BLUE SUEDE CLUES
St. Martin's, Mar 2002, 22.95, 231 pp.
In 1963 on the last day of shooting of Kissin Cousins, Elvis feels embarrassed by the movie, his dual roles, and the inane songs. Adding to Elvis' feelings of helplessness is the media frenzy over his romance with his co-star Ann Margaret and the left-handed comments of his current producer. At a press conference, Elvis makes it clear that with a good script he would provide a strong performance.
However, his angst-laden soliloquy backfires, as every lunatic sends in an “Oscar winning” script. The deluge is just one more reason to escape the Colonel, Priscilla, and the media. Elvis chooses the only interesting item amidst the flood, the case of stuntman Freddy “Squirm” Littlejon as his escape vehicle. Squirm is serving a life sentence for the 1960 Hollywood murder of a bit player, Holly McDougal. Squirm includes a picture of himself with Elvis in military uniforms. Elvis takes on the case as a means of escaping his troubles and because he feels a special bond with stuntmen and veterans; Squirm is both. Elvis begins his second investigation (see KILL ME TENDER for his first case).
The premise of BLUE SUEDE CLUES is that a troubled Elvis turns to amateur sleuthing for relief from his woes. The story line is fun for those readers who enjoy the mystery of sighting Elvis in a mall, but the idiosyncrasies of the superstar never surface; the reason many will want to read this novel. Instead Elvis could easily be John Doe, everyman amateur sleuth. The investigation is fun, but except for those in the audience who live Graceland, sub-genre readers will return to author Daniel Klein disappointed.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner