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Who Killed Art Deco? [Kindle Edition]

Chuck Barris
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Art Deco Jr. is heir to a vast fortune, scion of one of America's most powerful men -- Art Deco Sr. -- though by the time we meet him in these pages, Art has fallen into a life of depravity: booze, drugs, you name it. The Deco family is almost too embarrassed to acknowledge him as their own. And by the time Art is found shot dead in his elegant Manhattan apartment, there is a long list of friends and family who may have wanted to kill him -- so the police have their work cut out for them.

NYPD detectives Eddie Roach and Jackie Hallerhan are up against a wall when private investigator Jimmy Netts is called on the case by Art Deco Sr. His first case, no less! Netts teams with the NYPD (mostly because he's not exactly sure how to go about solving crimes, much less understands the procedure, and doesn't have a detective's license) to find out who killed poor Art Jr. It could be just about anyone.

As a storyteller, the infamous Chuck Barris is the blackest comedian there is. As a satirist, his is a wickedly razor-sharp voice. The deadpan dialogue, investigative snafus, crime drama parody, and cast of hilarious characters in Who Killed Art Deco? bring to mind an unholy combination of Agatha Christie and the Pink Panther, with just a dash of Homicide. This is a dark and delightfully funny book from an equally, delightfully, troubled mind.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Barris (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) misses the mark with this grating attempt at whodunit parody. Heir to millions, Arthur Art Deco Jr. wants nothing to do with his father's mammoth company, Kentucky-based Deco Industries, preferring to hobnob in Manhattan. So when he falls in love with wannabe actor Eddie Cotton and gleefully announces to his father, Arthur Deco Sr., that he's gay, it doesn't sit well with Deco Sr. or the rest of Art's Southern family. When Art is discovered shot in his apartment, the police are quick to call it a suicide and avoid a high-profile investigation. But then Jimmy Netts, a former podiatrist-turned-unlicensed-PI from Philadelphia, recently relocated to Bowling Green, Ky., hits the scene, hired by Deco Sr. to look into Art's death and prove it was murder. Netts gets most of his investigative techniques from old episodes of Homicide, but manages to bumble along, thanks to the help of two unbelievably cooperative NYPD detectives, finally stumbling upon the underwhelming truth. Unfortunately, Barris's characters are one-dimensional stereotypes, and the sophomoric humor is, well, very sophomoric. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The latest novel by the author of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (1982) and The Big Question (2007) is a three-in-one literary satire, lampooning simultaneously the murder mystery, the private-eye novel, and the family drama. Outrageous, yes, but readers would expect nothing less from the man whose memoir claimed he was a CIA assassin and whose previous novel posited a ruthless (yet oddly plausible) game show. The wealthy murdered man, Arthur Deco, Jr.; the prime suspect, Art’s spurned gay lover; and the private eye, Jimmy Netts, are drawn with broad strokes, like characters in one of Woody Allen’s New Yorker essays, and they are all very funny. The story is labyrinthine, as befits a murder-mystery spoof (fans of S. J. Perelman will be pleased), and Barris’ portrayal of the victim’s uniformly eccentric family reads like a spoof of P. G. Wodehouse, if it’s possible to spoof a spoofer. Barris, who gained early fame as the creator of such television fare as The Gong Show, is a wildly inventive writer whose imagination takes him, and us, to some very strange and entertaining places. --David Pitt

Product Details

  • File Size: 305 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1416575596
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Original edition (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chuck Barris Fans - Take Art Deco to the beach July 22, 2009
Chuck Barris Fans - Take Art Deco to the beach

Those of us who are lifelong fans of Chuck Barris will find Who Killed Art Deco to be the icing on the cake in his prolific career. He draws you inside the character's personas, paints backdrops that are perfect accompaniments to the story and weaves a tale that makes one not want to put the book down.

It is a love story, a satire, a comedy, a mystery, a commentary on modern life and a fun read for any sunny beach.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chuckie, Chuckie, Chuckie September 20, 2009
It started out with a-fixing a permanent smile to my face.

When I got to page 23, the line: "Eddie Cantelone was a twenty-five-year old lying, sleazy scuzzbag" brought about my first out-loud chuckle.

By the time I was a third of the way into the book, the people at the next table were giving me weird glances. By halfway, the task of holding back the tears and trying to stop my sides from heaving were too much so I had to go home. That's Chuck Barris.

Of course Chuck has always made me laugh, even when he isn't writing, but Who Killed Art Deco is bound to please everyone. Art Deco Jr. is the reluctant heir of Deco Industries who despises his father, his siblings, and everything about his wealthy lifestyle. To compensate, he undertakes the bohemian lifestyle in New York and engages a variety of misfits, any of whom could be responsible for his demise. Seeking vengeance, Deco senior persuades a novice investigator to find the killer. And as Chuck would say, the chuckles keep coming.

Besides being entertaining, the book is easy to read, has an interesting little mystery connected in it, and a variety of characters who he develops just enough so that you can structure a fine superficial opinion about them.

I suppose to really appreciate Barris you have to see life from his point of view, and from his point, there are a lot of funny, misfit people and situations in the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good laugh! June 29, 2010
What a wonderful read; funny, engaging, a bit of a mystery but nothing scary, and a sordid tale thrown in for good measure. The family of Art Deco is a cast of curious characters. His life and ultimate death leads the reader on a fantastic journey. I just wish Barris would write more books like this!
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