Synopses & Reviews
Known to millions for his television and film roles, Chris Elliott is one of the most beloved comedians of his generation. With his novel The Shroud of the Thwacker
, Elliott delivers a laugh-out-loud parody that will delight mystery lovers as well as his devoted fans.
Set in New York City in 1882, the story hilariously chronicles the adventures of police chief Caleb Spencer and his two cohorts, Evening Post reporter Liz Smith and mayor Teddy Roosevelt, as they unravel the mystery of the world's first (and most bizarre) serial killer: Jack the Jolly Thwacker. The elusive Thwacker dresses his victims in outlandish costumes, leaves behind taunting poetry, and leads the authorities on a wild chase through New York streets and landmarks (complete with gas-powered wooden cell phones, carriages, gaslights, and the original Original Ray's Pizzeria). In a bizarre twist, Chris Elliott himself joins the action, using time travel and historical documents to uncover the Thwacker's identity.
With a wink and a nod to Patricia Cornwell, The DaVinci Code, and Caleb Carrs mysteries, Elliot does for the historical crime genre what Douglas Adams did for science fiction in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
"The book debut from the Get a Life and Cabin Boy star is billed as a parody, but this murder mystery wrapped in laughter is simply straight-up enjoyable. Jack the Jolly Thwacker is leaving dead bodies all over 1882 New York City. Chris Elliott, a modern-day researcher, is tracking the serial killer through time. Elliott's wry humor fastens on the burgeoning, Boss Tweedified city, giving it a hilarious and vividly imagined set of anachronistic technologies and accoutrements (New York's Mayor Teddy Roosevelt, who has mysteriously disappeared, has a navel piercing). The narrative leaps back and forth in time, as 1882 police chief Caleb Spencer chases the Thwacker through the streets, and Elliott, convinced the killer is from the 21st century, chases him through time. Elliott's ability to time travel is facilitated by Yoko Ono (don't ask) and a willing suspension of disbelief, but the results are very amusing (if often infantile in the style of There's Something About Mary), with asides on every page that bring in everyone and everything from Typhoid Mary to Skyy Vodka. If Shroud feels like an extended, Americanized Monty Python skit, it's also a rousing good yarn. 15-city author tour." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"With an opening paragraph ripe for the Bulwer-Lytton 'Dark and Stormy Night' contest, it's clear that this over-the-top send-up of Caleb Carr's The Alienist will delight readers with a high tolerance for silly puns and meandering, adjective-laden, anachronistic prose." Library Journal
"[A] slapstick satire that is more fun than the sum of its cliches....If those who devour such novels are willing to laugh at them, Elliott might be a bigger hit on bookshelves than he's been onscreen." Kirkus Reviews
"The novel format is not a good venue for Elliott. He's not a natural here, and it shows....Although the gags come fast and furious, the pace and quality are clearly difficult to keep up." Rocky Mountain News
"The Shroud of the Thwacker, in short, is relentlessly silly. Some of the silliness is very entertaining....[A] morbidly amusing book." Washington Post
Set in New York City in 1882, this hilarious story chronicles the adventures of Police Chief Caleb Spencer and his cohorts, Evening Post reporter Liz Smith and Mayor Teddy Roosevelt, as they unravel the mystery of the world's first serial killer, Jack the Jolly Thwacker.
About the Author
Chris Elliott is an Emmy-award-winning writer, producer, and comedian. He wrote for and performed on SNL, Late Night with David Letterman, and starred in the sitcom Get a Life and the films Cabin Boy and There's Something About Mary. He recently co-starred in Everybody Loves Raymond. He lives in Connecticut.