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Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Don Imus said of this book: “Elvis, Jesus & Coca-Cola is this generation’s Catcher in the Rye. And it doesn’t make you want to shoot a Beatle.” True, but as much as I like this book, it didn’t curb my desire to see Lady Gaga flattened by a steamroller, either.

But be that as it may (and I doubt if it was), ELVIS, JESUS & COCA COLA is another of Kinky Friedman’s tour-de-forces in his impressive catalog of comedic mysteries. Ever since I first read his inaugural novel, GREENWICH KILLING TIME, I’ve been coming back for more whenever his newest book would hit the stand. Sadly, Kinky is not doing mysteries anymore (at least for the time being), but I occasionally still see new publications of his just-made-up “wise old sayings” or reprints of his newspaper columns.

Fans of oddball recipes will be enamored of this book, too, because it includes the recipe for Coca-Cola salad, which was considered to be one of Elvis Presley’s favorite dishes (aside from peanut butter and banana sandwiches and blackened - almost cremated - slices of bacon).

The plot of ELVIS, JESUS & COCA-COLA has to do with a film of Elvis impersonators shot by a recently deceased friend of Kinky’s, Tom Baker. There is a secret contained within the frames of the film that someone is willing to kill for. It’s Kinky’s mission, along with “the Village Irregulars”, to find out what the secret is and to solve several murders and a disappearance.

If you’ve never read a Kinky Friedman novel before, you should be aware that he tosses off some incredibly entertaining one-liners – something he has managed to do (and make it look easy) from book to book. All the while, he writes a pretty good mystery, too.

Amidst all that, though, you will find that Kinky has some pretty profound things to say about the human condition. You’ll be laughing one minute and then find him tugging at your heartstrings in the very next paragraph.

There is a memorial at the end of the book devoted to Kinky’s late cat, Cuddles. When our cat Rusty died, I grabbed this book and read the memorial aloud to Karen (my better half). She misted up when I was done reading it, but I wanted to show her that a person’s love for their deceased pet endures even after the heartbreak of losing something so precious, and that life is invariably better when we are loved by a cat. Thanks, Kinky, for teaching me that

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