Coffin's Got the Dead Guy on the Inside

Coffin's Got the Dead Guy on the Inside

3.5 2
by Keith Snyder

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The title is the answer to the riddle: what's the difference between a cello and a coffin? It's also the latest mystery in which wise-cracking composer Jason Keltner must solve the riddle of his life: why are people trying to kill his former best friend and how can he stay out of the cross fire? "Constantly fascinating . . . falling-down funny."--Cleveland "Plain


The title is the answer to the riddle: what's the difference between a cello and a coffin? It's also the latest mystery in which wise-cracking composer Jason Keltner must solve the riddle of his life: why are people trying to kill his former best friend and how can he stay out of the cross fire? "Constantly fascinating . . . falling-down funny."--Cleveland "Plain Dealer."

Editorial Reviews

G. M. Ford
"One of a kind... hip... smart and laugh-out-loud funny." --G.M. Ford
Lev Raphael
"This book is quirky, hip..." --Lev Raphael, author of The Edith Wharton Murders.
Meg Chittenden
"Highly original and entertaining...I love this book." --Meg Chittenden
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The title of this offbeat, mostly engaging but occasionally too cute, story is the answer to "What's the difference between a cello and a coffin?" That's one of several musician jokes traded by underemployed electronic composer Jason Keltner and his friend Norton Platt at the start of Snyder's second Keltner adventure (after Show Control, 1996). Platt, a shadowy figure with connections to the world of intelligence, offers Jason a paying job keeping an eye on a mutual friend, Paul Reno, who is hanging with a new crowd ("a little seedier and a little more serious than his usual") and who gets involved in software theft and a possible homicide. Paul is a royal pain, rude and condescending to Jason and his friends--Robert, a very tall actor, and Martin, "an occasional graphic artist" and aspiring knife fighter. One problem readers will have is understanding why someone doesn't punch Paul out sooner than it happens. Other readers may take issue with Snyder's reliance on scenes involving clunky old cars, a device that's refreshing for only the first few turns. Most of these objections will be made between bouts of laughter, however, as Snyder delivers dialogue that is often strikingly original and adroitly paced. His edgy, appealing characters and deft evocations of seedy Southern California urban life make return visits with Keltner and his cohorts a welcome prospect. Editor, Michael Seidman. (Sept.)
VOYA - Joanna Morrison
What do you call a musician without a girlfriend? Homeless. What's the difference between a musician and a savings bond? A savings bond eventually matures and earns money. Jason Keltner, itinerant electronic musician and cybersurfer, trades these quips and more with his friends and roommates when he is hired by hush-hush agent Norton Platt to keep an eye on Paul Reno. Jason can't stand Paul but because he and his friends can really use the money, Paul moves into the decrepit boarding house where Jason, Martin, and Robert live. When electronic genius Huey Benton dies at a party Jason and Paul are attending, and later Jason, Robert, and Martin are attacked by a man who mistakes Jason for Paul, the pieces begin to fall into place. Paul has stolen Benton's computer gizmo known as the "dongle," an invention that will revolutionize computer graphics. Several violent people are seeking the dongle but, wisecracking all the way, Jason, Robert, and Martin manage to solve the mystery of the dongle's ultimate ownership. This novel will strongly appeal to senior high school readers, especially boys. There is a minimum of profanity, and lots and lots of sophomoric but hilarious humor that teens will especially enjoy. Incidentally, the title of the book is the answer to the question, "What's the difference between a cello case and a coffin?" Ba-dom-bomp! VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Will appeal with pushing, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Library Journal
Jason Keltner (Show Control, Write Way, 1996) is a long-haired musician--mostly unemployed--who lives in an aging Pasadena boardinghouse. Hired to "baby-sit" Paul, a former friend turned suspicious character, Jason suddenly finds his life moving into fast-forward. He and Paul witness the death of an alcohol-loving computer whiz, they narrowly escape death at the hands of three goons, and Jason nearly wrecks his decrepit car chasing two similar thugs. The cast of multicultural misfits inspires a great deal of mostly successful humor--at times dry, inane, witty, and slapstick. Jason's spontaneous, often insane antics will appeal to most readers, especially those who enjoy Donald Westlake's comic mysteries.
Kirkus Reviews
To oblige his friend Norton Platt, and maybe to make a little bit of the cash that electronic musical compositions like Untitled #23 haven't been bringing in, Jason Keltner agrees to babysit Paul Reno (with whom his friendship had cooled when Paul slept with Jason's ex) by inviting him to rent a vacant apartment in Jason's building. Why would a grown man like Paul need a minder, even among the fleshpots of Pasadena? If Jason ever wonderedþhe never doesþhe'd find out when (1) Huey Benton, the virtual reality star of the party he takes Paul to, drops dead after too much booze and too hard a fall on the party floor, and (2) armed strangers show up at Marengo Manor the next morning demanding "the item" (all right, it's actually a dongle) from Paul, or Jason, or anybody, and Paul turns out to be missing. If Jason were a kid, this would be his cue to break out his Captain Midnight Decoder Ring, but since, like Paul, he's a grown man, he hooks up with his neighbors Robert (the really tall actor who plays chess) and Martin (the underemployed artist) to track down the item before the nefarious creatures of Synervision can vaporize Paul. Although Snyder (Show Control, not reviewed) throws in three deadly Ford Tauruses and at least as many Mexican standoffs, the good guys spend less time battling the bad guys than sniping at each other. The title says it all: determined postmodern whimsy for those in the mood.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.66(d)

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Coffin's Got the Dead Guy on the Inside 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it was an ok book but it didn't have that good of an plot, and the dialoque was cheesy. It had a few good car chases though
Guest More than 1 year ago
Still and again not getting his music composed, Jason rounds up the gang and pursues the solution to a more overtly life-threatening mystery. I suppose one might read this for the mystery but the rewards of reading are to be found in the musketeers' loyalty to and love for each other, Jason's occasional observations on the making of art, and the narrator's sense of humor.