you're going to spend your day trying to figure out how dead people
got dead," Mike Lomax reflects near the beginning of Marshall
Karp's second novel, "you need…the Forensics Trifecta.
Brains, heart, and a twisted sense of humor." Not surprisingly,
BLOODTHIRSTY, once again featuring Lomax and his wisecracking
partner Terry Biggs, has the whole Trifecta down pat.
In their first book, 2006's THE RABBIT FACTORY, Biggs and Lomax
solved a high-profile series of murders behind the scenes at
Southern California's largest theme park. At the beginning of
BLOODTHIRSTY, our heroes have stars (and dollar signs) in their
eyes after they're approached by a director who wants to make a
movie based on that case. All that's missing is funding from
big-time producer Barry Gerber, one of the most powerful (and most
despised) men in Hollywood.
After Gerber fails to attend the premiere of one of his own movies,
it appears that Gerber himself may be missing as well. When the
famous producer's body turns up in a garbage can, the biggest
challenge facing Biggs and Lomax may be figuring out who's
not on the list of suspects. A puzzling cause of death and
a lengthy list of possible perpetrators results in a complicated
mystery --- one that Biggs, at least, hopes will result not only in
a closed case but also another movie deal.
Like Marshall Karp's debut, BLOODTHIRSTY is worthwhile as much for
the repartee between its main characters as it is for its mystery
plot. Terry Biggs's sarcastic sense of humor, as well as Mike
Lomax's often-failed attempts to rein in Biggs's more outrageous
jokes, give the novel a lighthearted approach that tempers the
rather gruesome nature of the crimes. In addition to the
good-natured working relationship shared by Biggs and Lomax,
readers will enjoy watching Karp develop his characters,
particularly Lomax, a widower who still grieves his late wife even
as he tries to find a way forward with his new love.
In fact, these humor and character elements are the main reason for
fans to pick up --- and stick with --- BLOODTHIRSTY. Occasional
glimpses into the killer's point of view reveal the identity of the
perpetrator as well as much of the motive rather early on in the
novel, lessening the suspense somewhat. Hollywood insider jokes may
also be lost on some readers, though it's certain that Karp, a
long-time Hollywood writer and producer, knows of what he
Although perhaps not as polished or innovative as THE RABBIT
FACTORY, BLOODTHIRSTY nevertheless will further Karp's reputation
as a humorous mystery writer in the vein of Elmore Leonard, Kinky
Friedman and Carl Hiaasen.
Reviewed by Norah Piehl on December 22, 2010