I love a good pun. I will never knock an author for adding one – even if it makes me groan. What I don't like is when the pun does not refer to something in the story. It happened One Knife by Jeffrey Cohen is a play on the movie It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. That's all well and good but I expected a knife to be part of the story. I kept waiting but it never happened. No one in this book gets stabbed or even threatened with a knife.
Okay. It's a small thing but I think the title of the book should have SOMETHING to do with the story. This doesn't... well, okay... a lot of the action takes place at night but I don't think that counts. If I'm going to stretch it I'd put it this way: One night Elliot Freed learns that one of his comedy idols was involved in a murder 50 years ago.
There are three plot lines in this book. A film is stolen from Freed's theatre, Freed's ex-wife is leaving her second husband and wants to date Freed again and (as if it was an add on to plump up the page count) one member of a famous comedy duo accuses the other of murdering his wife.
From what I read from other reviewers this book is supposed to be laugh out loud funny. I didn't get that. I chuckled a couple of times but that's it. One review I read said that if you examine all the movie references you know the answer to the mystery well before Freed figures it out. Without paying that much attention to the references I figured out the main plot point before Freed was halfway there.
This book has a thread of a plot and a lot of teenaged (young adult) angst that gets really annoying fast. I found myself skimming all the passages where Freed dealt with the staff at his theatre. I really didn't like any of the characters. Freed is in turns whiny, blundering and annoying. His ex-wife, who is supposedly a doctor, comes off as a shallow, slightly bitchy woman who can't make up her mind. The aging comedians cling to their past glory and old jokes and they're not that funny.
This is another series I'm going to give a pass.