Elvis Has Not Left the Building

Elvis Has Not Left the Building - J.R. Rain Do you think this is a silly idea?

Elvis Presley has faked his death and lives in Los Angeles under the name of Aaron King, (get it?) working as a private investigator specializing in finding missing persons. He is 74 years old, has a drinkng and Vicodin problem, and is usually broke.

Of course, it is a silly idea.

But J. R. Rain not only makes it work but gives it a raise and and a promotion. This has to be the biggest surprise, not to mention my most entertaining read, in all of 2011. What a nice way to finish up the year.

There are a number of things that makes this totally implausible idea work. First of all, the author's likable and casual prose does not allow us to take this fantasy too seriously. Then he manages to make Elvis mot only sympathetic but a very realistic geriatric gentleman with all of the charm, strengths and weaknesses one would expect from The King. Then there's the mystery. Rains keeps it fairly simply but keeps us guessing on the outcome. In ways. it is typically crime noir but Rains' little gimmick gives it the extra twist it needs.

I was quite taken by both the story and Rains' snappy prose. Without giving anything away, I must say it has one of the best endings I've read in a while, making it a very satisfying and upbeat crime noir novel and a perfect way to end the year of 2011.

I bet this is the first time you've ever seen the words upbeat and crime noir in the same sentence.

BTW, the kindle edition is currently available for free along with quite a few other J. R. Rains novels. It seems to be a growing habit for indie writers to allow their first book in series as a freebie with the intent of hooking the reader into the rest of the series. In this case, I'm hooked.

May 2013 update: The book is no longer free but still a bargain at $3.99.