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Heckler Hardcover – April 13, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This taut and consistently entertaining successor to Barton's Killer Material (2000) nicely supports Steve Martin's claim, "Comedy is not pretty." With the same fearlessness that marks a seasoned stand-up comedian, which he is, Biff Kincaid risks livelihood and life to track "The Heckler," a serial killer haunting comedy clubs from Las Vegas to Seattle. Whether delivering one-liners or karate kicks, Kincaid is as adept at disarming a hostile crowd as he is at disabling a would-be attacker. Barton skillfully blends crisp dialogue, deft punch lines and convincing action. His graphic descriptions of torture and disfigurement are strong stuff. Don't look here for poisoned cognac or clean bullet holes; instead think: cigarette lighters, pliers, serrated hunting knives. Barton also scores with his on-target skewering of tabloid TV ("Was George Washington our nation's first pothead? The story after this break!") as well as Hollywood superagents, white supremacists and comedians themselves. His portrayal of the insatiable Louie Baxter, a friend of Kincaid's who jumps from club dates to sitcom stardom, recalls the chilling self-destruction of real-life legends John Belushi and Chris Farley. Barton lends the story further verisimilitude by putting Kincaid in such familiar venues as the Comedy Store and the Improv. Make no mistake, though, the author's world of stand-up comedy is more gloom than glamour, the laughs and the brutality equally dark. Agent, Matt Bialer at William Morris.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Stand-up comedian Biff Kincaid fills in for a Las Vegas headlinerDonly to learn that said headliner was murdered the night before. When he investigates, Biff learns of an earlier crime in which a young comedian was brutally beaten while onlookers did nothing. A solid sequel to Killer Material.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (April 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312271832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312271831
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,607,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr James N Simpson on December 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This sequel to Killer Material is even better than that book was. Impossible you say, well no Barton has actually improved further on Biff Kincaid's adventures in the world of stand up comedy. By the way this is a stand alone novel and you do not need to have read Killer Material prior to reading this one. Heckler also does not give away any of the plot from the previous novel either so you will not ruin the enjoyment of Killer Material by reading this first. The only repeat character is Biff himself so read the two in whichever order you can get them.
In this novel Biff is called up by the Vegas comedy club Comedysino, to replace Tiger Moore as the headliner. Once there he is told Tiger has been stabbed in his hotel room with the words `Get Off The Stage You Suck' painted in blood on the wall. It seems there is a serial killer who the media is calling the Heckler, who is reaping revenge on comedians. Tiger was Biff's friend, as is Louie Baxter who is receiving similar notes to which Tiger did. Biff sets out to find out the identity of the Heckler and stop him before it is too late.
This is a brilliant literacy masterpiece which will both make you laugh and thrill you. Other lesser known but brilliant authors you may want to check out are Harry Bingham, with his novel The Moneymakers and Maxx Barry with Syrup. If you enjoyed this book you will no doubt love those two as well.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Josie A. Campbell on June 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I just have to finish reading it. The suspense is constant. You just have to continue from one chapter to the next. The language is easy enough to understand. Yet descriptions are so vivid, at times I felt I am in the same room with the character. I see what he sees. I feel what he feels. Different kinds of relationships are interwoven with the plot full of suspense. Relationships between friends. Between co-workers. Between relatives. Between lovers. This book gives proof that if you commit yourself to what you are doing, you will succeed in getting what you want. I got scared. I laughed. I got emotionally attached. I want more. But then, it is the end.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on March 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A desperate Rick Partino calls stand-up comedian Biff Kincaid to plead with him to bail him out. Rick, the booker at the Palace Hotel's Comedysino, needs an act in five hours as his headliner Tiger Moore is in the hospital. After some fast negotiations, Biff agrees even if he is two hundred and eighty miles form the Vegas Strip.

Upon arrival, Biff learns that Tiger has been stabbed to death following life-threatening notes from "The Heckler." The murderer has also singled out another comedian for death. Unable to resist an investigation, Biff begins to make inquiries into why the killer is giving the permanent hook to comedians.

In his second appearance on the amateur sleuth stage (see KILLER MATERIAL), Biff continues to engage readers with his detective skills rather than his comedic work. It is also why HECKLER and its predecessor are amusing yet taut who-done-its. Dan Barton shows talent and intelligence as he allows his hero to employ humor as part of his responses to situations and people, but does not try to feed us Biff's stage act even if he is regarded as a professional by insiders. Sub-genre fans that want an amateur detective who could make a living from his "hobby" while starring in a strong story line should catch Biff's act because he is a clear headliner.

Harriet Klausner
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