By Rob Brunner
May 28, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

In this wholly unsatisfying biography, Irish writer Tony Clayton-Lea doesn’t reprint any lyrics because he says Costello’s management told him ”copyright of his lyrics would be protected to the utmost.” Allow me, then, to offer an appropriate Costello quote: ”There’s no action.” It’s hard to imagine a duller summary of Costello’s volatile career, and Clayton-Lea’s prose is ridden with uninsightful yawners like ”The large amount of quotable lyrics on Imperial Bedroom may or may not amount to a man breaking down and confessing (or addressing) various issues close to his heart.” What’s more, this unauthorized bio is little more than a consolidation of previously published articles. For an artist of his stature, Costello is woefully underrepresented on bookshelves, and fans desperately crave a reported bio full of revealing anecdotes, in-depth musical discussion, and lively writing. Elvis Costello: A Biography isn’t it. D