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Elvis fiction makes a comeback

Two reprints of books that originally came out in 1995 (“That’s All Right, Mama”) and 1984 (“Stark Raving Elvis”) give a cheeky twist to Elvis Presley’s history.



(DeVault-Graves Digital Editions)

3 Stars



(DeVault-Graves Digital Editions)

4 Stars

By Gillian G. Gaar

These two books are part of DeVault-Graves’ “Great Music Book Series,” and despite the “digital” in their name, they are available as physical books. They’re reprints of books that originally came out in 1995 (Duff’s) and 1984 (Henderson’s), and give a cheeky twist to Elvis’ history.

The hook of the first book is revealed in its subtitle: “The Unauthorized Life of Elvis’s Twin.” What if Jesse Garon Presley had not died the day he was born, but survived, and gone on to actually fill in for Elvis at key moments during his career, such as the in the “Jailhouse Rock” number in the film of the same name, or the ’68 “Comeback Special”? It’s a fun idea, and there are numerous nods to the high points in Elvis life. But the joke does wear rather thin over the course of 236 pages. Duff also has a meandering writing style that slows down the momentum.

In contrast, “Stark Raving Elvis” is full of plenty of snap, crackle, and pop. It’s the story of an Elvis impersonator who heads out to Las Vegas in search of fame and fortune, convinced that he’s been personally anointed by the King himself to carry on in the wake of Presley’s death. Naturally, he gets more than he expected; it might be easy to put the jumpsuit on, but it proves to be surprisingly difficult to take it off. The engaging story reads like a film treatment (and would probably result in a more entertaining film than the recent “Elvis & Nixon”).

Both fun books if you want to experience an “Elvis through the Looking Glass” kind of tale.