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From The CriticsOrson Killere, a principled child whose mother works at Camp Pershing, the United States Army base outside Wiesbaden, Germany, becomes, at the age of eleven, such a relentless Elvis fan that he steals a handful of the King's records from the base. This is a robbery quixotic enough to make headlines, and thus prompts a visit from Elvis himself, who is doing his military service during the late '50s in Germany. The lifelong friendship that ensues is the central element of Buckley's canny fourteenth novel, which sparkles with the borrowed allure of charismatic, real-life figures rather than the insights of fiction. But unless readers are indifferent to the truth or have an encyclopedic knowledge of Elvis' life, they must suffer through the continual annoyance of having to guess whether various incidents—such as Elvis' purchase of six Lincoln Continentals for various friends—are fact, fantasy or some combination of both. To spice up the action, there is also the stir and bustle of drug use and political protest, as Orson comes of age in the 1960s. Implausibly, given his political beliefs, Orson is given a staunchly conservative girlfriend named Susan, who leads him on a pilgrimage to Sen. Barry Goldwater's house a few weeks after his bid for the presidency. The best part of the book deals with Orson's childhood in Camden, South Carolina, and in Wiesbaden; before Elvis comes into view, there is a sweetness and genuineness of emotion that makes Orson and his relationship with his sensible, affectionate mother a pleasure.