Hot Best Seller

Ten Dead Comedians: A Murder Mystery

Availability: Ready to download

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 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!


Compare

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 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!

30 review for Ten Dead Comedians: A Murder Mystery

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    In his debut novel, Fred Van Lente does Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None - but with comedians! And it’s not bad. Many of the characters are thinly-veiled versions of real-life comedians: there’s a Larry the Cable Guy-type, Carrot Top, Ali Wong, George Lopez, and Joan Rivers, to name a few. They’re lured to a private island owned by a famous, rich comic they all have connections to who strangely isn’t there to greet them - and then the comedians start getting killed one by one! And Th In his debut novel, Fred Van Lente does Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None - but with comedians! And it’s not bad. Many of the characters are thinly-veiled versions of real-life comedians: there’s a Larry the Cable Guy-type, Carrot Top, Ali Wong, George Lopez, and Joan Rivers, to name a few. They’re lured to a private island owned by a famous, rich comic they all have connections to who strangely isn’t there to greet them - and then the comedians start getting killed one by one! And Then There Were None (alternately titled Ten Little Niggers/Indians/Soldiers hence Van Lente’s title) is my favourite Agatha Christie novel and a masterpiece but Van Lente, despite being a talented comics writer, isn’t as good a novelist as Christie to make his story as gripping as hers. I think he’s going for both a comedic and thrilling novel and, in splitting his focus on two disparate genres, doesn’t really accomplish either. Whereas with Christie the tension builds until you forget you’re even reading, you’re flying through the pages, Van Lente’s story has a stop/start rhythm to it; sometimes it’s exciting, like when a murder happens, but more often than not it’s kinda dull as the characters stand around wondering what to do. The story is padded out with excerpts from the comedians’ standup routines which were the worst parts of the book. Full marks to Van Lente for trying, and I realise writing genuinely funny comedy is very hard, but, wow, were these passages unfunny - I didn’t laugh once at anything. Maybe that was the point - to highlight the comedians’ hackery - but it didn’t make for entertaining reading either. The premise is still a great one and kept me reading to find out whodunit. I also couldn’t guess who the murderer was (though their motivation for the killings was so stupid) so the mystery is maintained the whole time. Van Lente sporadically wrings enough interesting scenes out of it to make this a decent, quick read on the beach or on a plane. But it’s still a very average book and, if you’ve never read Agatha Christie’s original, I’d highly recommend checking that one out over Ten Dead Comedians.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This book didn't make me laugh. It just made me grumpy. I admire the chutzpah of a debut author doing a homage to the Queen of Mysteries, Agatha Christie, in this book based on And Then There Were None but it never really lived up to its promise. This time the characters brought to the desert island were comedians. Not to worry though, their crimes were they aren't funny and abused their comical abilities. I concur that they are guilty of this. I really don't know what else to say. I think ever This book didn't make me laugh. It just made me grumpy. I admire the chutzpah of a debut author doing a homage to the Queen of Mysteries, Agatha Christie, in this book based on And Then There Were None but it never really lived up to its promise. This time the characters brought to the desert island were comedians. Not to worry though, their crimes were they aren't funny and abused their comical abilities. I concur that they are guilty of this. I really don't know what else to say. I think everyone knows the story of people cut off from humanity and then slowly killed one by one. Who is killing them? Will anyone survive? Does anyone care? If this appeals to you then I would read the original. When you are dealing with unlikable people it needs a special skill to get the reader involved. It doesn't happen here. Thanks to Net Galley for this book in exchange for a fair review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    This was an entertaining homage to Agatha Christie and to old school murder mystery but with a cutting edge and a lot of hilarious happenings. Full review to follow.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    In Ten Dead Comedians, a text by popular comedian Dustin Walker goes out to 10 comedians, inviting them on a private island to work on a new comedy project together. But when they get there, Dustin is nowhere to be found, they have no cell reception and therefore no way to get off the island and they’re getting killed off one by one. It was very exciting to see how the deaths of every comedian were executed. There were a lot of interesting, creative and unexpected ways for them to die and a lot o In Ten Dead Comedians, a text by popular comedian Dustin Walker goes out to 10 comedians, inviting them on a private island to work on a new comedy project together. But when they get there, Dustin is nowhere to be found, they have no cell reception and therefore no way to get off the island and they’re getting killed off one by one. It was very exciting to see how the deaths of every comedian were executed. There were a lot of interesting, creative and unexpected ways for them to die and a lot of hidden traps that were surprising for both the reader and the characters! Being someone who doesn’t really read mysteries, it was so intriguing! I especially liked the ending of the book! I was so stunned when everything was revealed because it was so unexpected! And I loved the process of the mystery being uncovered and figured out by the remaining characters! It’s such a plot twist when you find out who the murderer is and how everything was planned and executed! I really liked that I was surprised and it wasn’t easy to guess at all! As someone who doesn’t read a lot of mysteries and therefore having nothing to compare it to, I found Ten Dead Comedians to be very enjoyable! I felt like it was well-done and the plot twist was something that nobody could have expected! Full review can be found on my blog: https://toomuchofabooknerd.wordpress.... :) *I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion in any way!* --- 17th June: This was a surprisingly good read (better than the last 3 books I read and DNFed lol). I was going to give this like 3 stars but the ending convinced me to add another star! RTC.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marvin

    Three and a half stars. The title of Ten Dead Comedians is going to sound very familiar to anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of murder mysteries. The best selling mystery of all times is Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None which was also titled Ten Little Indians and in its first printing was given the title Ten Little *insert N word*. Fortunately saner heads won out in later years. Fred Van Lent's very funny take-off on the Christie novel can be called a pastiche or even a tribute to th Three and a half stars. The title of Ten Dead Comedians is going to sound very familiar to anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of murder mysteries. The best selling mystery of all times is Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None which was also titled Ten Little Indians and in its first printing was given the title Ten Little *insert N word*. Fortunately saner heads won out in later years. Fred Van Lent's very funny take-off on the Christie novel can be called a pastiche or even a tribute to the classic book but, like all good tributes, it adds something of its own and makes its own statement. Fred Van Lente is primarily known as a writer of comic books and graphic novels. This is his first novel and I guess it is a compliment that it didn't make me think of graphic novels at all. It made me think of someone who has a first hand knowledge of the business of stand-up comedy and the psychological make-up of anyone who wishes to go into that brutal business. I am not sure whether he has that experience but he made me feels like he did. The premise of Ten Dead Comedians, as it is in the Agatha Christie book, involves ten people who are invited to a secluded island for somewhat vague reasons. One by one, they end up being murdered. Since it is established that no one else is on the island, the murderer has to be one of the ten. And we are off to the races. All of Van Lente's unsuspecting victims are comedians. In fact, they are sort of a sampling of comic stereotypes. Some of them are thin disguises of well known comics such as Joan Rivers and Larry the Cable Guy. A few seem to be a combination of individuals. For instance, prop comic Oliver Rees aka Orange Baby Man appears to be a mixture of Carrot Top and Gallagher. Others seem to be more of a capsule of a particular type of comic style than any one person. The use of comic archtypes works well in this story. They shape the characters and their issues. as they play against the mysterious personage of Dustin Walker, a legend who all ten comics have a connection to and the one who invites them to his island. Walker is sort of the McGuffin in the novel. He explains via videotape why they are all there and then kills himself. Guessing the connections to Walker and how he is pulling off this mass extinction of funny people is half the fun. Of course a book like this needs to be funny. But not so funny or outlandish that we lose the structure of the mystery. Intermittent slices of each comic's routines helps us along as we follow this who-will-do-it and who-will-croak-it. All in all it is a clever take-off on a very weird profession. Van Lente offers lots of droll and witty one liners as each comic engage each other in a competition of words and wits. I can't say any one character is very sympathetic but since we are dealing with archtypes rather than rounded characterizations, it tends to work. When we do get to the ending, we get a satisfactory if far fetched solution. It is actually no more unrealistic than many of the convoluted endings we expect from the masters like Christie. This ends up as a satire of a particular type of mystery as well as being a parody of comics. The author takes care of the loose ends adequately and we are left with a smile on our face. I'm not sure how much more a reader of a book titled Ten Dead Comedians should expect. If you love Christie styled mysteries you will enjoy the spin.. If you love stand up comedy you will enjoy the in-jokes and the inside look at comic psyches. And if you just enjoy funny novels, you should definitely give this a try.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    Savvy mystery lovers will recognize immediately from the title what Fred van Lente’s debut is: a modern reworking of And Then There Were None, the Agatha Christie novel originally published with the offensive title of Ten Little Niggers. Which is especially appropriate for this novel for reasons I’ll get to later. Dustin Walker was a comedy legend in his day; however, a series of extremely lucrative but terrible movies has reduced the one time king of comedy to a punchline. Even so, Walker has ac Savvy mystery lovers will recognize immediately from the title what Fred van Lente’s debut is: a modern reworking of And Then There Were None, the Agatha Christie novel originally published with the offensive title of Ten Little Niggers. Which is especially appropriate for this novel for reasons I’ll get to later. Dustin Walker was a comedy legend in his day; however, a series of extremely lucrative but terrible movies has reduced the one time king of comedy to a punchline. Even so, Walker has accrued so much wealth that he now has a Caribbean island to himself with a mansion to match. So when an assortment of comedians — some well-known, some not-so-much — get an invitation from Walker to come to the island, they all respond, hoping that they can profit from what they assume is a comeback gambit. The group includes funhouse versions of Larry the Cable Guy, Joan Rivers, Pewee Herman, a Puerto Rican David Letterman, among others. As in And Then There Were None, the guests find their host has killed himself and then arranged that the rest should die, one by one. As the novel’s title suggests, van Lente has crossed the Agatha Christie classic with a no-holds-barred, profane and often tasteless show-business satire to create a gripping thriller, both funny and suspenseful, a book that kept me reading into the wee hours so I could see how it ended. And worth every lost minute of sleep. Highly, highly recommended. In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley and Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    This was a funny murder mystery. It was an entertaining and a quick read. 10 strangers are on a deserted island, the home of legendary comedian Dustin Walker. He has invited them there to work on his latest project. When they arrive, they find the island deserted and their host dead. With no internet or phone service, they have no way of getting off the island. And one by one, they are being murdered. The ways they are killed become increasingly complex, as we try to figure out who is responsible This was a funny murder mystery. It was an entertaining and a quick read. 10 strangers are on a deserted island, the home of legendary comedian Dustin Walker. He has invited them there to work on his latest project. When they arrive, they find the island deserted and their host dead. With no internet or phone service, they have no way of getting off the island. And one by one, they are being murdered. The ways they are killed become increasingly complex, as we try to figure out who is responsible for the deaths, and who, if anyone, will survive. The main story is interspersed with comedy monologues from each of the comedians. I felt the monologues were the weakest part of the story. Towards the end, I just skipped over them. I don't feel like I missed anything. It also seemed that the people weren't taking the threat seriously enough. They didn't seem as panicked as I think I would be. As in all horror movies, people were still going off by themselves instead of sticking together. And being lured to isolated locations. Why are people so stupid? For all these flaws, this was still a fun read. I enjoyed the basic story. The murders were inventive and the ending was satisfying. Just be prepared for characters that you like to die. This is a murder mystery after all. I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    The heady mixture of murder and comedy makes for an addictive read from opening stanza to punch line. In this murder mystery, author Fred Van Lente employs a number of classical genre tropes but keeps the story fresh with a healthy dose of humor. As the title suggests the plot revolves around a group of comedians brought to an island under false pretenses, thinking they're going to collaborate with a comedy heavyweight only to be picked off one by one by a mysterious murderer. I couldn't put it The heady mixture of murder and comedy makes for an addictive read from opening stanza to punch line. In this murder mystery, author Fred Van Lente employs a number of classical genre tropes but keeps the story fresh with a healthy dose of humor. As the title suggests the plot revolves around a group of comedians brought to an island under false pretenses, thinking they're going to collaborate with a comedy heavyweight only to be picked off one by one by a mysterious murderer. I couldn't put it down - highly recommended - 5/5 stars.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Becky Van

    3.5....and a whole lot of, "um...ok??" But not terrible! 3.5....and a whole lot of, "um...ok??" But not terrible!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lexie

    So this probably would have been a 3.5 bumped to a 4 if not for the fact I was rather let down that (view spoiler)[ the movie ending was followed, not the book ending (hide spoiler)] . well insomuch as it could be - Lente did a really good job following the cues of AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, adapting the deaths to match some aspect of the Comedians lives (much as Christie adapted the children's ditty), but to make the final punchline stick the Judge character was different. I recently re-skimmed t So this probably would have been a 3.5 bumped to a 4 if not for the fact I was rather let down that (view spoiler)[ the movie ending was followed, not the book ending (hide spoiler)] . well insomuch as it could be - Lente did a really good job following the cues of AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, adapting the deaths to match some aspect of the Comedians lives (much as Christie adapted the children's ditty), but to make the final punchline stick the Judge character was different. I recently re-skimmed this, to finish up my review, and guys...guys its possible I was being too nice earlier. My skin was crawling at points that I marked to revisit for my review. I will warn for grisly deaths, foul language and well the language in general - no punches are pulled here. But hey a good comedian kills the audience right?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Advertised as being similar to the board game Clue, this murder mystery is about 9 washed up comedians being called together for what they think will be a workshop. They're all so eager to go because the man calling together the weekend away is a successful comedian they all looked up to at the beginnings of their careers. TEN DEAD COMEDIANS by Fred Van Lente is a satirical murder mystery with hints of Agatha Christie and Clue. We get a glimpse into the lives of eight different comedians. They'r Advertised as being similar to the board game Clue, this murder mystery is about 9 washed up comedians being called together for what they think will be a workshop. They're all so eager to go because the man calling together the weekend away is a successful comedian they all looked up to at the beginnings of their careers. TEN DEAD COMEDIANS by Fred Van Lente is a satirical murder mystery with hints of Agatha Christie and Clue. We get a glimpse into the lives of eight different comedians. They're all on the downward slope of their fame and trying to hold onto it. When they all receive text messages from Dustin Walker asking for them to meet with him on his private island, no one hesitates. In true Clue and AND THEN THERE WERE NONE form, the host is found dead. As if that doesn't cause enough panic, the comedians find themselves to be the next targets. The mystery was great. I honestly was shocked at the ending and who ended up being the killer! Well done to Van Lente on putting this classic feeling murder mystery. The chapters were separated by the different comedic monologues from the characters. Those helped show more of the character and each of the monologues ended up including some mention of their idol. The characters were an eclectic group - some old school comedians, podcasters, millennials, a prop comedian, and even some improv. However, I wasn't a fan of a couple of the characters - probably expected given their development. If you want some satire with a dark twist or if you like the old school murder mysteries, then I'd highly recommend this book. If you're a fan of Agatha Christie or Clue you'll also love this. I jumped at this book because it was described to be like the board game! I give this a solid 4/5 stars! A big thanks to Quirk Books for the copy in exchange for my honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    In Fred Van Lente's sly update of mystery classic And Then There Were None, ten comedians of varying levels of success and talent travel to a tropical island at the behest of reclusive legendary funnyman Dustin Walker. To the surprise of absolutely no one who's ever even heard the words Agatha Christie, they find the island deserted - except for the unseen killer who stats picking them off one by one. Given that Van Lente is recycling his material from one of the greatest and best known mystery n In Fred Van Lente's sly update of mystery classic And Then There Were None, ten comedians of varying levels of success and talent travel to a tropical island at the behest of reclusive legendary funnyman Dustin Walker. To the surprise of absolutely no one who's ever even heard the words Agatha Christie, they find the island deserted - except for the unseen killer who stats picking them off one by one. Given that Van Lente is recycling his material from one of the greatest and best known mystery novels of all time, I have to assume we're meant to guess our destination and that the thrill is in the journey, which treats us to send-ups of several famous comics as well as the comedy-world in general. I'll admit here and now that comedy is not an area I pay a lot of attention to, so while I could identify the obvious Larry the Cable Guy and Joan Rivers repliques - and Jesus, is that a Gallagher reference? does anyone even know who that is anymore? - most of the other caricatures missed their marks with me. There is, however, no speciality knowledge required to enjoy the series of horror-movie-style murders, which Van Lente has bumped from Christie's discreet PG to a hard R in some places. The only real issue with Ten Dead Comedians is that its premise insists it be funnier than it quite manages to be. Chapters end with flashbacks from the routines of all the characters (whom you'll notice I don't bother to name or describe, as they're sort of incidental), and while they may be good for a grin I doubt many guffaws will be expended over these pages. Still, Van Lente's debut manages to kill - at least in one of the two genres it's straddling.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Boyette

    So I have been dying to read this haha. No, really. I actually won it in a Goodreads giveaway but it was killing me with how difficult it was to get my copy to me despite best efforts. They didn't give up, however, and I finally got a chance to read it. I will be perfectly honest and say that the mystery aspect was more enjoyable than the humor for me. I don't really go for the crude-comedian style of humor. I am also hard to surprise so I figured it out fairly early but the writing style was en So I have been dying to read this haha. No, really. I actually won it in a Goodreads giveaway but it was killing me with how difficult it was to get my copy to me despite best efforts. They didn't give up, however, and I finally got a chance to read it. I will be perfectly honest and say that the mystery aspect was more enjoyable than the humor for me. I don't really go for the crude-comedian style of humor. I am also hard to surprise so I figured it out fairly early but the writing style was engaging and there was some social commentary I found interesting for a mystery novel. The last monologue section by the 'has-been' was my favorite part. It doesn't reinvent the wheel or anything but it was a fun read. If you like classic mysteries you might enjoy this.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    A take on the "locked room" mystery, this had about 6 too many characters; I had difficult time keeping them straight and never felt I knew much about them. The solution was clever with a good twist. It's compared to Agatha Christie's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, and while the plot is similar, take care in recommending to Christie fans as it is a bit raunchy in places. Thanks to the publisher for the advance digital reading copy. A take on the "locked room" mystery, this had about 6 too many characters; I had difficult time keeping them straight and never felt I knew much about them. The solution was clever with a good twist. It's compared to Agatha Christie's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, and while the plot is similar, take care in recommending to Christie fans as it is a bit raunchy in places. Thanks to the publisher for the advance digital reading copy.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sam (Clues and Reviews)

    When nine washed up comedians, including a late night T.V host, an improv instructor, and a Vegas icon, are invited to the island of a legendary Hollywood funnyman, each selfishly take up the offer. However, once they arrive they find they lack cell phone signal, the island is deserted and a dead body is swinging from the balcony. As the plot progresses, and each member of their party is systematically killed, they must figure out who is doing the killing. A take on Agatha Christie’s And Then Th When nine washed up comedians, including a late night T.V host, an improv instructor, and a Vegas icon, are invited to the island of a legendary Hollywood funnyman, each selfishly take up the offer. However, once they arrive they find they lack cell phone signal, the island is deserted and a dead body is swinging from the balcony. As the plot progresses, and each member of their party is systematically killed, they must figure out who is doing the killing. A take on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and elements of the game Clue, Ten Dead Comedians: A Murder Mystery by Fred Van Lente reads like a classic. A partial satire of the genre and an intricately weaved plot made this one stand out from the pack of books releasing this summer. The novel opens with each character being invited to this exclusive island. From here, the book is narrated partially through events on the island, in which different characters are given perspective and also through the character’s various comedy sketches. Although I loved the general narration, I really did not like comedy sketches within the text. I found that it broke it up in a strange way and sort of knocked me out of the mystery. Through dialogue and text messages, the reader is privy to most of the character motivation and to angles of the mystery. I really liked this. Knowing which characters were playing others and trying to guess which ones I could trust made this one continuously interesting and my mind running. I also really enjoyed a number of characters in this one. It really reminded me of those old school crime novels where, truly, anyone could have been the suspect, and, I suppose, that is exactly the point! I also loved how some of the characters were likeable and some of them were absolutely ghastly. It really added some dimension to the pages. I am always impressed when an author is able to balance comedy and tension. I feel like Van Lente does so within his prose. I was left laughing out loud on one page and wincing the next. My largest complaint, and I guess it is quite small, is that this novel is pretty closely mimicked after the Agatha Christie classic; I am not a huge fan of Christie (I know, I know) or “old school” mysteries, so there were parts that I found dragged a little for my own taste. Overall, if you are a fan of comedic satire with a dark twist, this one will highly appeal. Further, if you are a “ride or die” Agatha Christie fan, you may relish in this variation of her classic. I gave it 3/5 stars.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michael Bongiorno

    2.5 Stars. Entertaining little read but the dialogue smacks of a non-comedian trying to write how he thinks comedians would speak. I’m also really curious why Louie CK is thanked in the acknowledgements even though there is a character based on him, who is portrayed in a negative way.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    I remember back in ye olden days when I was in college, reps for comedy clubs would invade my classes and pretty much beg us to buy $5 tickets for their shows. This is what came to mind when I read Ten Dead Comedians. Also, this is the second book I've read this year that pays homage, once again, to the illustrious Agatha Christie. I know imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but after awhile it feels less like flattery and more like beating a dead horse. Let's all say it together: No on I remember back in ye olden days when I was in college, reps for comedy clubs would invade my classes and pretty much beg us to buy $5 tickets for their shows. This is what came to mind when I read Ten Dead Comedians. Also, this is the second book I've read this year that pays homage, once again, to the illustrious Agatha Christie. I know imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but after awhile it feels less like flattery and more like beating a dead horse. Let's all say it together: No one is going to usurp the Queen of Crime. I'll be honest: I don't like stand up comedy. Are you shocked? I don't like comedy movies. I don't like sitcoms except for the ones I do and can count on two fingers. I don't like comedians, save for a few, and the famous ones I sort of just don't get. It's not my thing. One of my favorite shows is Seinfeld but it doesn't mean I want to see Jerry Seinfeld doing a live show. I think the worst thing about Ten Dead Comedians wasn't that it wasn't very funny. Come on, how can murder be funny? But that Mr. Van Lente, obviously a huge lover of comedy and comedians, insists on making it a bigger deal than it really is and that really made it difficult to suspend disbelief for all the murder and mayhem that takes place on the Caribbean island. For example, when Dustin Walker's groundbreaking comedy special is mentioned (time and time again), one of the comedians notes that every household owns a copy because it is as ubiquitous as the Rubik's Cube. Okay, that was the only time I laughed when reading this book. I don't care if you're the next Richard Pryor or Sam Kinison or George Carlin, there's no way every household in the U.S. of A. is going to own a copy of your comedy special. That's rib cracking, hilariously, raucously laughable. I soon grew tired (really tired) of the comedians hero worshipping Dustin Walker and how amazing and powerful he was in his prime, the Al Capone of comedy because apparently, you can be so powerful as to blacklist a talentless hack and spread the word around town that this hack never be hired again. Is that an oxymoron? A powerful comedian? Is such a thing possible? In Mr. Van Lente's world it is, which made the whole suspension of disbelief even harder to maintain. Nearly all of the comedians were dee-bags and one was a sexual predator in the making but all of them were patently unlikable. I really looked forward to them getting offed more than I should. What does that say about me? I guess murder can be funny, when the targets in question are annoying people who are not funny.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan D.

    It's always good to have goals, and this year I have a goal of trying new genres of books. Back in December (I started this goal a month early), I figured I'd try out a book with some humor. This book, specifically, caught my eye because of its title. I was curious why there were ten comedians, and more importantly, why they were dead. This is a brand new genre to me - aside from some Diary of a Wimpy Kid books when I was younger, I have never read a book focused on humor, so this was a perfect It's always good to have goals, and this year I have a goal of trying new genres of books. Back in December (I started this goal a month early), I figured I'd try out a book with some humor. This book, specifically, caught my eye because of its title. I was curious why there were ten comedians, and more importantly, why they were dead. This is a brand new genre to me - aside from some Diary of a Wimpy Kid books when I was younger, I have never read a book focused on humor, so this was a perfect book for my 2019 goal. Dustin Walker is a comedian. But he isn't just any ordinary comedian, he's a comedian who's made it big time. For his next big project, Dustin has decided to invite nine other comedians (Steve Gordon, Zoe Schwartz, Dante Dupree, Oliver Rees, Janet Kahn, TJ Martinez, Ruby Ng, William Griffith, and Walker's personal assistant, Meredith Ladipo) to his private island near Saint Martin for a weekend, where they can all bounce ideas off each other and have a good time. All eight of them, distracted by how big of an opportunity this is (who wouldn't want to work with the guy that stared in Can't Help Myself, What Just Happened?, and Help! I Married a Cat), decide to take the business trip. There's one catch they discover when they get there - the island is empty and Dustin is dead! But that isn't their only problem, things gradually get worse - they start running out of food, the boat they took never comes back, everyone is getting murdered one by one, and the wifi doesn't work! This business trip soon turns into a death trip. This book may be your typical murder mystery, but I did like the idea of it. I thought Fred Van Lente picked a pretty cool and creative idea for a book. Also, I did think it was well written. It was easy to follow, and it kept my interest. However, there weren't too many other things that stood out to me. It definitely gave me an interest in murder mysteries, though, so I'm definitely going to have to take a look at others. Although I only gave this book two stars, I wouldn't say this is a bad book, it's just a "meh" book. I just don't think it was a good book for me. However, I did have some problems with it. One problem was that I thought there were too many characters. With ten characters, I had a hard time keeping track of who was who, especially since they were all in the same setting at the same time. The other big problem I had with it was the the humor. I didn't really think any of the jokes were that funny. The 'humor' in this book is basically just the main characters swearing and saying dirty things to each other. Unless that type of humor appeals to you (or you are a huge murder mystery fan), this is a book you should try only if you can't find anything else to read. If you do have something else to read, this book can wait.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    I had a great time reading Ten Dead Comedians. It's a pretty light and fun read for people who want to be entertained by an old fashioned mystery and laugh a bit along the way. It also doesn't hurt that if you're really in comedy and the minutiae of it, that you're going to enjoy yourself here. As I'm sure you read in several other reviews, the story goes that one of the worlds most famous comedians, Dustin Walker, has invited a handful of other comedians out to his private island with the intent I had a great time reading Ten Dead Comedians. It's a pretty light and fun read for people who want to be entertained by an old fashioned mystery and laugh a bit along the way. It also doesn't hurt that if you're really in comedy and the minutiae of it, that you're going to enjoy yourself here. As I'm sure you read in several other reviews, the story goes that one of the worlds most famous comedians, Dustin Walker, has invited a handful of other comedians out to his private island with the intent to all work on a project together. However, quickly after they arrive, they find out that this was just a plot to kill them all one by one. But who is behind it and why!? I was a little apprehensive about reading this book because there are a lot of books that come out that claim to be funny or comedic and they don't do much for me. Being someone who is more on the side of wanting to learn about a comedians life and upbringing rather than read a book full of their material (I'll watch or listen to the stand up, thanks), I usually can't get into "funny" books. However, Ten Dead Comedians is different. While it offers plenty of silly humor throughout, there is also a lot of good show business stuff mixed in too. Each comedian is based on 1 or some times 2 real comedians and it was really fun to piece who these personalities were as I read about them. Every comedian has their own humor, secrets and relationship with the famous Dustin Walker in some way and it's addicting to keep reading to see what they will reveal next. In between each chapter of the book also lies a bit of every comedians personal information or material which would have been taken from one of there shows. The material ranges from good to expected of that character to just kind of bad (more than likely because of the character). Personally, I laughed the hardest at Dustin Walkers IMDB page. Amongst all this meta-comedy stuff, the book also doesn't forget that it's a murder mystery novel either, so you're getting good bang for your buck here with some laughs and a good old fashioned murder spree! Who doesn't like that? Don't worry if you're not a big comedy fan as I've exposed myself to be. If you're looking for something fun to read with good characters and relationships that's a bit dark, this is a good one to check out. I look forward to seeing what Fred Van Lente does next!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Law

    Ten Dead Comedians, by Fred Van Lente, is a contemporary Agatha Christie style murder mystery set on a celebrity owned island in the Caribbean. Hollywood funnyman Dustin Walker invites nine fellow comedians to collaborate with him on an unspecified project, details to be explained during a luxury, weekend retreat. All are excited at this potential injection of energy into their mutable careers and accept. When they arrive it is to discover that they are cut off from the mainland with no access t Ten Dead Comedians, by Fred Van Lente, is a contemporary Agatha Christie style murder mystery set on a celebrity owned island in the Caribbean. Hollywood funnyman Dustin Walker invites nine fellow comedians to collaborate with him on an unspecified project, details to be explained during a luxury, weekend retreat. All are excited at this potential injection of energy into their mutable careers and accept. When they arrive it is to discover that they are cut off from the mainland with no access to mobile reception or wifi. Their host then informs them that they are all here to die, including himself. Lives may be at stake but so are fragile egos. These people have experienced the adrenaline rush of applause, of popular attention, and become addicted. Those who have touched the heady heights of fame may be aware of its disappointments but they still long for its return. They are disdainful of their fellow artistes, especially when compared to themselves. The deaths begin immediately. At first some believe it is an elaborate hoax, a gig in which they are all being played. As the body count increases and the meagre food supplies get eaten everyone falls under suspicion. The writing is a satire on the modern performers of comedic repartee where offence and insults pass as humour. Each character found a niche that got them noticed by agents, some even believe themselves to be funny. The action is offbeat in places, the characters unlikable and at times pitiable, but this is a competent murder mystery. The means of death are imaginative, the reveal of the perpetrator clever even if all is understandably far fetched. As someone who prefers intelligent humour to the more widespread unsavoury crudeness this garnered an unusual degree of sympathy for modern comedians. I may not have found the transcripts from the standup routines amusing, but the pathos portrayed gave the applause hungry entertainers more humanity than their words suggest they deserve. My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Quirk.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cathleen

    Once upon a time, it was slightly less common for writers to pay what they might call "homage" by reworking the celebrated work of another creator. That's certainly not the case any longer -- and, I'll freely acknowledge, some can do so with a great deal of invention. The challenge is to do right by the original work, showing the proper degree of honor, but also weaving in an original idea of one's own, and (I cannot emphasize enough) matching the quality of the venerated story. A tall order, wh Once upon a time, it was slightly less common for writers to pay what they might call "homage" by reworking the celebrated work of another creator. That's certainly not the case any longer -- and, I'll freely acknowledge, some can do so with a great deal of invention. The challenge is to do right by the original work, showing the proper degree of honor, but also weaving in an original idea of one's own, and (I cannot emphasize enough) matching the quality of the venerated story. A tall order, which is why perhaps it should not be attempted nearly as often as it is. Recreating Christie's And Then There Were None with stand-up comedians - and even adding the delicious prospect that each victim might be offed in a way that corresponds to the individual performance style - sounds promising, does it not? I'll even acknowledge that the story does occasionally get it right. (view spoiler)[A culminating scene -- let me be clear: NOT the final scene -- had a flair that it would have been refreshing to see evidenced throughout earlier chapters. (hide spoiler)] However, most of the characters aren't given enough distinction, and the inset sections that offer samples of their comedy stylings are both awkward in their insertion and remarkable only in how flatly each excerpt lands. Which perhaps brings us to the greatest crime of all: don't set up your mystery with a roster of comedians and then fail to make any part of it funny in the least. A caveat: stand-up comedy is far from my entertainment of choice. I acknowledge that a reader with different sensibilities may find this both an effective satire and a satisfying read. I do keep these rubrics in mind as I mentally assess, especially as I consider to which readers I might suggest a book such as this, but my personal reactions stand.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melisende

    The title caught my attention. Then I read the premise: 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! So I knew what I was in for - a comedic take on a classic elimination murder mystery. And I wasn't disappointed. The story was simple - a series o The title caught my attention. Then I read the premise: 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! So I knew what I was in for - a comedic take on a classic elimination murder mystery. And I wasn't disappointed. The story was simple - a series of text messages are sent out to various comedians, inviting them to a small Jamaican island to take part in the next big thing. No-one is about to greet them, and in each of their rooms is a memento of the past or the future. A video by their host, the great Dustin Walker, accuses them all of crimes against comedy - all are to be judged and no-one is leaving - alive. " ... a room full of comics turns into a shark tank with one sniff of blood in the water ..." The story then builds up with each chapter. There are plot twists upon plot twists, the characters are suitable odorous, and you found that you didn't really know which character you should be rooting for to survive the obligatory gruesome end. I knew what I was in for and found myself engaged, having some preconception of the proposed plot-line as I am a dedicated Agatha Christie fan. Fred van Lente's homage to this classic crime genre, style of story-telling, and sardonic humour will not be to everyone's taste ... but it is what is is.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rob Kitchin

    Ten Dead Comedians is a modern day take on Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’. Ten comedians and almost strangers (a number know or have met each other) are seduced to a remote Caribbean island to meet Dustin Walker, a legendary funnyman whose career has hit the skids after several flops. The island is deserted and in turn each is killed as they search to identify the murderer and a means to leave the island. Van Lente’s main twist is to make each character a different type of comedian Ten Dead Comedians is a modern day take on Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’. Ten comedians and almost strangers (a number know or have met each other) are seduced to a remote Caribbean island to meet Dustin Walker, a legendary funnyman whose career has hit the skids after several flops. The island is deserted and in turn each is killed as they search to identify the murderer and a means to leave the island. Van Lente’s main twist is to make each character a different type of comedian, who’re at varying stages of their career, to infuse the tale with dark humour. The story unfolds in a linear fashion, punctuated by comedy routines by each of the comedians in which their supposed crime takes place. The concept of the story is a nice one and some of the set pieces are nicely inventive; the issue is the execution. While the tale is full of comedians it is not full of comedy, or at least I didn’t find myself laughing out loud. And the characters are all quite shallow and hollow and do not invite any emotional investment. Also, the perpetrator is kind of obvious, though not necessarily how the murders are being orchestrated. The result was an interesting without being spellbinding or side-splitting tale.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Wavering between 3 and 4 stars. I love Agatha Christie and And Then There Were None and this was an interesting take on that. Revolving it around comedians who committed "crimes against comedy" is a pretty interesting premise. And I read the book in about two or three straight sittings so it wasn't boring or anything. I still felt like the ending was pretty predictable... I wasn't exactly surprised at all so I was slightly disappointed there. But overall, it was a pretty great idea for a debut n Wavering between 3 and 4 stars. I love Agatha Christie and And Then There Were None and this was an interesting take on that. Revolving it around comedians who committed "crimes against comedy" is a pretty interesting premise. And I read the book in about two or three straight sittings so it wasn't boring or anything. I still felt like the ending was pretty predictable... I wasn't exactly surprised at all so I was slightly disappointed there. But overall, it was a pretty great idea for a debut novel.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lynette

    A fun read and a comedy-world-centric rendition on Agatha Christie. If you aren't interested in the comedy world though, like its major players, the forms it has taken on in years, and the like, you might not like this book. The mystery is not enough to hold the book but the deep delve into comedy makes it interesting, makes you wonder which characters are based on which real comedians, and keeps you reading to see who gets the last laugh. A fun read and a comedy-world-centric rendition on Agatha Christie. If you aren't interested in the comedy world though, like its major players, the forms it has taken on in years, and the like, you might not like this book. The mystery is not enough to hold the book but the deep delve into comedy makes it interesting, makes you wonder which characters are based on which real comedians, and keeps you reading to see who gets the last laugh.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    After receiving a mysterious text message, nine comedians are drawn to an island where they are murdered one by one. A whodunnit that's been done many, many times before, but this time the characters are caricatures of famous comedians, and the only surprising twist is that it isn't very funny. Although it didn't appeal to me, fans of the stand up comedy scene might enjoy the book's gallows humor. After receiving a mysterious text message, nine comedians are drawn to an island where they are murdered one by one. A whodunnit that's been done many, many times before, but this time the characters are caricatures of famous comedians, and the only surprising twist is that it isn't very funny. Although it didn't appeal to me, fans of the stand up comedy scene might enjoy the book's gallows humor.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Wagner

    This book had a slow start, but it certainly got more interesting as the bodies began to pile up. It's been ages since I read Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, but the concepts from that classic mystery are recognizable in this novel. My only compliant is that, for all that the characters were professional comedians, I didn't really feel that their jokes were funny. They just seemed to act like snarky adults in cutthroat careers. By the end, I had reluctantly come to like a few charact This book had a slow start, but it certainly got more interesting as the bodies began to pile up. It's been ages since I read Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, but the concepts from that classic mystery are recognizable in this novel. My only compliant is that, for all that the characters were professional comedians, I didn't really feel that their jokes were funny. They just seemed to act like snarky adults in cutthroat careers. By the end, I had reluctantly come to like a few characters, but I started out with an intense dislike for them all. Overall, a fun read, if not nearly has funny as I had hoped.

  28. 4 out of 5

    reese ♡

    2.5 stars. It was an entertaining quick read but for a book that had ten comedians in it, I didn't find it a bit funny. The idea of throwing in comedians in a deserted island was a clever idea though. 2.5 stars. It was an entertaining quick read but for a book that had ten comedians in it, I didn't find it a bit funny. The idea of throwing in comedians in a deserted island was a clever idea though.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Terryann

    i thoroughly enjoyed this camped up rendition of a classic 'who done it'. i was not entirely surprised by the culprit, but i loved getting to him. i also loved the 'happy' ending. this was a delight to read. i thoroughly enjoyed this camped up rendition of a classic 'who done it'. i was not entirely surprised by the culprit, but i loved getting to him. i also loved the 'happy' ending. this was a delight to read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Clemmie Jackson

    This was wicked good to me, I amazely enjoyed this reading.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...