A True Story of Murder, Money and Mayhem in the Last Age of Boxing
A remarkable true-crime story of intrigue, violence and two men who never should have met.
The Years of the Locust is a true story of intrigue, paranoia, murder and money set in the shimmering cities of America's South in the 1990s. It's the story of two men who never should have met, and when they did, one killed the other. There are walk-on parts for Don King, George Foreman, the FBI and a fallen NFL hero, yet it's the two central characters - sociopathic door-to-door-sales-king-turned-boxing-promoter Rick 'Elvis' Parker and his loyal, naive and ultimately incorruptible fighter Tim Anderson - that make this story extraordinary and unforgettable.
It would be impossible to invent a man like Rick Parker, a freakishly fat ginger-haired giant who modelled his personal style on Elvis Presley and wanted to become the next Don King. Don himself told Rick how to do it - find a white man who could become the heavyweight champion of the world. Then Rick met Tim Anderson, a handsome, funny former baseball pro - was he the fighter to take Parker all the way? Rick left a trail of fixed fights and violent mayhem all across the South, but his dream stayed out of reach. By the end of his reign of terror Tim would be broke, poisoned and facing the hardest choice of all. And now Tim is doing life without parole in a state prison, and Rick - well, Rick's dead.
By juxtaposing the lives of these two extraordinary men, The Years of the Locust turns a remarkable, riotous true-crime story into a profound examination of chance, choices and remorse - one that's scary, sad and blackly, bleakly funny.
“The Years of the Locust is criminally good...Jon Hotten charts the corruption and shattered lives this low-rent Machiavelli left in his wake in this gripping look at the dark heart of the noble art.”
“Hotten tells a terrific story, a real-life tale that will appeal to anyone who enjoys the darkly comic Florida-based thrillers of Carl Hiaasan”
“A brilliant feat of research and reportage”
Independent on Sunday
“The Years of the Locust stands in the tradition of great boxing writing”
Soctland on Sunday