Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: Killer Routine by Alan Orloff (Last Laugh Mysteries #1)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Channing and his growth over the course of the story
Cons: Plot contains mystery elements but not properly developed
The Bottom Line
Characters are good
But mystery not developed
Weakening story

Plot Lacked Mystery Development

Last year, I read and enjoyed Alan Orloff's stand alone mystery debut, so I was really looking forward to his next book, Killer Routine, which opens the Last Laff Mystery series.  Sadly, the plot of this book was a let down.

Several months ago, Channing Hayes' life 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 inVirginia.

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?

Since Channing is a comic with tragedy in his recent life, I wasn't sure what tone the book would take.  Instead of funny, this book was more on the serious side.  Yes, I laughed a time or two, but that was about it.  Fortunately, I was expecting that going in, so it wasn't a disappointment.  If I hadn't been, I probably would have been upset, however.

Channing was certainly an interesting main character.  He's just at the point where he is able to get on with his life, and watching him emerge from mourning, partially as a result of the story here, made him seem very real to me.  The other characters seem real to me, although none of them are nearly as well developed.

It's the plot where this book falls apart.  It's more a story with mysterious elements.  There are really no clues for Channing to follow.  The times between major plot points is slow.  When something is happening, I gained interested only to lose it again while we waited for something new to happen.  The ending does wrap things up and make sense, but was still weak for a mystery because the clues weren't there.  This wasn't something I notice with the author's debut, so I was very disappointed in that.

Even though I felt the mystery could be better, I did enjoy much of Killer Routine.  If I continue on with the series, hopefully the plotting will improve in future installments.

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