A novel by Glen Bonham

What do a mysterious southern sheriff, a car thief disguised as an Elvis impersonator, the Japanese Yakuza, the mafia, a locked metal briefcase, a couple of beefy goons, and a washed-up investigative journalist on the brink of a major breakthrough…all have in common?

A Pink Cadillac…THE Pink Cadillac Elvis bought for his mother in the 1950s…

There is a rich tradition in the area of Elvis fiction. From humble beginnings in the early 1980s when only a handful of titles existed, today we see numerous novels with an Elvis theme published every year. Elvis fiction now ranks as an important library in itself.

One of the latest offerings is “The Elvis Interviews” by Glen Bonham.

Living up to its back cover description, The Elvis Interviews is a rollicking roller coaster ride meshing fact and fiction in an exciting adventure as the game is on to steal Elvis’ Pink Cadillac from Graceland.

The plot is quickly set:
A handsome, sixty-something Kansas sheriff, Jesse Smith, pulls over a 1955 pink Cadillac for speeding. No sooner has the sheriff sent the driver on his way with a speeding ticket and a warning—when something about the caddie begins to bother him….

A strength of The Elvis Interviews is the author’s engaging writing style. There is a dynamic force to Bonham’s storytelling as the reader’s interest is quickly engaged. His prose is one which flows effortlessly.

Bonham uses a nice balance between descriptive narrative and character conversation, and this heightens our interest and fuels our motivation to read on to the next twist or adventure.

Pleasingly, this is not one of those books you need to strain to understand the storyline, nor one where you have to re-read parts to recall what has happened. Its short, snappy chapters take us
quickly from scene to scene (read R.W. Moore’s comments below) keeping the pace lively and making us wonder what is next in store. As a device the chapter structure creates great momentum.

Bonham’s characters are well drawn, and importantly, they are interesting. Be it J.J., Vinnie, Ed, Frank, Nick, Heavy or Sheriff Jess….they all ooze interest.

The narrative itself permeates its Elvis theme nicely with even-handed doses of Elvis iconography… Pink Cadillac, Graceland, the Memphis Mafia, the Blue Moon Boys, Las Vegas, and of course The King himself.

The Elvis Interviews is also visually evocative without being overly florid, each sentence filling your mind with rich images of the narrative:

The 21 Club’s owner was a sinister-looking guy with a barrel chest whose weasel-like, penetrating grimace registered everything and unnerved those in his path.

The next morning Ed opened his eyes to a vicious axe-like pain resonating from his skull. The digital clock on the night-stand was flashing 10:00am. Once again, he had far overshot his whiskey limit the night before.

The “interviews” of the book’s title involve recollections of those who knew Elvis while he was alive (but is he really dead?) and they provide a clever narrative device which adds resonance and further engagement with, and for, the reader:

“A few months later, Elvis and his band, guitar player, Scotty Moore, bass player Bill Black and D.J. Fontana, his drummer, had just finished a gig in New Orleans…

“Man, we need new wipers,” said Elvis, as he strained to see the road ahead. The rain the wipers were having a hard time keeping up. Scotty was sound asleep in the front seat. Bill was snoring loudly in the back.”

Without giving anything away, Bonham has cleverly constructed a denouement which will please conspiracy fans.

Many fans have not experienced the interesting and stimulating world of Elvis fiction. In this respect, The Elvis Interviews is a very good place to start. You will find a literary world very different to that normally associated with The King and his music.

Verdict: If you like good, old fashioned storytelling, full of twists and turns and liberal doses of Elvis infused adventure, then you will love The Elvis Interviews. It is a book which leaves you wanting more (and thankfully a sequel is in the works). Read it and be very pleasantly entertained.

Nigel Patterson EIN (The Elvis Information Network)