cover image Killer Routine: A Last Laff Mystery

Killer Routine: A Last Laff Mystery

Alan Orloff, Midnight Ink (, $14.95 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-0-7387-2310-5

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.)