On a warm summer night in central Indiana, a surprisingly well-adjusted serial killer with a successful career as a stand-up comedian and a cherished collection of fingertips has come out to play, and there’s really nothing funny about it.
In the 108,000-word thriller Die Laughing, The Cowboy, aka comedian Robbie Lester, suffers blackouts that seem to be growing in duration. The Darkness, as he calls it, does things, bad things Robbie has no recollection of. While The Cowboy is plagued with The Darkness that haunts him, a vile, deranged Killer announces his coming-out party when a body, missing nine of his ten fingertips, is placed on crude display at the site of a former auto-lighting manufacturer. Beside the body of Bobby Jordan is a cooler that contains a baggy of nine fingertips, pieces of nine other individuals, The Killer’s loud and clear announcement to the world that he has murdered at least ten people. With his next display and another baggy full of trophies, he will show them all that he is just warming up.
FBI Agent Benjamin Kroh, of the Behavioral Analysis Unit, has been sent to a town a stone’s throw away from where he spent his childhood. With the help of his team and the local authorities, the case moves in some unforeseen directions. As The Killer continues his spree, cruelly destroying individuals who have angered him in one way or another and collecting trophies from each, Kroh’s gut feeling tells him that they are finally close to stopping the man who has left bodies in nine states, all with the same signature. The Fingertip Killer becomes his own personal quest, one he must hurry to conquer before more fingers and lives are lost, including those of his family.