Almost Graceland

Steve Carlson, Author
Steve Carlson, Author . St. Martin's/Dunne $23.95 (263p) ISBN 978-0-312-37398-6
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Set in 1977, Carlson's debut novel centers on the flimsy premise that 42-year-old trouble-prone protagonist Ray Johnston is Elvis's separated-at-birth twin brother. Raylives in a trailer and contends with “his share of work problems, marriage problems, divorce problems, parental problems, identity problems, and, most definitely, financial problems.” Then there's his resemblance to Elvis, which used to be nothing more than an annoyance. But when his girlfriend Sheree conveniently locates his mother's journals and discovers he was adopted and was born on the same day in the same hospital as the King, Ray sells his story—that he's Elvis's long-lost twin brother—to a tabloid, but it isn't until he happens across Ned, the King's chauffeur, in a bar that things fall into place. When Elvis and Ray finally meet, Ray experiences a sense of homecoming that he hadn't thought possible, even though his brother refuses to acknowledge the relationship, insisting on additional research. Carlson's novel is built upon a rickety platform of coincidences, but Elvis-loving readers who can put their disbelief in check will want to add this to the collection. (Nov.)

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