Chasing Elvis

Author: Glenn P. Marcel

Publisher: The Invisible College Press

ISBN: 1-931468-20-6 (Paperback, 261 pp.)


There's nothing wrong with Elvis fiction. Well, not with the concept of Elvis fiction. The execution of the concept is a different matter, of course, and "Chasing Elvis" by Glenn P. Marcel is a prime example of how a good concept can be ruined in the execution.

"Chasing Elvis" presents an amusing start with a bank-robbery performed by an apparent half-wit disguised in the popular conception of Elvis imitators, white jumpsuit, cape, and so on. The robbery takes place in 1982. The robbery leads a detective to chase the perpetrator, believing him to be Elvis and having personal reasons for wanting to confront Elvis. The detective is killed accidentally, however, and the action moves, via a couple of unnecessary sidetracks, to focus on the detective's daughter, who also becomes involved in chasing Elvis.

Sadly, a reasonable basis for a story is marred completely by the haphazard, careless way in which the book is written and printed. The number of misprints and/or incorrect spellings is quite unacceptable. I have to think that the author relied on a spell-checker, rather than going through the trouble of proof-reading; feint instead of faint, waive instead of wave, descent instead of decent, to instead of too, scarring instead of scaring, fury instead of furry and, would you believe, cloud instead of crowd. This is but a selection --the list is almost endless! And "drug" is not the past tense of the verb "to drag'' for heaven's sake! Then there's the problem of strange word-splits, with "every body" used for everybody, "no body" for nobody and so on.

Some of the writing is very confusing: what exactly is one to make of: "Witherspoon had made no other phone calls beside the one to Greenbaum, although there had been four calls and not two as Princess had indicated," or "Lannie didn't know if Richard knew how far she and Richard's relationship had progressed." And in an attempt to present a French waiter, the author has the character address a couple of lady diners as "Madams"!

Even characters go through apparently miraculous changes of name: Tackett becomes Tacket, for example, and even more confusingly, Jan Felton suddenly becomes Jan Vaughn and I'm sure that the author switches the characters Mel and Maggie at one stage -- yet another indication of lack of care during the book's preparation.

Homonyms, mis-spellings, misprints, careless writing, whatever the reason, the quantity of error is such that the flow of reading is disturbed, making it a less than pleasant process.

The tale itself has some potential, but it currently contains just too many coincidences to be even remotely believable, even for a work of fiction. It really needs work done on it in order to take it from a reasonable idea to a good book. Even in its current raw state, it could be hugely improved with more care and attention to detail.


David Neale

copyright December 2004

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