Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Chasing Elvis

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Chasing Elvis

Article excerpt

Glenn P. Marcel. Chasing Elvis. Arlington, VA: The Invisible College Press, LLC, 2004. 261 pages. $14.95.

Chasing Elvis is a funny, clever book by Glenn Marcel, who happens to be the husband of Kathy Marcel, Chapter Liaison director in Phi Kappa Phi's headquarters at Louisiana State University. This is Marcel's second published novel. From the opening pages, Chasing Elvis is a comic romp with a couple of mysteries thrown in to boot; it is a delightful book that is worth a look.

A warning: Early printings of this novel have some serious editing flaws that for an English major like me are hard to ignore. All too frequently, a truly egregious error appears that grates on the nerves - for example, "shuttered" when the author means "shuddered," "waived" when he means "waved," and so on. Such errors appear much too frequently in a book that is otherwise well-written and tightly plotted, and the publisher of the book did the author a profound disservice by not having had a good copy editor proofread the manuscript at least once before it went to press. As I understand it, subsequent printings of the book will eliminate most such errors. Nevertheless, you fellow grammar-sticklers out there, be prepared for a few discordant notes if you end up with one of the earlier printings.

The book opens in 1982, five years after Elvis Presley's untimely demise, with a comical scene as a supposed Elvis impersonator and would-be bank robber bungles his way through a robbery, yet pulls it off despite his own incompetence. A Memphis police officer, Adam Vaughn, on leave to pursue his own obsession with finding out if Elvis is truly dead, begins following up leads related to the robbery and is killed in a freak car accident; he leaves behind his fiveyear-old daughter. The next chapter flashes forward to 1999, where we meet two drugged-out and promiscuous California high school girls, products of largely absentee, wealthy parents working in the entertainment industry; the girls discuss the sorts of things one would imagine drugged-out, promiscuous high school girls discuss. This apparently incongruous chapter is the beginning of a second, separate plotline that Marcel alternates with the main plot, the two of which become inextricably intertwined as the book dashes to its climax.

Flash forward a few more years, to the "present day." Melissa "Mel" Vaughn, the five-year-old left an orphan after her father's accident, is now grown and a reporter for Weird Magazine, a supermarket tabloid that specializes in alien abductions, Bigfoot sightings, and "Elvis is Alive" stories. …

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