Dead Clowns Still Smile

Robert Comunale, M.D.

Book Cover



    Core Theme














    A tenement-boy-turned-police-detective has only one fear. And he must face it.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal


    An big city in the Eastern U.S.

    Based on a True Story


    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Year Published: 2018

    Starting Description

    Detective Shlomo Weiss is assigned a particularly bizarre murder case.

    Ending Description

    Weiss faces and conquers his greatest fear.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available




    Mature Audience Themes

    Extreme Violence,Incest, Language/Profanity,Sexual Abuse,Nudity,Substance Abuse

    Plot - Other Elements


    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain

    Main Character Details

    Name: Detective Shlomo Weiss

    Age: 45

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Badass,Complex,Decisive,Heroic,Unapologetic,Lone Wolf

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this




    When the police find two bodies in a dark alley, they fall into an investigation to break a pedophilia ring that brings down powerful people all around town.

    Overall Rating


    Point of View


    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: GOOD

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Would change: logline, short summary, character descriptions.

    Draw of Story

    The mystery.

    Possible Drawbacks

    - The over-description of wounds, body parts, smells, and other medical-related subjects felt morbid to me. Some people might like it, but it narrows the audience. - The female characters are underdeveloped, uninteresting, and too focused on serving the male. - There's muted misogyny and homophobia throughout the whole story.

    Use of Special Effects


    Primary Hook of Story

    The mystery is interesting, and there's a good seed planted in the premise: how will the protagonist deal with his biggest fear, clowns?

    Fanbase Potential

    I don't think so; this story appeals to the crime/investigation narrative audience, but it's not that unique to expand beyond the targeted fanbase.

    Awards Potential

    No. There's nothing too different or memorable to potentially win awards.

    Envisioned Budget


    Similar Films/TV Series


    What’s New About the Story

    The trope of an experienced detective facing and overcoming their personal fear whilst investigating a crime is old but gold. The clown phobia gives this story a glimpse of originality. However, the premise is not truly delivered. The protagonist doesn't need to face his fear (clowns) at all during the investigation, and the family circus trip at the end felt forced. Especially because not even then the detective confronts his fear. The story also lacks in development; the investigation itself feels rushed, there's barely any mystery because everything is explained too fast. It would be more interesting to find a conflict between the investigators if they went down right and wrong paths and dead-ends. The death of the twin's mother felt extremely unnecessary; the explanation for it wasn't good enough and left the reader to accept that a mother of two 12-YO without a father would rather seek revenge and kill herself, leaving them abandoned than move to a new city to protect her kids. In general, the female characters could also be better developed. In this story, they are either prostitutes or wives with nothing else added to their personalities.

    Lead Characters

    Shlomo is righteous, but there's not much in his personality to make him stand out from your ol' regular investigator.

    Uniqueness of Story

    No. The story could/should be extended to actually creature mystery during the investigation. The main characters (Shlomo) should have to face clowns throughout the whole process and have trouble dealing with them. The detectives' hardship with the investigation should be felt, not described. The stakes for the protagonists should be higher, especially when they are arresting powerful people. There should be more female characters and even a romantic interest for one of the cops, a woman with layers to her personality. Felt weird that the character is 45 but has grandkids old enough to go to the circus. The arc between the brothers is introduced too late, and it feels superficial. The death of the mother (Mrs. Jacobs) doesn't make any sense.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Studio, Indie, Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation



    Too many things to be fixed. Detailed below.

    Tips for Improvement

    The author needs to dig deeper into character development, expand the story to create more mystery and suspense, create interesting characters that are not white middle-aged men to increase the book's appeal, work on the hovering misogyny and homophobia, and re-trace the protagonist's arc to deliver to the audience the story promised in the premise.


    When Captain Shlomo Weiss finds a dead clown in a dark alley, he falls into an investigation to break a pedophilia ring. Now, he needs strength to bring down powerful people in the government and face his biggest phobia, clowns.

    What We Liked

    - Old but gold premise;
    - Intriguing mystery;
    - Nice reconciliation arc between brothers;
    - Happy ending.

    Film: "Dead Clowns Still Smile" has all the elements of a good crime movie: a righteous investigator with a past wound, a bizarre crime, a conspiracy ring, and a horrific clown. This story can bring and keep the audience on the edge of their seats as the investigation develops while slowly seasoning the tough-guy protagonist with pieces of his personal side--and wounded past. The big finale at the circus would give the film a big ending within the film's thrilling tone.

    TV: Crime stories are always a great source for TV shows. The episodic format allows the writers to expand on the mystery, keeping the audience eager to return, and it would be no different with "Dead Clowns Still Smile." Set around the investigation of a pedophilia ring, each episode would bring the detectives closer to solving the crime--but also reveal to the audience more about the personal side of each character. With multiple investigators, victims, and conspirators, there's the potential of enough content for a full season. And, even if the case seems resolved by the end of the first season, rings such as pedophilia always have more (powerful) people involved to fuel following seasons.

    Key points:
    - Tough investigator with big heart trope;
    - Mystery around a bizarre crime;
    - Clowns and clown-phobia;
    - Happy ending;
    - Brotherly reconciliation.


    J.R. Elliot is a pedophile prick; one day, as he purchases pedophilia videos, he is murdered in a dark alley. Patrol Office Pat Flannery is the one to find his dead body, along with the body of a dead clown. Overwhelmed, he calls the dispatcher to send over a backup. Sergeant Nick Buffalano arrives at the scene to assess the situation; he calls over Captain Shlomo Weiss, who is terrified of clowns. The Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Z, explains to Weiss and Buffalano that the clown shot Elliot and then was shot by someone else. He also had lung cancer and would die in a couple of months. The Forensics specialist, Jeff Zacharias, tells them the clown, Jake Moynihan, wasn’t a real clown and that Elliot was a pedophile. They get Elliot’s wife's address. Jake was caught stealing at age 18 and offered the choice between jail and the Military. He enlisted and worked as a mechanic in the Navy. He never smoked or did anything bad for his health, still at age 51, he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. In church, he confesses to planning on killing a man.

    Shlomo talks to some street performers and asks about Jake; they recognize him but state he was no performer. He tried to pretend to be one to do some heavy-duty dipping but was kicked out after they were all attacked by someone who seemed like a woman with a strong voice and a neck scar. At Elliot’s ex-wife's house, they find out she hates him and divorced him when he tries to take pictures of her kids in underwear. The street performer's description of the attacker makes Shlomo remember a case he had as a young detective. He knows who the attacker is, a hooker named Tasha, who was once almost decapitated and had since carried a scar and an altered voice. Tasha says one of the performers tried to steal from her, that’s why she attacked—and was able to hurt one of them in the testicles. Weiss remembers that Moynihan's body had grey testicles.

    Shlomo remembers his childhood when a friend of his father mentored him to become a cop and then a detective. Mo visits his old mentor, Harold, to get help on the case, and together they figure things out. After he leaves, Harold talks to an old colleague named Peter Muyskey about Mo’s birth father and half-brother, Seymour. Seymour, a rich investigative reporter, leaves work on his Ferrari and calls his half-brother Mo. He tells Mo he has important information to share, but their conversation is interrupted when another car tries to lead the Ferrari to crash. Mo immediately leaves the station and drives to where the car chase is, shooting and killing the driver trying to hurt his half-brother. Later, they learn the driver was a hitman linked to a child porn ring. Seymour shares his information about it, too. The Examiner shares a photo of two kids, possible future victims of the ring, and Mo recognizes them.

    Jess does computer magic, and they’re able to get a list of names of people involved in the ring. Weiss orders Nick Buffalano to arrest several people, including important public names and Tasha’s brother, the pimp. Weiss authorizes Seymour to follow around Nick to get inside scoop and report later. Tasha and her brother die during the arrest. Shlomo and Seymour go to Elliot’s ex-wife’s house. They question her about Moynihan, and she admits he stole her wallet a while ago. But the police officers tell the woman they know there’s more to the story, as they have found he transferred 5 thousand dollars to his wife, and she withdrew the same amount. The ex-wife admits having concocted with Moynihan to kill Elliot after he tried to rob her because he had nothing to give his wife. She gave him the money he needed; in exchange, he murdered J.R, who was trying to sell inappropriate pictures of her children. Moynihan asked her to kill him after he did the job but didn’t say why. The woman, then, collapses to the floor, dead—she committed suicide by ingesting cyanide.

    At home, Mo finally rests with the case closed. But admits to his wife he doesn’t understand why the ex-wife killed Moynihan, who has helped her. The wife explains it must have been to help him die since he was in profound pain. The wife reminds Mo that he is supposed to meet Seymour and take the kids to the circus. Mo tries, in vain, to escape the ordeal. Mo and his grandkids join Seymour and his kids in a tour bus to the circus. Buffalano and Jeff and his wife join them, too. At the circus, the kids run around and play while Shlomo and Seymour compete to see who’s stronger; in the end, they come together to win the prize. When many kids make fun of Seymour’s granddaughter, the two brothers work together to make the child feel better. Later, the group walks through the circus when a clown approaches them and terrifies Mo collapses to the ground. His grandkids and Seymour chase the clown away, while Mo remembers the day that traumatized him—and how young Seymour helped him. The two brothers rekindle. They all leave the circus, and Jeff admits to his wife he doesn’t want to have kids. But she reveals she’s pregnant. They all laugh. Harold and Pete talk about the amazing work Shlomo did by arresting old crooks. They talk about Seymour running for Mayor and remember the old days when they worked as police officers.

    About The Author

    Robert Comunale, M.D. is a true Italian among Italians. He embodies the fusion between the spirit of Romulus and Remus and the genteel tastes of the Renaissance. "Dead Clowns Still Smile" is his debut novel.