Friday, September 25, 2009

Discovering John Lennon and the Mercy Street Cafe

It’s actually a detective story, but that’s what investigative journalists are: detectives. They like to snoop, ask questions, see what’s on the down-low. I’d never heard of John Lennon and the Mercy Street Café until my sister gave me a copy that her boyfriend had found abandoned at Starbucks. “It’s good,” she said. “And it’s got a little mojo.”

The back cover blurb said that Lennon finds himself standing in Grand Central Station in 2006, unaware that he was assassinated. And there was mention of Lennon taking a road trip. Road trip novels always get my attention. So do the Beatles. I opened the book to page one and started reading.

It was good. Very good, in fact. The prose style had attitude, and the subplots came together in ways that made me slap my forehead and say aloud, “I sure didn’t see that coming!” How come I’d never heard of the novel before?

I went online, but the novel wasn’t on anyone’s bestseller list. It wasn’t even on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. Two independent bookstores in the next county had ordered a couple of copies for customers, and it was online at Amazon, B&N, and Books-a-Million. It also had a Facebook fan page. I checked the inside cover. Okay, it was published by a small press and was flying under the radar, but how can you keep a well written book about John Lennon under wraps?

I called my friend Sara, a teacher in San Francisco and a major league Beatles fan, and asked if she’d ever heard of John Lennon and the Mercy Street Café.

“Yeah,” she said. “Found a copy on a chair at Starbucks. I took it home and couldn’t put it down. I just ordered another copy.”

“Why?” I asked.

“My brother ripped off my copy and gave it to a friend.”

Copies were being passed around after being found at Starbucks in different states. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. I decided to handle the info as if it were a down-low story. Maybe it was cult fiction with an underground following.


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What Is Cult Fiction?
Is Cult Fiction the Same as Underground Fiction?
Cult Fiction and Genre
Cult Fiction and ON THE ROAD
Moby-Dick: The Ultimate Cult Novel
John Lennon and the Mercy Street Cafe: Cult Fiction in the Making?
The Next Wave of Cult Fiction
List of Cult Fiction Classics
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