cover image Mesopotamia


Arthur Nersesian, Akashic, $15.95 paper (225p) ISBN 978-1-936070-08-4

The immortal shadow of Elvis Presley gyrates wildly through this satiric exploration of America's fascination with tabloid journalism. Washed-up alcoholic reporter Cassandra Bloomgarten gets a career reboot when a sensational "runaway bride" case erupts in the town of Mesopotamia, Tenn., near Memphis. Adopted from a Korean orphanage and raised in the area by a Jewish family, Cassandra may have the local connections to grab the headline, but what happens when she stumbles across two dead Elvis impersonators and a large family left fatherless by a meth lab explosion? The plot thickens— or zigzags. Nersesian (Suicide Casanova) ambles along, almost getting lost in sitcom territory with the adorable fatherless kids, but he recovers when Cassandra enters an Elvis impersonator contest. A surprise ending won't be much of a shock to anyone who knows Elvis lore, but the loose, amiable read carries you through. (July)