Remember the movie “Fatal Attraction”? And the movie “Basic Instinct”? And the movie “Play Misty For Me”? Toss all three of the movies in a blender, hit frappe and stand back. What comes out would be Gary Taylor’s new book – Luggage By Kroger.
LBK is the story of Gary’s intimate relationship with Catherine Mehaffey, which began way back in 1979. As the story opens, Mehaffey is suing her live-in lover for half of everything he has. No, they weren’t married. Mehaffey claimed they were some bizarre version of common-law husband and wife, therefore, she was entitled to sue for divorce and get half her husband’s money. Before the divorce hearing can take place, Mehaffey’s live-in lover husband turns up dead. Somebody beat him to death with a pipe (or some other equally gruesome blunt instrument).
Now Mehaffey wants the entire estate and the money from the life insurance policy. And did I mention that Mehaffey is a person of interest to the Houston Police Department. In fact, they consider her their prime suspect.
By the way, did I mention that this is a true story. This is not fiction.
Enter Gary Taylor, who is a reporter for the Houston Post. He’s trying to write a story on the whole Mehaffey/murder/quasi-marriage/dead lover/who might be a former husband. Taylor gets shall we say “involved” with Mehaffey. They have lots of steamy sexual interludes. As the freak show, which is called a “relationship” (sounds like a disease), moves along, Taylor begins to wonder about his new girlfriend. What he wonders is if she’s just psychosocial or fully psychotic. It’s obvious to Taylor that Mehaffey killed her previous live-in lover.
And it isn’t too long before Mehaffey takes aim – literally – at Taylor. She tries to kill him. I won’t describe it, but it involves a .32 caliber handgun, a screaming harridan, and Taylor running away as fast as he can.
LBK is a great book. It’s well-written, which means that it moves along and doesn’t get bogged down in nonsense that isn’t pertinent to the story. And Taylor’s voice, which is funny in a I-can’t-believe-I-did-this-and-lived kind of way, entertains without trying to deliberately prove he should have been a comedian.
Did I mention another tidbit? It’s a self-published book, which is hard to tell because somebody did a good job of editing the text. And somebody (the same person?) did a wonderful job copy-editing the text. I couldn’t find one typo or glitch in punctuation. Most self-publishers don’t put that kind of time and attention into their final product. The self-publishers forget that when readers pay 20 bucks or more for a book, they want their money’s worth. Taylor provides it.
The title – Luggage By Kroger – was just weird enough to catch my eye. The more I think about the title, the more I like it. And the cover art was a good idea gone bad. I liked the concept, but the implementation was poor. The colors are washed out, which means I had to stare at the cover for two minutes to figure out what it was supposed to be. Whereas, in a perfect world, the cover should slap me across the face with its high contrast.
The cover was my only gripe. Luggage By Kroger is worth the price of admission. In fact, in my semi-humble opinion, some BIG BOY publisher in the Big Apple should pick it up and publish it in hardcover (with a more lucid cover photo), then sell the paperback rights, then sell the translation rights and maybe do a movie-option deal with Warner Brothers or MGM. If they do, and it all comes true, I want 5 points on the back end of the movie as my middleman’s fee.
I’ll see you in Hawaii, if it comes true. I’ll be guy working on his tan, drinking one of those fruity-alcoholic-concoctions-with-an-umbrella in it.
Short review summary: buy this book. It’s sick! as the hip kids say.