PERSONAL: Male. Education: Attended the University of Texas.
CAREER: Stand-up comedian, commercial actor, and author; has performed stand-up at the Comix Annex, Houston, TX, and the Comedy Store, Los Angeles, CA; has also performed stand-up for television programs, including Evening at the Improv, A&E, Star Search, Talk Soup, and Live from Rascal's; opened for Sam Kinison on international concert tours. E! Entertainment Television, Los Angeles, supervising producer of Celebrity Profile; also supervising producer of television series Wild On . . . , 1997-2003; producer of television series Expeditions to the Edge, 2004.
Banshee, Worldwide Library, 1988.
Relife, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1991.
"BIFF KINCAID" MYSTERY SERIES
Killer Material, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Heckler, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Dead Crowd, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Dan Barton has had a successful career in Hollywood. He is the supervising producer of the weekly series Celebrity Profile on E! Entertainment Television, and he also acts in commercials, does voice-overs, and is a professional stand-up comedian. He draws on these experiences in several murder mysteries, including a series featuring Biff Kincaid, a stand-up comedian and amateur sleuth.
Killer Material was the first of Barton's books to feature Kincaid, and it was dubbed "one of the most promising crime-fiction debuts of the year," by David Pitt in Booklist. At the last minute, Biff fills in for comedian friend Art Westcott at Chortles Comedy Club. While watching the first comedian, Ned Lando, Biff realizes that Lando's material is all stolen from other comics. After the show, Biff learns that Lando paid the sound technician to tape both Biff and club manager Kelly Malone's acts. Biff goes to see his friend Art and discovers him in his apartment, dead. Since Biff was the last one to see Art alive, he becomes the number-one suspect, and he goes on the case to catch both the real killer and the material-stealing Lando. A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised Barton's depiction of "the unglamorous day world of the rank-and-file entertainer" and declared that "Barton and Kincaid certainly rate a return engagement."
In Heckler, Kincaid is asked by Rick Partino, booker for Palace Hotel's Comedysino in Las Vegas, to fill in for the previous headliner, Tiger Moore, who is in the hospital. Biff agrees, and upon arriving learns that Moore has been stabbed to death after receiving threatening notes from someone called "The Heckler." Another comedian, the successful Louie Baxter, has been receiving the notes as well, and Biff hopes to solve the mystery before he loses another friend. Barton "clearly knows his subject," David Pitt wrote in Booklist, and Killer Material and Heckler "are just great fun." A Publishers Weekly reviewer also praised the book, noting that "Barton skillfully blends crisp dialogue, deft punch lines and convincing action" in his tale.
Barton's Dead Crowd "is much better than its predecessors," Pitt wrote in another Booklist review—"no mean feat, because the first four were very good, indeed." This time, the murder victim is Bernie Coleman, a shady club manager who was hated by both his family (an angry ex-wife and homeless son) and his colleagues. Since Biff was once shorted on his pay when he performed at Bernie's club, and since Biff was the one who discovered the body, the police consider him to be one of their chief suspects. However, the motives for the murder turn out to be more complicated than anyone expected. As Biff investigates the murder in an attempt to clear his name, he discovers that an imprisoned stand-up comedian masterminded an ingenious scheme to break himself and another hard-core criminal out of prison, and that Bernie seems to have been part of the plot. "Established Barton fans won't be disappointed" by this installment in the series, a Publishers Weekly reviewer claimed.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2000, David Pitt, review of KillerMaterial, p. 1198; January 1, 2001, David Pitt, review of Heckler, p. 923; April 1, 2002, David Pitt, review of Dead Crowd, p. 1308.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2000, review of KillerMaterial, p. 211; March 15, 2002, review of Dead Crowd, p. 369.
Library Journal, May 1, 2000, Rex Klett, review of Killer Material, p. 156; February 1, 2001, Rex E. Klett, review of Heckler, p. 128; May 1, 2002, Rex E. Klett, review of Dead Crowd, p. 138.
Publishers Weekly, March 27, 2000, review of KillerMaterial, p. 56; April 3, 2000, review of Killer Material, p. 66; March 12, 2001, review of Heckler, p. 66; April 22, 2002, review of Dead Crowd, p. 52.
Dan Barton Home Page,http://geocities.com/biffkincaid (October 22, 2004).
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (October 22, 2004), "Dan Barton (V)."
MurderExpress.net,http://www.murderexpress.net/ (October 22, 2004), "Dan Barton."
Stop, You're Killing Me! Web site,http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/ (August 2, 2001), "Dan Barton."
Whitestone Books Web site,http://www.whitestone.com/ (August 2, 2001), Harriet Klausner, review of Heckler.*