Review

Flipping Out: A Lomax & Biggs Mystery

by Marshall Karp

In THE RABBIT FACTORY, Marshall Karp’s debut mystery
starring detectives (and best friends) Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs,
the duo investigated a series of murders at a California theme
park. In their second outing, BLOODTHIRSTY, Karp turned his
attention to the deadly competitive world of Hollywood wheelers and
dealers. Now, in FLIPPING OUT, he sets his sights on another
notorious facet of Los Angeles life --- the high-end real estate
market.

Lomax and Biggs have just spent a memorable evening playing
poker and shooting the breeze with a few other cops on their friend
Reggie Drabyak’s boat. This perfect guy’s night out
included a few beers, some good-natured put-downs, and a five-foot
submarine sandwich. All that seems a distant memory the next
morning, however, when Reggie’s wife, Jo, shows up dead in
the couple’s garage, killed execution-style with a bullet to
the back of the head.

Statistics tell the LAPD detectives that Reggie should be the
number one suspect, but good sense (and good friendships) lead
Lomax and Biggs in other directions. Jo was part of a business
venture called the LA Flippers, a group of women who buy
high-potential property, oversee the renovations, and stick it back
on the market for a quick profit. It’s been a great
money-making opportunity for Jo and the other women --- but could
it be the reason she’s ended up dead? Or could it be that a
perp with a vendetta is targeting the wives of LAPD cops? Either
way, Terry’s wife Marilyn is in danger. Not only is she
married to a homicide detective, she’s also one of the LA
Flippers.

Meanwhile, Lomax has house troubles of his own, having been
kicked out of his house while it’s supposedly being remodeled
by a deadbeat contractor. He and his girlfriend can’t stand
living within the same ZIP code as his nosy dad, so Lomax and Biggs
are getting closer than ever as Lomax and Diana move in temporarily
with Biggs and his family. Needless to say, when these two get
together under the same roof, things get funnier than ever, even as
they get closer to a deadly serious killer.

Fans of Biggs’s caustic one-liners and Lomax’s
good-natured punning will find plenty to laugh at in FLIPPING OUT,
despite the fact that the 2009 real estate market might make the
book’s focus on real estate speculation seem somewhat dated
already. Karp’s mystery plotting just keeps getting better.
When our heroes find one key suspect, there are more than a hundred
pages remaining, giving readers one big clue that there’s
still at least one major twist left in store. Karp also continues
to avoid writing pure parody by exhibiting a genuine fondness and
tenderness for his characters, especially as they respond to the
very personal nature of the crimes in FLIPPING OUT.

Fans of humorous mysteries and of the city of Los Angeles will
be eager to see what new aspect of Angelino life and culture Karp
will turn inside out next.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on January 22, 2011

Flipping Out: A Lomax & Biggs Mystery
by Marshall Karp

  • Publication Date: March 30, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 0312378238
  • ISBN-13: 9780312378233