- Hardcover: 227 pages
- Publisher: Minotaur Books (July 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 031226187X
- ISBN-13: 978-0312261870
- Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.2 x 2.5 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,717,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Elvis soon becomes aware that someone is killing the presidents of his Tennessee fan clubs. He also begins to receive records parodying his top hits. Not one to sit around munching on fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, Elvis begins an investigation into the murders, using the guise of an Elvis impersonator.
On the surface, readers, including this reviewer, will think that KILL ME TENDER is a ludicrous tale using Elvis to sell books that only presleyologists would enjoy. However, do not allow the title, the lead character, or the subject to fool the reader into thinking this novel is impersonating an amateur sleuth take. Instead, Daniel Klein succeeds into turning the King of Rock and Roll into the King of amateur sleuths. The tale works because the story line intermingles irony, facts and legend to turn Elvis into a genuine person not an icon investigating murders in a very segregated south. Sub genre fans will not now or ever return this superb novel to the publisher because this entertaining jailhouse tale rocks.
Elvis is made aware of two young girls who have apparently died in their sleep. They were both presidents of his fan club in different Tennessee cities. No one believes them to be anything but sad. No foul play is suspected. Elvis feels differently and enlists the aid of Billy Jackson, a self-taught doctor to a small black community. His nurse Selma also assists and Elvis is smitten with her.
He also has to deal with a Elvis impersonator that thinks he really is Elvis. Elvis consults with a forensic psychiatrist to try to understand the killer's mind.
Then there is another death of a fan club president. Still no one will listen to him and look into these deaths as murders. Plus Elvis keeps receiving recordings of his songs but with twisted lyrics. Who can be sending these? Could they be related to the deaths?
In the meantime, Elvis goes to his class reunion and runs into Penny Woodruff, a classmate and former girlfriend.
Things are getting complicated and Elvis is constantly missing recording sessions in his quest to find a killer no one else is even looking for. His is constantly have to deal with his manager and childhood pals at Graceland. His interest in Selma is constantly growing, but what about Priscilla.
Elvis ends up putting himself and others in danger to discover the identity of the killer before there are any more deaths.
I found this to be a delightful mystery. The Elvis character was so well constructed, I often found myself wondering if these things really happened!
This is a terrific new series and I can't wait to read them all. You will not be disappointed! You won't want to put it down until the last page! I highly recommend it!
"Kill Me Tender" is a pure fiction "murder mystery" featuring Elvis Presley. Well, why not? There are many "fact"-books written about Elvis that are playing more or less fast and loose with those facts. At least the cover of this book states that this time it is fiction.
Elvis playing detective is not a strange idea at all, because it is a well-known fact Elvis had the hang of the police enforcement. Overall it is clear that the writer studied his main character pretty well. He does not only recommend Peter Guralnick's works, but it looks like he actually read them.
Daniel Klein took some liberties with stipulations as to time that catch the eye of the reader immediately, at least when the reader is an Elvis-fan. To the less fanatics those stipulations are just "Elvis-facts" that may seem in place. We can safely place the story in 1960, because most "facts" point to that. Elvis is home for just a couple of months after returning from Germany and "Elvis Is Back" is his latest album. Being a couple of weeks from the filming of "Take Me to The Fair" is in contradiction with this, because this movie (which became "It Happened At The World's Fair") was not filmed before the last quarter of 1962. Also a statue of Elvis in a jumpsuit and a TCB-belt do not really fit in the 1960-picture, because it took another decade before those things showed up. On first sight it looks strange that some of the Elvis-related people are mentioned by name, like Priscilla, Vernon, The Colonel and The Jordanaires, while Elvis' close friends are fictional.
Here we'll stop the hair-splitting. Assuming you like murder-mysteries at all this book is a nice read. It is fast, but demanding: it forces you to read on, even when you know you should go to sleep, because you have to go to work again the next day. The mystery starts when two young girls, both presidents of local fanclubs find an untimely death. Elvis gets involved and before you know it you are reading about P.I. Presley instead of G.I. Presley. There are some tender, touching moments, of course there is tension too and even humour can be spotted on several pages. In other words we enjoyed the book very much and therefore we won't say anything more about it, especially not regarding the story line. Not to give away the clue and to be sure we won't spoil your pleasure reading it!
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