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Ten Dead Comedians - who will be the last man standing

Ten Dead Comedians A Murder Mystery by Fred Van Lente Quirk Books General Fiction (Adult) , Mystery & Thrillers Pub Date 11 Jul 2017


And Then There Were None is a classic, and I'm always thrilled to read novels that take a new approach to the plot. Ten Dead Comedians is one of the most unusual reworkings of the classic tale. Much of the novel focuses on the cutthroat nature of comedy and the extreme difficulty involved in remaining in the limelight. Fame and fortune is something many would kill for, but would they also die for it? Nine comedians are invited by famous or rather infamous funny man Dustin Walker. The weekend is viewed as an opportunity, but it quickly becomes clear it is a trap. Each and every one of the comedians has angered Dustin Walker in some way - angered him enough to consider each of their weaknesses and create individualized death traps. The murders are brutal and disturbing. Ten Dead Comedians departs from the formula in two ways - 1) the nature of the “guilt” of the participants & 2) there are survivors.

The comedic monologues are funny, but what you feel most is an overwhelming combination of disgust and pity. You don’t like the characters, but you also don't feel they deserve to be murdered. And you really end up hating Dustin Walker - the lord high executioner of the piece. I'm glad that there were survivors. Somehow if there had been none it would have killed the piece. Ten Dead Comedians is admittedly clever, but it didn't sit well with me.

3 / 5

I received a copy of Ten Dead Comedians from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



Fred Van Lente’s brilliant debut is both an homage to the Golden Age of Mystery and a thoroughly contemporary show-business satire. As the story opens, nine comedians of various acclaim are summoned to the island retreat of legendary Hollywood funnyman Dustin Walker. The group includes a former late-night TV host, a washed-up improv instructor, a ridiculously wealthy “blue collar” comic, and a past-her-prime Vegas icon. All nine arrive via boat to find that every building on the island is completely deserted. Marooned without cell phone service or wifi signals, they soon find themselves being murdered one by one. But who is doing the killing, and why? A darkly clever take on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and other classics of the genre, Ten Dead Comedians is a marvel of literary ventriloquism, with hilarious comic monologues in the voice of every suspect. It’s also an ingeniously plotted puzzler with a twist you’ll never see coming!

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