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Hound Dog [Paperback]

Richard Blandford
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Jun 2007

Call him Elvis. The premier Elvis impersonator in the whole of the Cambridgeshire region. He's fat and bald and old; partial to cocaine, often found selling skunk to the local teenagers; he masturbates five or six times a day, and he hates Elvis Presley. Elvis has been married three times, but never for very long. Being Elvis provides a useful entry into the beds of Cambridgeshire's bored housewives.

Elvis's life starts to go wrong when his backing singers, Gay Elvis and Fat Elvis, mutiny and have to be replaced by Buddy Holly, a postman with bladder problems. Then Eddie calls, offering the biggest gig yet of Elvis's career. Eddie, a dubious business man who 'looked after' Elvis on one of his stints in prison, wants him to perform at the birthday party of vicious gangster Johnny Brooks, who just happens to be married to Elvis's third ex-wife.

Without question the best Elvis-impersonator novel you'll ever read, Hound Dog is very very funny and really quite sad.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (7 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099492865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099492863
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,244,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Slick, efficient and faintly nasty, this novel croons indie Brit-flick" (Hephzibah Anderson Observer)

"Squalid, raucous and wildly entertaining" (Dan Rhodes Sunday Herald)

"Hound Dog is distressingly, worryingly funny. With skill and sensitivity Blandford keeps the reader laughing, even through the depravity, even through the despair, even, indeed, through the moments of startling ferocity" (Niall Griffiths)

"Phoenix Nights meets American Psycho. In Cambridge" (Kevin Sampson)

Book Description

'Blandford does for fat, middle-aged, coke-addicted, sex-deviant Elvis imprersonators what Peter Guralnick has done for the man himself' - Niall Griffiths

Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elvis is all shook up 7 Aug 2006
Picture Elvis; what do you see? A coke-snorting, sexually-obsessed self-professed psychopath, who sells skunk to teenagers, has no respect for the vows of marriage and harbours a seething hatred for his own music? Meet the number one Elvis impersonator in Cambridgeshire. Aided and abetted by "Fat Elvis" and "Gay Elvis", his two reluctant and recalcitrant backing singers, he trails havoc in his wake as dank social clubs and depressing town halls receive his dubious talents. Not really the life he would have chosen, but not really all that terrible either. That is until his partners rebel, and Elvis is left out of pocket and up a certain creek, his omnipotent delusions rendered rather impotent. Cue the intervention of some local gangsters, and all hell is set to break loose.

Blandford's debut has all the grit and dark humour of an Irvine Welsh novel, but with the added bonus of being intelligible. The depraved and desperately comic lead is a man possessed by demons he can't understand or rather refuses to face, and filled with a rage he is unable to diffuse. With a distressing lack of responsibility, he attributes his wilful rampages to a nonexistent mental condition, but there is the sense underneath of a man hiding from the light in the shadows of his own decrepitude. With little hope of redemption and therefore no regret, Elvis marches resolutely towards his demise bearing with him the tools of his destruction. Funny and frightening, Blandford has forged a tragicomic novel around a curiously underused paradigm.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the funniest book in the world 4 Mar 2007
I didn't know what to expect when I bought this book. On the face of it a book about an Elvis impersonator doesn't sound like too much, but I can honestly say that this is the funniest book I have ever read.

It tells the tale of a cocaine and masturbation addicted ex con known only as Elvis (you never get to know his real name) who, with his two backing signers Fat Elvis and Gay Elvis, takes his disastrous Elvis show around Cambridgeshire and hates every minute of it. Like the line from the Manics' song he is overweight and out of date and to make matters worse..... he knows it. Elvis has to keep his show going though because it affords him other more interesting things like funding his coke habit and sleeping with loose middle aged housewifes.

Things change for the worse when his Elvis mobile gets trashed at gig and he is forced to go cap in hand to Eddie, a vicious gay gangster that Elvis met in prison, in order to buy a new van and honour his up and coming gigs. The problem is, Eddie doesn't want the money back, he wants the three Elvis' to perform at the birthday party of another notorious gangster. This sounds easy enough, but it really isn't. I won't go into what happens from that point on but let's just say it's a page turning, calamitous, violent and drug fuelled tale that will make you laugh out loud.

I hope to see a small screen adaptation of this very soon, in the meantime I await Mr Blandford's next full length work.

Bye peps
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bloody marvellous 5 Sep 2006
This really is one of the most unusual books I've read (I mean, Elvis impersonators?), and definately one of the best this last year. In true brit style it leaps from wipe-your-eyes funny, to a gutterful of grimness with out missing a beat. After reading this book, I don't think there will be many people left unrevolted by Elvis and his unsurpassed capacity for self destruction. Which makes Blandfords achievement in getting the reader to empathise with this useless, fat has-been all the more laudable. The language and subject matter in the book manage to cover pretty much every obscentiy going. If it's wrong, Elvis does it, has done it, or intends to do it. It's hard to describe him properly without using the vernacular. But he is, without question, one of THOSE. For me, it was his brutal, unflinching honesty that gave him hope, and made me want him to drag himself out of the tragedy his life has deteriorated onto. Naturally, the Law of Elvis dictates that the harder you try, the deeper you spiral down. One step forward, three steps back. The phrase could have been invented for this character. Wont spoil the plot, but will insist you get this. I've felt compelled to buy it for 3 friends already (only the broad-minded types!) and it's going down well. I loved it. It deserves a cult niche, it's so off the wall, and as a an intelligent critique of our dubious humanity, it's made for some first class beer-fueled conversations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable fun 9 Oct 2009
By Alan Hansen VINE VOICE
Hound Dog plays with the idea of the anti-hero, pushing the Elvis impersonator's unpleasantness almost to the end of its tether; but somehow we retain a glimmer of sympathy for the selfish, lecherous pig. He's the product of his environment, and never have the Fens seemed so bleak, so calculated to drive a man mad. Blandford has a sure comic touch and a wry turn of phrase; his novel won't change your life, but it should make you laugh long and hard, even if you feel guilty doing it. Like it lots.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anti Elvis 10 July 2007
By Johnentwistlespout VINE VOICE
I had expected a whimsical and quirky British comedy in the vein of Robert Rankin but what I got was a totally original, venomous, unbelievably rude, deeply tragic and exceptionally honest and very funny book. Imagine the works of Bret Easton Ellis and JG Ballard having all the pretension squeezed out of them and then replaced with Jerry Sadowitz's humour and a dash of scorcese's Goodfellas...and you sort of get somewhere in the right ballpark. Brilliant.
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