the original dust jacket of this British import, emblazoning the words above a close-up of the King--a deliciously ironic sentiment given that here, as in his earlier books, Parker (Prince Philip, 1991, etc.) does his best, none too successfully, to stir up mud. Parker's angle is that the rock star may have been murdered by the Mafia, a conclusion he builds on stilts constructed primarily of previously unreleased interviews with Elvis associates (interviews not conducted by Parker), as well as of info gleaned from his ferreting through 663 pages of the ``FBI general file'' on Elvis. Parker digs out little that's not been revealed before, though he does highlight much that's not well known: particularly that J. Edgar Hoover began tracking Elvis as early as spring 1956, and that Elvis suffered constant money problems that, in 1976, prompted his father to succumb to a scam involving the leasing of the singer's jet--a scam that soon came to the attention of the Bureau. Moreover, this scam allegedly was only a small part of a multimillion-dollar mob operation that was threatened when it became ``likely that Elvis and Vernon Presley...would be required to give testimony at [an] eventual trial.'' Parker dregs up the many minor mysteries surrounding the star's death--including the locking-away of the autopsy report--to support his case. Throughout, the author also manages to provide a lurid account of Elvis's decline into drug-decay, and speculates that his 1970 Oval Office meeting with Richard Nixon prompted--through the singer's envy of the Beatles--Nixon's persecution of John Lennon. Not bad as a concise chronicle of the superstar's dark side, but Parker's case that Elvis may have been murdered will convince few--after all, we all know that he's hiding out in Kalamazoo.... (Forty-two b&w photographs)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 1-85470-039-1
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Collins & Brown/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1993


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