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Viva Las Vengeance

Viva Las Vengeance

4.0 1
by Daniel M. Klein, Daniel Klein

It's 1964 and Elvis is in Las Vegas for a little R&R before starting his next picture, Roustabout. This ought to be a quiet time for the overextended King of Rock 'n' Roll to find his bearings, himself, and maybe, just maybe, his own personal muse.

But a King's work is never done. And before long, Elvis finds himself under immense pressure to find


It's 1964 and Elvis is in Las Vegas for a little R&R before starting his next picture, Roustabout. This ought to be a quiet time for the overextended King of Rock 'n' Roll to find his bearings, himself, and maybe, just maybe, his own personal muse.

But a King's work is never done. And before long, Elvis finds himself under immense pressure to find something entirely different: a killer!

When an enormously overweight tourist turns up ritualistically murdered at the billboard for one of Las Vegas's preeminent wedding chapels, Elvis can't help falling into the middle of an inept police investigation. Just before the tourist's death, the Sahara Casino's headline comedian, Howie Pickles, had singled her out for insult jokes at a show that Elvis attended. Immediately, the rumor spreads all over town that Pickles's gags are deadly.

A day later, a second tourist is murdered and conspiracy theories multiply: Is it a hotel and casino war? A war between local wedding chapels? A war between Sin City's major brothels?

Drawn into the case, Elvis finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer who lives on a commune for failed showbiz types. He also discovers that a born-again Christian group in town is hailing him as the Second Coming.

As the death toll mounts, Elvis teams up in an unlikely alliance with a pill-popping, enlightenment-seeing Harvard dropout, a Southern belle turned high-class prostitute, and the immensely annoying Howie Pickles himself.

The story climaxes in a "peace concert" that Elvis gives to bring together all the warring factions. But with that concert come some painful - and deadly - revelations.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The world's only hip-swiveling detective takes on crime in Sin City in Klein's third rollicking Elvis mystery (after Kill Me Tender and Blue Suede Clues), which includes dueling casinos, battling brothels and rival marriage chapels. For novelty, a swarm of killer bees also makes a deadly appearance. Throw into the mix the Strip's most notorious insult comedian, Howie Pickles (rhymes with "Rickles"), an Aquarian Age religious cult and gonzo journalist Digby Ferguson (think Fear and Loathing, complete with firearms and Drugs-'R'-Us), and Viva has something for everybody. Readers unversed in the spiritual urges that assailed Presley in the mid-'60s, however, may find off-putting the King's attraction to a Hare-Krishna commune in the desert hills; his attraction to the commune's voluptuous leader, on the other hand, should come as little surprise. Nonetheless, those yearnings, central to the plot, are accurately portrayed, though Klein does slip on a few minor biographical details (e.g., Presley's vagueness about Vietnam and unfamiliarity with Bob Dylan). One of the staples of the series is The Big Concert Scene, and Klein does not disappoint. Indeed, the "Don't Be Cruel Peace Concert" may be the author's best such production yet. Not only is the Elvis-as-P.I. conceit now well established, but the sure-handedness that marks both the character's evolution and the story's multiple plots should draw new fans to the series. (Mar. 10) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
After two objects of a Las Vegas comedian's ridicule wind up spectacularly dead (one on a billboard, another on a wedding chapel steeple), Elvis Presley becomes interested in finding the murderer. One consequence of the killings is that audiences now avoid the hotel where the comedian works. That may be the motive, but Elvis runs into plenty more. In his path, he finds an obnoxious reporter, a voluptuous dancing girl, an owlish Mafia hit man, and others. Klein's entertaining and humorous look at 1960s Las Vegas is a fitting sequel to Kill Me Tender and Blue Suede Clues. Recommended for most collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fresh off a fling with costar Ann-Margret, an agitated Elvis Presley (Blue Suede Clues, 2002, etc.) decides to take a break in Vegas, out of whining range of the increasingly petulant Priscilla, his teenaged paramour. After taking in the act of insult comic Howie Pickles, who works over a big, blithe blond at the front table, Elvis falls a little in love with a voluptuous dancer named Shiva Ree. The dark-eyed beauty performs, along with a black panther, to hypnotic music unlike anything the King has ever heard. Shiva lives at the Center of the Light, an enclave dedicated to the study and practice of Eastern religion and customs. Before long, she's introduced Elvis to tantric sex and other less carnal disciplines. Meanwhile, a whodunit simmers in the background. The aforementioned blond, Bonnie Donaldsen, is found murdered shortly after attending Howie's show with Bruce, her new husband. In short order, there's a second victim, an Atlanta cop named J.P. Whaley, who had his own ringside seat at Howie's comedy show before his death, and, like Bonnie, his own connections to the Little (wedding) Chapel and a local bordello called the Bambi Ranch. An abrasive writer named Digby Ferguson, who wants to unravel the case, tries with limited success to get lovestruck Elvis involved. Under Shiva's influence, Elvis is planning an unusual "peace concert," at which the plot threads converge and most of the loose ends are tied up-not a moment too soon. Jarringly unfunny, and not much of a mystery either.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Elvis Presley Mysteries Series , #3
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.92(w) x 8.56(h) x 1.17(d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Klein is the author of the highly acclaimed Elvis murder mysteries Kill Me Tender and Blue Suede Clues. His other mysteries and thrillers include Embryo and Beauty Sleep. He is the co-author of the humor books Where's Elvis? and Macho Meditations and of an even dozen nonfiction books. A graduate of Harvard, he lives in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

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Viva Las Vengeance 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Elvis is happy to be back in Vegas after a month in Graceland where Priscilla gave him a hard time because of Ann Margaret. Elvis drops in on insult comedian Howie Pickles¿ show at the Sahara. Besides irritating Elvis with his irreverent references to the Lord, Pickles unmercifully picks on an obese woman. The other act, Siva Ree's exotic dance with a panther, thrills Elvis who finds he desires the performer. The next day, Elvis learns that Pickles¿ victim Mrs. Donaldson was murdered and nailed to the billboard of a chapel (the same one that starred in an Elvis flick). The police arrest the husband of the deceased, but the person who found the corpse Digby Ferguson believes the local cops rushed to judgment. He tries to persuade Elvis to join with him to investigate as he knows the rock legend has experience in solving crimes (see KILL ME TENDER and BLUE SUEDE CLUES). Though Elvis amateur sleuth takes a long time to begin, fans of the superstar will relish this tale awhile wondering if Daniel Klein had a sighting as the plot brings Presley so vividly to life. The story line engages readers with its insightful look at a complete Elvis to include frustration with movie scripts (Roustabout is the current one) and his complicated love life that is made more complex by Siva. The story is well written, but more for the Elvis guru than the amateur sleuth aficionado. Harriet Klausner