Fred Van Lente.
What is billed as a dark take on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, actually reminds me of a more twisted version of the movie Clue. Like the movie Clue, the people in this book are all connected. They each have a secret, one that could ultimately lead to their demise.
In Ten Dead Comedians, Dustin Walker has become a bit of a recluse but the well-known funnyman appears to up for one last hurrah. He invites a mixture of up-and-coming comedians, like Dante Dupree, Zoe Schwartz, Ruby Ng, and Oliver "Ollie" Rees, and has-been/past-their prime comedians, like Steve Gordon, TJ Martinez, Janet Kahn, and William Griffith, to his private island. None of them are exactly sure why they've been invited, but who can pass on the chance to work with someone they once looked up to.
Once on the island, nothing is going right. Dustin's "assistant," Meredith, has no idea where their elusive host is but tries to assure everyone that everything is OK. Of course, it's not! While no one has seen Dustin in the flesh, he did leave behind a video detailing all the fun that awaits. Although, it's not so funny when Dustin kills himself on film. Is it real? Or perhaps it's an elaborate prank by the comedic genius? Ollie refuses to believe it's real, he's certain Dustin will reveal himself at the proper time. But...not everyone is so easily convinced--especially when the bodies start to drop. The first victim falls prey to poison, this one got off pretty easily. Each death gets more elaborate and more gruesome and in a macabre way kind of funny!! The whole island is booby-trapped. One more step could be your last. One person dies after falling into a bouncy house with knives at the bottom, on the surface that doesn't sound funny but read it in context. Who is behind it all? Why? If it's Dustin, why? What did any of his guests ever do to Dustin? No one knows for sure, but soon it's every man and woman for their themselves. It's hard to trust someone who might want to kill you!
I did my best to guess who the murderer was, but I really didn't get it until the end. I think that's the mark of good writing. I was engrossed from start to finish. I don't think I picked up on all of the comedic nuances, but I still managed to enjoy this addictive story!
Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Quirk Books) at the request of Saichek Publicity, in exchange for an honest review.