3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
No killer punch,
This review is from: The Killing Joke (Paperback)
You don't need to read the bio to realise that Horowitz is trying his hand at a new genre. In fact, I'm pretty sure that The Killing Joke was originally pitched as one of those two-part, Sunday night comic dramas that amuse without taxing the imagination.
As a novel requiring you to invest more than two hours of your life, it doesn't cut it. Horowitz can write moderately well, but the characters are all predictable stereotypes. The neurotic actor, the brutish builders, the exasperated ex-girlfriend and her shallow-but-successful new boyfriend, etc. It's ironic that the hero finds himself pursued by stereotypes, but if the writer saw the irony then he failed to make anything of it.
The plot lurches awkwardly from event to event, and eventually from realism to surrealism, with very little rationale or cohesion. The surreal element is unexplained, but not really developed. Horowitz wants a surreal novel, but doesn't have the discipline to go beyond the unreal, which isn't the same thing.
It's hard to imagine that Horowitz wrote more than one draft, and the ending proves that he eventually got bored with the book. An unpublished author would have had the manuscript thrown back at him. It's amusing enough in places - hence the 3-star rating - but overall it's half-baked.
There are too many loose ends, despite the fact that Horowitz tries to tie a lot of them up on a rushed last page - one that reads like he scribbled it on the back of an envelope while the courier was standing in his doorway waiting to take the manuscript to a publisher who had run out of patience.