book cover of Would It Kill You to Smile?
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Would It Kill You to Smile?

(The first book in the Will Keats series)
A novel by

Publisher's Weekly
Ventriloquist Skipper Keats suffers a fatal aneurysm while performing at his comedy club in Columbus, Ga. Skipper's son Will, a school counselor, harbors painfully mixed feelings about his father, whom he considered a second-rate talent and third-rate parent who lavished more attention on his favorite dummy, Dapper O'Dell, than on his son. Skipper had even insisted that Dapper be placed in his coffin, keeping the act together forever. After the funeral, Will imagines a cry for help from his wooden "brother," so he breaks into his father's crypt and discovers that Dapper has disappeared. Will's suspicions focus on ventriloquists jealous of Skipper, the mercenary co-owner of Skipper's club and the hearse driver. His search for Dapper leads him to family secrets and a little larceny. Although Will is soured by his Daddy-loved-the-dummy-best resentment, Lawson's otherwise strong characterizations and a stage trunk full of ventriloquism lore make this comedy caper worthwhile.

Library Journal
When ventriloquist Skipper Keats dies on stage, his family learns that he wants his dummy, Dapper O'Dell, buried with him. Son Will, an elementary school counselor near Columbus, GA, discovers--by way of a midnight raid--that someone has stolen the dummy, so he sets off to rescue it. "Kidnap" suspects include a fugitive hearse driver, a hitherto unknown half-brother, Keats's rather pathetic ex-lover, and his somewhat shifty business partner. Will's daring sleuthing, acid-tongued narration, and the unique subject matter all add flair to an anything-but-dull first novel. Strongly recommended.

Genre: Mystery

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