Deadly Serious by A J Thibault #BookReview #EncirclePublications #3.5*

A stand-up comic haunted by a family secret…

It’s 1980, Los Angeles. Dan Goodis is a struggling, irreverent stand-up comic who likes to speak his mind.

When he witnesses the brutal assassination of a brilliant hermit physicist, it sets him on a path that leads to the discovery of his father’s dark CIA past, and he soon learns that being funny can be deadly serious business.

Before he is murdered, the physicist inadvertently gives Dan a secret code. Dan doesn’t want to be involved, but soon discovers he has no choice: he is being hunted down by members of a secret cabal who want to silence him and stop him from revealing what he knows.  

Obsessed with the puzzle, Dan realizes he must solve the riddle of the hermit’s death if he is going to find a way out. He enlists the help of his family and friends, as well as his new lover, Lauren. But he quickly finds out that by involving his allies, he has exposed all of them to imminent danger.

Dan realizes he is in too deep, and there is no turning back.

It seems his only option is to put everything on the line, though he knows that disclosure of the hermit’s code could cost him his life.

One for Lovers of Dark Humour!

A bit different to my usual reads!

Dan Goodis wants to be a stand-up comedian; witnessing an execution wasn’t in his plans – and neither was being the recipient of a secret code from the soon to be assassinated man, a brilliant physicist who lived on his own in an old shack. Dan doesn’t want to be involved, but there are people out there who need the information he unwittingly has – and will stop at nothing to gain it. Dan realises that he needs to solve the puzzle himself and involves those around him to this end. Too late, he understands that he has put them all in danger, and there is more than his life on the line . . .

By the time I came to read this, I had completely forgotten about the ‘darkly humorous’ part of the novel and was expecting more of a thriller – which it certainly seemed to be. With the introduction of other characters, I began to struggle to keep all my ducks in a row but I was getting there. Then came the considerable dialogue with Lauren and Dan which swung back and forward (several times) and I not only lost the thread of the conversation but began to lose the will to continue. But continue I did – and struggled through to the very end. Not the easiest novel I’ve ever read; I do have a strong sense of humour but am well aware that I grapple with the ‘dark comedy’ side of things, so I expect other readers will understand the storyline far more quickly than I. I must add that when I reached the final page, lots of things clicked into place. If dark humour appeals to you, I suspect you will get far more out of this novel than I did. For me, this is a 3.5* read.

My thanks to the author for my copy; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.

Tags: humorous dark comedy

Author Details

A. J. Thibault is an award-winning author, novelist & screenwriter. He has written over twenty-one screenplays, three novels, a blog, numerous articles and made a few short student films. His paranormal novel “Ghost Town” was an Award Winner in the Horror: Supernatural/Paranormal category of the 2021 American Fiction Awards. He is the author of the thriller “Deadly Serious,” “Sway,” “Keeping Score,” and the #1 international best seller “How to Change a Law,” a 2017 Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal Winner, a Finalist in the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Book Awards and a Runner Up in the 2017 San Francisco Book Festival.


As an entrepreneur and philanthropist, he is the founder and CEO of iLobby and through his foundation has donated to causes focused on children’s health, education and financial literacy. He has worked in entertainment, software and the Internet including MCA/Universal, eBay, Financial Engines and iLobby.

He received his bachelors degree from Ryerson University and earned his MFA from UCLA’s film school. He currently lives with his wife and three children in Northern California.

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