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by Marshall Karp
Allison & Busby, May 2009
347 pages
10.99 GBP
ISBN: 0749079789

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

It should be obligatory for Marshall Karp to bring out a new book every summer so that you can relax on the beach or on lengthy plane or train journeys with it.

Karp is a natural storyteller who entices you into the story and keeps you there. We're not talking deep, dark and complex here instead, you'll get snappy dialogue, witty asides and a good, fast-moving plot to hold the whole shebang together.

Detectives Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs find their outside lives getting far too close to their professional ones in FLIPPING OUT. Best-selling crime fiction author Nora Bannister has a neat little sideline. She and some friends buy a run-down house in Los Angeles. The friends do it up; Nora makes it the location of a murder in her latest book. But then real murders start taking place and friends and relatives of the two cops are in danger.

One of the welcoming things about FLIPPING OUT and the two earlier books in the series is that Karp presents the reader with a convincing range of characters, most of whom actually like each other, work well together and talk to each other like real work colleagues do. Even Lieutenant Kilcullen avoids the boss from hell stereotypes, as he has a heart under all the bluster.

As a mark of how good Karp's characterisation is, I found myself muttering darkly at Lomax's really very annoying dad (I don't know what a teamster is, although I can probably guess, but the repetition of the term gets a bit wearing) and at the misdeeds of Biggs's brattish step-daughter.

Karp's writing is effortlessly witty, so if you're bored with exploding cars, bodily functions and goo in the hair a la Janet Evanovich, or find Carl Hiassen a tad too left-field, you should give this series a go. And if you simply like well-written police procedurals, then FLIPPING OUT fits the bill there as well.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, July 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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