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Monday, October 24, 2011

Shallow Graves by Goat Carson

Okay, so I really enjoyed this book, despite one quibble -- which I'll get to. Shallow Graves is a tour de force of language and storytelling. It's full of colorful images and similes that seem to roll off the tongues of southerners, and Texans in particular. It was written by Grammy-winning songwriter Rev. Goat Carson.

This retelling of the Parsifal story -- Percival, from King Arthur's Round Table, and the quest for the Holy Grail -- is rife with occult imagery and social commentary, while being a rollicking good story. It is set in Hollywood and the Hamptons during the 1970s. The Satanic rituals described  reminded this reader of scenes in Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.

Here's the thing -- anyone who was around during the 1970s might find this tale plausible, rather than fiction. There was a lot of weird stuff going on back then -- who remembers Andrew Crispo? --  and that was certainly the time when the suits in media began to do away with any idea of redeeming social value in their presentations. When I mentioned the book and its premise to a friend in the business, he said "There's probably more truth to that idea than any of us want to admit. In the 1970s, there was a battle between good and evil in television. Evil won."

In Shallow Graves, the machinations of the Satanic covens are thwarted by Masonic overlords protecting a descendant of Jesus. In reality, well, turn on your television.

Okay, so here is my one quibble with the book. There are so many simple typos throughout that it became aggravating at times. The word "off" does not appear in the book once -- it is always "of". Likewise, "It" or "In" at the beginning of sentences as often as not, it seems, appears as "I". There are some others. None of them are truly egregious, and the story always moves right along. However, if the author paid for proofreading services, he should get his money back.

That said, Shallow Graves is a great read, a real page turner told by a rip-roaring storyteller. It is literate, provocative and compelling. Get yourself a copy and settle in for a first rate read.


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