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Killer Routine (A Last Laff Mystery) Paperback – April 8, 2011

3.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the A Last Laff Mystery Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Orloff's entertaining first in a new series set in the standup comedy world immediately engages the reader's sympathies with the lead's tragic backstory. Channing Hayes stopped performing after the car accident that took the life of his fiancée, Lauren Dempsey, and left him scarred and maimed. Hayes, now the co-owner of the Last Laff Comedy Club in northern Virginia, has been encouraging Lauren's sister, Heather, to make her solo appearance before the microphone. But the night of Heather's debut, she disappears right before she's about to go on, a puzzle that may be connected with a series of murders. Hayes's frantic search for his almost-sister-in-law meets with relative indifference, both from law enforcement and from family members familiar with Heather's flaking out in the past. Despite a mundane solution to the mystery, Orloff (Diamonds for the Dead) does a great job of evoking smalltime, struggling comedy clubs. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Alan Orloff is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Md. He is the author of Diamonds for the Dead, an Agatha Award finalist for Best First Novel, and Killer Routine. Orloff earned a B.S. from the University of Maryland and an M.B.A. from MIT/Sloan. He resides in northern Virginia. For more information, visit him online at: AlanOrloff.com.

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Product Details

  • Series: A Last Laff Mystery (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Midnight Ink (April 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 073872310X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738723105
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,747,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bonner '62 VINE VOICE on April 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author makes the protagonist a stand-up comic who is now managing a struggling comedy club. Kind of a clever setting but nothing ever comes of it. None of the characters ever come alive and I never cared about any of the them. They are all cardboard cutouts. The actual murderer comes out of left field at the end. So paying attention to what is going on really won't help you guess the bad guy. I live in Vienna Virginia where the comedy club is located so the "action" takes place on my turf but it didn't help.
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Format: Paperback
Several months ago, Channing Hayes' left changed when the stand up comic lost his fiancee and a few fingers in a traffic accident. Now, he's trying to work his way back on stage while co-owning The Last Laff, a comedy club in Virginia.

Channing has also been working with Heather, his late fiancee's sister, as she readies a solo act. The night of her big debut, she disappears. While Heather has a reputation as a flake, Channing feels that she's turned her life around after the accident. Is he right? If so, why is she in hiding?

I wasn't sure quite what to expect from this book since the main character is a comic but his life has been so tragic recently. It did take a more somber tone with only a few times having something resembling a joke. I was prepared for that, so I wasn't disappointed.

Likewise, I enjoyed spending time with Channing. He's a flawed character, but trying to overcome his understandable pain from the accident.

It's the plot that left me disappointed. There are some mysterious events that happen, but it never really felt like a developed mystery. There weren't really any clues, and the story progressed forward very slowly. The climax was certainly exciting, but I didn't feel the book had earned it.

I enjoyed the author's stand alone debut, so I was expecting to like this one. I enjoyed the characters, but the plot left me disappointed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wonder why the author of this book decided to set the story in a comedy club. None of the characters has a sense of humor, there are no funny lines in the entire book, and what's left is an ordinary mystery story laced with constant lugubrious reminiscences of a bad auto accident in the protagonist's recent past. It's sort of like that video of the Rodney King beating--after 100 views, the jury grew cold to it. I found the characters wooden and uninteresting and I longed for some bright interval--anything--that would raise the fog and gloom. I give it two stars because unlike so may sloppily written books on the market, this one at least observes the basic rules of grammar.
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Format: Paperback
This is an unfortunately flat book. The excitement seemed contrived and there seemed to be little life to any interactions between the characters. I had to press myself to keep on reading and everything was resolved at the end in a grand burst of Deus ex Machina. I didn't want more of the book and was almost relieved when I got to the end.

Yes, the inside of the comedy world was interesting and so I don't hate it but ehhhh for the rest.
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Format: Paperback
KILLER ROUTINE is a delightful first installment of a refreshing new mystery series, told from the first-person perspective of a professional standup comic. The mystery will appeal to readers of all persuasions, but the most entertaining aspect of the story for me was being immersed in the world of standup comedy. Most of the characters are working comics or wannabes. We get insights into their dreams as well as their demons, the stage fright, the euphoria when they click with an audience, the naked despair when they don't. Author Orloff, an Agatha Award finalist, did his homework. I will definitely read the second installment when it comes out.
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I really enjoyed Alan Orloff's Diamonds for the Dead, so was thrilled when he turned his hand to a series. From the moment I cracked Killer Routine open, I felt Channing's deep personal pain and anxiety. Oroff is gifted when it comes to developing full blown and realistic characters while telling an edge-of-your-seat story.
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