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The Shroud of the Thwacker Hardcover – October 5, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax; First Edition edition (October 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401352456
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401352455
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,090,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The book debut from the Get a Life and Cabin Boy star is billed as a parody, but this murder mystery wrapped in laughter is simply straight-up enjoyable. Jack the Jolly Thwacker is leaving dead bodies all over 1882 New York City. Chris Elliott, a modern-day researcher, is tracking the serial killer through time. Elliott's wry humor fastens on the burgeoning, Boss Tweedified city, giving it a hilarious and vividly imagined set of anachronistic technologies and accoutrements (New York's Mayor Teddy Roosevelt, who has mysteriously disappeared, has a navel piercing). The narrative leaps back and forth in time, as 1882 police chief Caleb Spencer chases the Thwacker through the streets, and Elliott, convinced the killer is from the 21st century, chases him through time. Elliott's ability to time travel is facilitated by Yoko Ono (don't ask) and a willing suspension of disbelief, but the results are very amusing (if often infantile in the style of There's Something About Mary), with asides on every page that bring in everyone and everything from Typhoid Mary to Skyy Vodka. If Shroud feels like an extended, Americanized Monty Python skit, it's also a rousing good yarn.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Elliott is best known for his madcap appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and his small but juicy roles in such films as Groundhog Day. In his debut as a novelist, his veteran comedy-writer's skills come to the fore in a wacky murder mystery that sends up best-selling thrillers such as The Alienist and The Da Vinci Code. With all of New York City, circa 1882, as his playground, Jack the Jolly Thwacker is a demented serial killer with equally demented tactics. He dresses his victims in bizarre clothing and leaves behind poems taunting his pursuers. Hot on his trail are the city's police chief, an Evening Post reporter, and mayor Teddy Roosevelt, who actually was police commissioner then. Somehow, after blundering into a time machine while researching the unsolved mystery, Elliott himself gets entangled in the chase, and the real identity of the Thwacker is revealed. The time-travel element nudges Elliott's spoof into sf, but that doesn't mean fans of historical crime fiction won't get their kicks. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

This is the funniest book I have ever read.
No
I know I'm in the minority here and I did enjoy the first half of the book, but the second half started to drag and I found myself just trying to get to the end.
Mike
His style of writing is just so funny, bizarre and twisted.
Jamie Whalen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amy Belle on October 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Make no mistake about it, this book is silly. It is as far from sophisticated humor as you can get, but it is . . . hilarious! I was reading on the bus, laughing out loud, and people kept looking at me like I was crazy.

I'm a girl who happened to love Get a Life, and Chris's other TV appearances. We should encourage him to write more comic novels. Buy this book.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Reality tourist on November 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not being a great fan of Chris Elliot as a comedian, I feel he has found his medium as a writer. This is a terribly funny book. His characters are hilarious, reminds me of some of the great humorists of the late 20th century- Max Schulman for instance. Mr, Elliott's reference and use of modern situations in a previous age are sidesplitting.

This is a great gift for anyone who enjoys a good novel and a good laugh as well.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jon B on October 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The man is a genuis If not then he is insane (yes there is a fine Line) The book is really great...Through out the Book It seems like you could hear Chris's goofy voice talking to you as you read it...For those of you who enjoy Chris's humor this is a must have...For those of you who do not its still a must have!!! I really cant say enough it is a Home Run!!!!

I have become a Chris Elliott Fan....More, More

Jb@nhanow.com
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rick on October 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
For me Elliott has always been a loveable goofball in films and on TV. Never would I have expected such a project from him. Very glad I gave this a try--a bizarre but loveable send up of historical mysteries like THE ALIENIST and THE DA VINCI CODE, with MONTY PYTHON-esque humor thrown in for good measure. Great setting, ridiculous characters (Yoko Ono and a gassy Teddy Roosevelt), and a good twist that fits well with the genre Elliott is spoofing.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Webster TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book got a few comparisons to Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy, and that's fair, because both books take a joke and carry it all the way to the end, never letting up. That's harder than it sounds.

Most writers trying to write funny seem to want to write a 'real' book, with a few jokes thrown in, but Chris Elliot wants to write a madcap, joke-filled book, and if there's a plot to follow along with, so much the better. He never simply writes for an audience who only wants a humorous diverting read. You actually have to read closely to follow the details of the plot - inane and absurd though they may be.

He does not give in. Don't think that it suddenly starts making sense after page 50. What you get on page one, is what you'll get on page 200.

So it's not going to be for everyone. If you want a narrative that actually makes sense and is easy to follow along with, you will not be a fan. But, if you liked kooky books like Hitchhikers, or Elliot's TV show 'Get a Life' then you should have a good time with this.

I like that kind of humor, so I liked it a lot. The reason I'm giving it four stars instead of five, is for some minor let-downs at parts, and places where he paid just TOO much attention to the humor and not enough to the story. Still a good job though.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Paul J. Mazzoni on February 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Let's face it: Chris Elliott has a style all his own. And if you don't like it, I can guarantee you won't like this book. Elliott still appears on TV from time to time, but today's shows just aren't the type of vehicle to showcase his sense of humor. So why not write a book? Admittedly, I was a bit put back by the length of the novel, but I managed to get through it, unlike some of the negative reviewers on this site.

I often wonder what it would be like to write a novel about a period in history of which I know very little about, but yet do hardly any research. I applaud Elliott for picking a period in U.S. history we rarely hear anything about as the focal point of his book: the late 1800's. He creates his own caricatures of Teddy Roosevelt that I think is right own the money, especially when you hear about all the things Roosevelt did in his life. But bringing William "Boss" Tweed into the story is sheer genius.

OK, I use "genius" VERY lightly. The book starts a bit slow and Elliott resorts to the same type of joke over and over again, and that's referring to sexual intercourse with very silly innuendos. The book is chock full of them. And while some are funny, we heard it all before, even in his cult movie "Cabin Boy". It appears at first that Elliott uses the book as a means of telling this type of joke, but then something odd happens: a real story starts to develop. And surprisingly, it's a story with a lot of twists. The book is at its best (and, in some spots, worst) when Elliott himself is brought into the story with the other major characters. Also, the pictures in the book add to the amusement, purposely drawn to raise an eyebrow or two.

Elliott consistently portrays himself as a dimwitted loser, poking fun at himself, especially his career.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mike Medeiros on October 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
There are only a handful of writers I've read and laughed out loud; S.J. Perelman, Woody Allen, Merril Markoe (David Sedaris has gotten a few smiles but no outbursts) and now Chris Elliot. He's made me laugh since the onset of Letterman's late night reign but now has gained my appreciation in a way I didn't know he had in him. The Guy Under the Seats has done alright for himself. I hope there's more to come.
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