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The Rabbit Factory    by Marshall Karp order for
Rabbit Factory
by Marshall Karp
Order:  USA  Can
MacAdam/Cage, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Familyland, a popular southern California theme park, is an offshoot of Lamaar Studios - an entertainment conglomerate encompassing movies, television, music, and video games - and it has a history of giving families plenty of adventure and excitement.

Now, however, as we join the suspense-filled action of Marshall Karp's highly recommended, hilarious crime novel, things are getting a little too exciting at fun-filled Familyland. The theme park's beloved mascot, Rambunctious Rabbit - actually a costumed child molester by the name of Eddie Elkins - has been unlucky enough to have been brutally murdered. Even two rabbit's feet weren't enough to protect Eddie Elkins.

Lamaar Studio executives, of course, are anxious to protect the idyllic image (and the lucrative bottom-line) at Familyland, so they immediately put considerable pressure on the Los Angeles Police Department. The case must be solved quickly and quietly.

So, enter two of LAPD's finest detectives, Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs. Mike, a grieving widower with more than his share of personal problems, and Terry, 'the Fun Homicide Cop,' are now on the case, and they have a reputation for solid police work, so what could possible go wrong?

Well, Rambunctious Rabbit's problems are apparently just the beginning. A popular television and movie actor, a rolly-polly redhead from Minneapolis, and a Familyland tram driver all suddenly find, much to their surprise, that they may have something horribly in common with Eddie Elkins. Then, making matters much worse, Lamaar executives receive a terrifying message: 'Hello ... By now we hope we have proven we can kill your employees, your customers, or anyone else who associates with Lamaar. We are capable of killing many, many more ... The killings will continue.'

And, indeed they do continue. Lomax and Biggs, working hard and fast, realize that they are up against a very dangerous person (or persons). Perhaps the killings are connected to employee relations problems at Lamaar. Could the mayhem be related to some kind of corporate rivalry? What about the possibility of organized crime connections? Maybe some ruthless investors are upset with Lamaar management. Is this all some kind of conspiracy or vendetta? Or perhaps, just perhaps, those ideas are all red herrings, which means that the killings are all related to -

But that's enough about this exemplary novel's plot and characters. Permit me to simply repeat and whole-heartedly endorse James Patterson's cogent assessment of Marshall Karp's satiric, deftly written mystery: 'Marshall Karp could well be the Carl Hiaasen of Los Angeles - only I think he's even funnier. The Rabbit Factory will touch your funny bone, and your heart.' Enough said!

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