Fresh Blood

Name: Marshall Karp

Title of Book: The Rabbit Factory

'Ö a nigh-on flawless first novelÖ'

The Rabbit Factory introduces Detectives Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs as they are drafted in to solve the brutal murder of Rambunctious Rabbit, the beloved mascot of America's number-one theme park, Familyland.

It soon becomes clear that there is a vendetta against Lamaar Studios, the entertainment conglomerate that owns the theme park, along with movie studios, television networks and music publishers. With the media closing in and political pressure mounting, the detective duo must race to discover the Lamaar-hating madman before he brings the family entertainment giant to its knees.

Donít be put off by the title. As a keen reader of crime fiction, I had trouble finding the title The Rabbit Factory being in any way synonymous with my genre of choice. I stand corrected.

The Rabbit Factory is a highly entertaining read. For a debut novel, it is extremely impressive. The characters are well formed and after the first few chapters I felt as though I knew Lomax and Biggs very well already. There is a good mix of crime and suspense, with a huge dollop of humour, which will certainly bring a wry smile to any reader's face.

This book may take some reading at 600 pages but it is well worth making it to the end. This is a nigh-on flawless first novel - I thoroughly enjoyed both the story and the writing style of the author - and I implore you to simply 'read it'!

Like many of the authors whose debut novels I have read, this is another I shall be closely following.


Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating

Fresh Blood Questionnaire

1) Crime novels encompass many sub-genres and styles. How would you describe your book?
Funny. Is funny a crime sub-genre? If not, can we make it one? Of course, since readers get to watch two detectives solve the crime, many reviewers have called it police procedural. If thatís the case, then Iíd like funny to be the sub-sub-genre.
2) What type of crime novels do you prefer? Do you prefer series or standalone?
Series. Standalones, like one night stands, certainly have a lot going for them. No prior history, the excitement of it all being new, and whether itís good or bad, youíll have something to tell your buds in the morning.

But a great series, thatís where the heart is. These are the books you anticipate. The reunions you wait for. And as I learned when writing for television, people donít just tune in for the plot. They enjoy the predictable emotional experience they get from characters they love. These are the people I want to return to over and over again.
3) Have you had the idea of writing a crime novel for some time?
It has long been in the Top Ten of my 100 Things To Do Before I Die list.
4) Who or what influenced you to write a crime novel in the first place?
Lots of writers influenced me, but as I said in the acknowledgement section of The Rabbit Factory, James Patterson helped make it happen.
5) Is the Rabbit Factory a standalone book or will we see a return of the characters Lomax and Biggs in any future books?
It is most definitely a series. Funny, it started out as a one shot, but the characters have captured a few hearts, including my own. Bloodthirsty, the second book, will be available in the UK in the spring of 2008. There will be two more after that. Having worked in the entertainment business in Los Angeles, I have no shortage of Hollywood types that I have longed to murder.
6) Will readers ever get a chance to know what was in the ninth letter from Lomax's late wife?
Thatís a great question, and while Iím not one hundred percent sure, my instinct is to say no. Joanie wrote that final letter in the hopes that it would be something Mike would always think about, but never read. Sheís dying, but she doesnít want that final letter to bring closure. As she says, if you donít open the letter then there will be one piece of me, still unknown to you, that you can wonder about, daydream about, get mad at me about because I havenít yet shared it with you. Itís the part of her that she hopes will never die.
7) Do you feel humour is important in a book? Are you the sort of personality who is always throwing out one-liners and witty dialogue? Did you find it easy or difficult to write humour into The Rabbit Factory?
Humour is vital to me. In books, in the dentistís office, in virtually every aspect of my life. But isnít humour in all of us? I mean who among us hasnít gone for that mortifying annual visit to the proctologist, and nervously tried to temper the embarrassment by cracking wise? (Did I actually just say proctologist and cracking wise in the same sentence?)

And yes, while I have been known to be serious on occasion, I find that I can make some very intelligent points using humour. If I werenít funny, Iím sure my wife would have traded me off for a low maintenance husband years ago. But I try to be smart funny. One liners make me think of Rodney Dangerfield. Humour makes me think of Mark Twain. Guess who Iíd rather be compared to?

Adding humour to The Rabbit Factory came naturally. The trick was keeping it in check when the scenario was too serious to warrant a laugh. Of course, sometimes, my character, Terry Biggs, has been known to cross that boundary. But when he does, I have someone tell him he was off base with that remark.
8) You seem to have some cynicism for the concept of ďfamily entertainmentĒ corporations. Have you ever previously worked in such an industry, have personal connections or did you just decide to use this as an unusual setting for your novel?
Iíve worked in film, television, even theatre, and while you meet a lot of wonderful people, show business has its dark, ugly side, and I got to see some of it first hand. Iím not cynical. I think Iíve just zeroed in on some of that unattractive underbelly, because Iím writing about multiple homicides, and you just canít set that kind of evil to an up-tempo honky-tonk piano.
9) Would you describe yourself specifically as a Crime fan and, if so, which classic and current authors do you most admire?
I love crime novels. But not the gory ones. I like the ones that get inside the head of the murderer. Iím especially drawn to serial killers. What a difficult job that must be. Work, work, work, and yet, youíre never done. As for individual authors Iíve gone back to time and again, Jeffery Deaver, Jeffrey Archer, David Baldacci, Nelson DeMille, and Donald Westlake all spring to mind.
10) What is your favourite crime read of all time?
Frederick Forsytheís The Day of the Jackal. 1971. What an impact it had on the young me. I donít think heís ever equalled it. But in my opinion, and to Mr. Forsytheís credit, neither has anyone else.
11) What is your favourite movie adaptation of a crime novel?
Duel, one of Stephen Spielbergís earliest works. Iím cheating here. First, it was made for TV, but back then some TV movies had the same creative standards as a feature film. Second, Duel is not a novel. It was a short story written by Richard Matheson and published in Playboy. (Apparently, I actually did read the stories in that magazine, and interestingly enough, it was published in 1971 Ė the same year as Day of the Jackal.) Itís a simple premise of a businessman driving his car along a stretch of deserted highway. He inadvertently pisses off the driver of a huge oil tanker truck. The truckerís road rage turns homicidal, and we get to watch the gripping drama as an ordinary man suddenly finds himself the target of a psychopath.