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    KILLER MATERIAL by Dan Barton (see his website)

    Thomas Dunne, St. Martin's Minotaur, 2000

    Biff Kincaid has paid his dues as a standup comic. When a friend asks him to fill in at a local comedy club, he finds a beautiful woman and a comic who has stolen his material and may be stealing Biff's. Determined to protect his material, Biff investigates--and soon becomes a murder suspect. Whoever is stealing comedy lines is not joking around.

    Author Dan Barton (see other reviews of novels by this author) uses a conversational style with Biff as the point of view character. Barton's author blurb claims that Barton is a stand-up comic and KILLER MATERIAL has an authentic feel. Barton's descriptions of the Hollywood extras process also rings true and gives him abundant opportunity to exercise his humor.

    KILLER MATERIAL doesn't quite live up to the premise. The villain's motivation seems weak although Barton does add a nice plot twist at the end. Likewise, I found the character of Biff to be rather shallow. It would have been nice to care about him more. Flaws aside, I sat down to read this mystery and didn't look up until I had finished it.

    Two Stars

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