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When Hollywood stand-up comedian Biff Kincaid learns the comedian he's filling in for at the last minute at a comedy club was murdered, he uses his skills as an amateur detective to find out who the killer is. He uncovers a joke thief who recorded Biff's act and sold it to wealthy wannabe who plans to use Biff's material for his debut special. Another comedian would let it slide, but Biff has never backed away from a fight in all his years in the funny business, and he's not going to start now. With a pair of fists as fast as his mouth, Biff sets out to uncover the murderer—before he's the next victim.
KILLER MATERIAL is the first in the Biff Kincaid mystery series.
From Publishers Weekly
Ladies and gentlemen, introducing for your reading pleasure, L.A.-based stand-up comic Biff Kincaid. Having accepted a last-minute request to fill in for friend Art Westcott at Chortles Comedy Club, Biff realizes that the first performer, Ned Lando, has stolen all his material from other comics. After the show, Biff learns that Lando paid the sound technician $100 to tape the routines of the gig's two other acts: Biff himself and female club-manager Kelly Malone. Biff confronts Lando outside the club and discovers, just before he's knocked out, that the thief has sold the tape for $1,000. Biff wakes up in Kelly's apartment, and by morning romance is afoot. When Biff goes to see Art, he finds his friend shot through the head. As the last person to speak to him, Biff becomes the prime suspect in his murder. Suddenly things aren't so funny, and Biff begins to put a lot of miles on his Mazda RX-7 in pursuit of Lando and the real killer. Barton, himself a former comic, writes from the heart. He knows L.A. and the comedy scene, the clubs and the unglamorous day world of the rank-and-file entertainer always looking for the next job. Barton and Kincaid certainly rate a return engagement.
From Library Journal
Successful standup comedian Biff Kincaid substitutes for a friend at a comedy club only to find his material recorded and sold without his permission. As he tracks the thief, Biff discovers a pattern of larceny and deception by a wealthy wannabe who will stop at nothing--perhaps even murder--to achieve fame as a comic. Biff does his best to sabotage the guy's efforts, including reporting him to police as suspect in the murder of Biff's friend. Kincaid seems to love a ruckus as well as a joke, so there's never a dull moment. Recommended.
Brace yourself for a tough, hard-edged look at the cutthroat world of . . . stand-up comedy. Just kidding. Barton's first novel is a genuine delight: funny in all the right places, suspenseful where it needs to be, with a likable protagonist (Biff Kincaid, stand-up comic) and a plot twist that will take readers by surprise. Barton, a professional stand-up comedian, has constructed a plot that allows him to show off his knowledge of the business--Biff has to figure out who killed a fellow comedian while simultaneously foiling a wanna-be comic's plot to steal his material--and, unlike many writers who try to turn their professional expertise into a novel, Barton has plenty of talent. Although the novel doesn't explicitly promise a sequel, it's a safe bet that Barton has more Biff Kincaid stories up his sleeve. That's great news because this is one of the most promising crime-fiction debuts of the year. Expect to be hearing lots more about Biff Kincaid.