The Killing Joke Book Review

The Killing Joke by Anthony Horowitz

This is a comedy thriller, not a hardcore action novel. The Killing Joke is about Guy, a man who’s an actor who’s been down on his luck. His girlfriend walked out on him, and so he goes to a bar to attempt to wash away his troubles with alcohol. He hears a nasty joke, and becomes obsessed with tracing the origin of it. He wants to find out where jokes come from. But it leads him into some deep water. The three key points to this book are characters, writing, and plot. Before I analyze this book, let me make it clear that this book has some bad language and adult humor. It’s not for those who can’t see the word ‘poop’ and hold back laughter. It requires a bit of maturity. The characters are very strong. The conversations are very realistic, and they each have an individual voice. All of them are strong, and Guy is very well explained to us. Some characters are actually used as outlets for some deep symbolism.  Still, there were three characters that are agents searching for Guy (you find that out early, so it’s not a spoiler) who aren’t strong at all. In fact, they felt forced. I think Horowitz felt a temptation to create three antagonist agents just for the heck of it. Unfortunately, I never felt a connection or understanding of them, and they seemed unnecessary. Still, the other characters were channeled well through their actions and dialogue. The writing was fantastic. There is a lot of humor sprinkled throughout Guy’s thoughts, and everything is explained clearly. Like I mentioned before, there is quite a bit of language, but the writing explained everything in a complex yet simple way. Here’s one of my favorite lines.

The boat made a wonderful sound when it pushed forward, the oars suddenly rhythmic, cutting through the river like scissors through silk.

Scissors through silk. Awesome. The writing was well done, which I expected from the author of the Alex Rider series. Lastly, the plot was quite interesting. It deals with the origin of an idea, something that can lead to some deep explanation and a moral. The last big thing to talk about the origin and purity of an idea was Inception, and remember how deep and complex that was? The Killing Joke is no Inception, however. The plot builds slowly, and when everything is explained, you feel as if you took away a message. It got me thinking, and every time a book gets gears turning in my head, I tend to enjoy it. This book is no exception. The Killing Joke is a well-matured T-Bone.

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