Book Review: “Elephant Vice,” by Chris Meekings

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Elephant Vice, by Chris Meekings
Elephant Vice
By Chris Meekings
Eraserhead Press/New Bizarro Author Series
Reviewed by Karl Wolff
After an influx of an illegal drug hits the coast community of Maybe Beach, two cops are called on to solve the case. Since this is a bizarro novella by Eraserhead Press, things will get weird pretty fast. It turns out the two cops called in are Vincent van Gogh and Ganesha. This mismatched pair learns that this new drug “turns people into the object their essence most resembles.” Chris Meekins, part of Eraserhead’s stable of new authors, seamlessly brings together an absurdist premise around a gripping cop thriller story. No easy task, since the pairing could fall into the domain of camp. The humor bubbles to the surface because every character is played straight.
As the story develops, we learn about a rogue gang of flamingos and meet Ganesha’s assistant, Trish. She’s a normal girl except she has bubblegum for hair and drives Ganesha and Vincent around in a filled bathtub. Meekings keeps the plot lunging forward as Vincent and Ganesha discover more and more dead bodies killed by the drug. We also learn about a mysterious character named M. Equal parts hard-boiled detective novel and Art History 101, Elephant Vice had me riveted right up to the end. For those who like their fiction a little strange, this is the novel for you. Violence, romance, thwarted love, jealousy, and a Hindu God and the master of French Post-Impressionism teaming up to solve crimes.
Out of 10/9.0
Read even more about Elephant Vice: Official site | Amazon | GoodReads | LibraryThing

Karl Wolff has been a local TV production assistant, museum curator, and undergraduate teaching assistant. He currently reviews books for CCLaP, the New York Journal of Books, runs his own blog (The Driftless Area Review), and has written features for Milwaukee's own Alcoholmanac Magazine and INFO* Magazine.