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Book Review: Great Book, great ending

Posted: September 4, 2011 – 12:01am

By ANNE C. HEYMEN Copyright 2011 . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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“Graceland Express,” by Marie Vernon; Dementi Milestone Publishing; $14.95.


OK, you tell yourself: Another Elvis book. Ho hum.

But what a pleasant surprise. As it turns out “Graceland Express” is a fast-paced tale of Vangie who works at K mart and is trapped in a life which revolves around a mother who is convinced that Gypsies are invading her home.

Author is St. Augustine resident Marie Vernon, a former feature writer, columnist and reviewer for the Baltimore Sun.

Central character of “Graceland Express” is Vangie, a member of the Elvis 4-Ever Fan Club, a group which is planning a trip to Graceland to mark the 10th anniversary of Elvis’s death. Vangie wants desperately to go, but when the Gypsies again become the focus of Vangie’s mother’s life, it looks like the Elvis bus will be leaving Baltimore without Vangie.

But Vangie is a lot more than just an Elvis fan. She is a caring young woman who is devoted to hospitalized children and performs good works in the name of the Elvis 4-Ever Fan Club for the children in a Baltimore hospital. Her devotion and contributions catch the attention of the Baltimore newspaper, and Vangie is thrust into the spotlight.

Humor makes this book a fun read — and you find yourself laughing out loud on numerous occasions, especially visualizing the burly truck driver who favors Tom Selleck in looks and is devoted to his demanding feline Konstanze.

Then there’s Vangie’s brother, Floyd O’Toole, who is always positive that the next big score will allow him to flee the country and live in luxury in a tropical paradise with the current woman of his dreams.

Elvis fan or not you’ll get a kick out of “Graceland Express” and its twists and turns leading up to departure day for Graceland.

And you won’t believe the ending.

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