by W.P. Kinsella
Showbiz by Jason Anderson (ECW Press, $18.95, 330 pages, ISBN-13:9781550227147). A cover in the worst possible taste won't enhance sales for this remarkably strong book about a comic who becomes famous doing a delightful impersonation of a beloved President, only to die figuratively the day the President is assassinated in real life. Though the names Vaughn Meader and John Fitzgerald Kennedy are never mentioned, it is clear where the inspiration for this story came from. Meader had a couple of very successful records, and was in demand as a stand-up comic who did a remarkable and loveable impression of JFK. Meader disappeared after the Kennedy assassination. He lived hard afterwards, and died a few years ago, a broken man. The Meader character, Jimmy Wynn, has much more resilience than the real Meader. A Canadian freelance journalist is hired by a magazine that prints stories about the dead president, to find Wynn, if he is still alive. When he gets close to finding Wynn, he encounters dark forces endangering his life as well as Wynn's. The story moves from New York, to Las Vegas, to the Mohave Desert to a dinner theater in Niagara Falls. The story is fast-paced and suspenseful.