The Rabbit Factory

The Rabbit Factory

by Marshall Karp

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780749080570
Publisher: Allison & Busby, Limited
Publication date: 01/28/2008
Pages: 632
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Marshall Karp’s writing career has spanned a wide range of fields, from advertising and marketing to television, screen, and stage. He is the author of the play Squabbles and the screenwriter for the 2000 film Just Looking. The Rabbit Factory is his first novel.

Read an Excerpt

I wish I still smoked. Some occasions just seem to go better when I inhale deadly toxins. Like opening Joanie’s monthly letter. But I gave up tobacco seven years ago, so I had to resort to other self-inflicted pain. Exercise.

I did 45 minutes on the bike, managed a hundred and fourteen sit-ups, then hit the shower, slowly edging the hot water from invigorating to excruciating. I switched to cold just before my back started to blister.

I was out of coffee, but there was half a pot of Juan Valdez’s finest still on the counter from yesterday. I poured a cup and nuked it. It tasted like Juan’s donkey’s finest, but at 7 in the morning, I’ll take my caffeine any way I can get it.

I poured myself a bowl of Cheerios. Andre heard me chewing and showed up before I swallowed my first mouthful. “We’re giving out numbers this morning,” I told him. “I’m one. You’re two. Wait your turn.”

Andre does not grasp the finer points of math, but he got my gist and sprawled out on the floor, waiting patiently for his number to be called.

I propped the envelope against the cereal box. On the front was my name in Joanie’s girly-girl handwriting. Plus the number 6. Only she didn’t write the number. There were just hash marks. Like an inmate counting days.

I sat there staring at the envelope and spooning up my Cheerios. Andre remained a polite two feet away, both eyes riveted on the spoon. “Explain something to me,” I said to him. “How come the Cheerios commercials always show happy Moms with perky breasts, Dads who seem to be on the right career path and teenage kids with no substance abuse problems? What about real families like us? A middle-aged widower and his Cheerio-loving dog?”

Andre shifted positions and started licking his dick. “You keep doing that at the breakfast table,” I told him, “and we’ll never wind up on television.”

I always put in too much milk, so I grabbed another fistful of cereal, to establish better oats-to-milk ratio in the bowl. I still wasn’t ready to open the letter, so I read the box, and was delighted to find that Cheerios may reduce my cholesterol if I make them part of my heart-healthy diet. I decided not to order a Cheerios T-shirt for only $4.99 and wondered why they had to print “limit 4 T-shirts per household.” Are there actually households that need more than four? And if so, why would General Mills deprive them?

I left an inch of milk and about two dozen floaters in the bowl and set it down on the floor next to Andre. He stopped gratifying himself sexually and immediately dove into the heart-healthier choice.

I waited for him to finish so I could pick up the bowl, otherwise Rosa, my cleaning lady, would find it on the floor and have to go to church to ask God to forgive me for feeding the dog out of my dead wife’s good dishes.

Andre finished his Cheerios and went back to his dick. I put the bowl in the sink, went back to the bedroom and plopped down on the big stuffed chair. I used Joanie’s best cake knife to open the envelope. Dios mio; pray for me, Rosa.
Dearest Mike,

Are these letters driving you crazy? Tough shit. I’ve never been dying before, and I’m trying to figure this out as I go along. It serves you right for marrying a first-born, perfectionist, Gemini, control freak.

Assuming you’re following my orders and reading these on schedule (if you don’t I’ll come back and haunt you) it’s been six months. Hopefully Rosa is still coming, or by now there are 180 pair of dirty socks and underwear piled up on the bedroom floor.

I wrote the first five letters when I was between chemo sessions. Today I’m vomiting between paragraphs, so bear with me.

I’m sad for you. The hardest part of this whole ordeal is not that I’m dying (although believe me that sucks big time). It’s trying to imagine you without me.

How can I not be there every morning when you roll over all shaggy, scruffy and if I’m lucky, horny. How can I not be there on Sunday nights at Gino’s to split a sausage and pineapple pizza and a bottle of dago red? How can I not be with you? How can you be -– how can you exist -– without me?

I don’t know how many more letters I’ve got left in me, but I’ll write #7 tomorrow. Just to whet your appetite, I promise to reveal the biggest secret I ever kept from you. No cheating. You can’t open it for another month.

Michael, my sweet lover, I know these messages from your dear departed wife must be like getting greeting cards from the Surreal section of the Hallmark store. But I can’t stop writing. I’ve accepted the fact that I can’t hold onto my own life. I just can’t let go of being part of yours.

I will love you for eternity. Give Big Jim and Andre big wet kisses for me.

Joanie
I closed my eyes and let it soak in. Then I read the letter again. I was about to read it for the third time when the annoying little voice that lives rent free inside my head told me to put the fucking letter away now.

I try not to argue with the voice. I extricated myself from the sagging green chair as gracefully as one can extricate 180 pounds from anything.

I walked over to Joanie’s dressing table, and picked up the double-sided silver picture frame she gave me for our first anniversary. On the left side of the frame was our wedding picture with her handwritten inscription below. “To my darling Mike, We’ve only just begun. Love, Joanie”

On the opposite side was the identical picture, but through the miracle of Photoshop, Joanie had digitally aged us fifty years. My hair was silver and thinning, but at least she gave me hair. I was thirty pounds heavier, and my face was lined with crags and crevices.

Joanie was even harder on herself, thickening out her middle, bluing her beautiful strawberry blonde hair and adding liberal amounts of wrinkles and liver spots to her glowing skin. But she didn’t change her eyes. There were crow’s feet on the outside, but inside they were still the color I told her was Cavu Blue. My father flies a Piper Warrior on the weekends, and CAVU is pilot talk for a sky that has Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited. To me nothing is bluer.

“I resent the fact that you think I can’t function without Rosa cleaning up after me,” I said to the left side of the frame. “For your information, I was recently honored by Good Housekeeping as one of the only men on the planet who have actually mastered the art of picking up his own dirty socks and underwear. And you thought I couldn’t live without you.”

Andre paddled in. Andre, just for the record, is a 6-year-old black Standard French Poodle. Not the kind of dog you’d expect to be living with a cop. But this dog has instincts like Sherlock Holmes and better communication skills than a kennel full of movie Lassies.

He cocked his big curly head, and gave me his most serious man-to-man look, which I clearly understood to say, “Hey, Lomax, I heard you talking, and now I see that it’s just you and the picture of your dead wife. I’m starting to worry about you, pal.”

I half-put the frame back down on the dressing table, then pulled it back to my lips, pressed my face to the glass and finally, set it back down. Andre, realizing that this was a private moment, and that there was nothing edible in it for him, toddled off back to the living room.

The phone rang. It was my partner, Terry Biggs.

“Hey, Mike, we got a live one.” A live one was Terry’s standard lame joke for a homicide victim.

“Ask me if the vic was a man or a woman,” he said. Terry is a wannabe stand-up comic, but he’s never sure he’s going to get the straight line, so he helps you serve it up to him. I was in no mood to resist.

“Okay, Terry, who bought it? A man or a woman?”

“A rabbit,” he answered, hoping to get a bigger reaction from me than I was capable of giving. “Actually a guy in a Rambo Rabbit suit. It happened out at Lamaar’s Familyland.”

“Familyland?” I said. “Is no place sacred?”

“I guess the scumbags are branching out. More work for you and me,” Terry said. “I’ll pick you up in 15.”

I hung up. The letter was still in my other hand. There was a wooden box on top of Joanie’s dressing table. I had found it gift wrapped at the bottom of my shirt drawer a few days after the funeral.

A brass plaque on top was engraved “Mike and Joan… till death us do part.” That’s where I found the letter. I put number 6 back in the box. There were still three more to be opened.

I picked up my gun and my shield and had one more go at the picture. “This is not easy reading, Joanie,” I said. “Don’t be surprised if I come home tonight and flush all these fucking letters down the toilet.”

“Don’t be an asshole,” said the annoying little voice inside my head who hasn’t paid a day’s rent in 42 years.

What People are Saying About This

James Patterson

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.

Customer Reviews

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Rabbit Factory (Lomax and Biggs Series #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 74 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I gave The Rabbit Factory my highest compliment I turned off a Red Sox game to read. There are a few must-have mysteries on my reading list ¿ John Sandford's Lucas Davenport series, Jeffrey Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series, Ridley Pearson's Lou Boldt series. Lomax and Biggs are great, and I'm looking forward to their next case. There's a new must-have on my list: the next Marshall Karp book.
TWTaz More than 1 year ago
Perfect blend of mystery and humor with fantastic characters. Read this book and you will not be disappointed. Then go out and buy Blood Thirsty. I am anxiously awaiting Marshall Karp's next Lomax & Biggs case!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I bought it one day and never thought too much about it, until I picked it up one day last week and couldn't put it down. I highly reccomend this book to anyone who likes murder mysteries!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a kid of the 1950s,I'd look forward to the Saturday morning westerns and serials-Not since then have I looked forward to such a great story--Written with sensitivity to make you laugh and cry and yearn for more--The saddest part of this book was that it ended--the shortest 600 pages I've ever read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so good, you should buy the hardcover edition. Stop reading this review and order it. And get his second one, Blood Thirsty, too. You'll never regret it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent book. I took it with me for my week long trip scuba diving in Key Largo. Needless to say I wasn't sure which I wanted to do more, read or scuba dive. An excellent book that you don't want to put down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was fantastic. An addictive novel that entertains until the last page. It's the perfect mix of a murder mystery and a comedy. How this book hasn't become a permanent fixture on the bestseller list is a mystery to me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Watch out James Patterson. You coached him well. At the same time both exciting and very funny, twisting and turning to the end. What a breath of fresh air. Let's hope we see more!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was a little overwhelmed by the number of pages in this book. Once I started reading, I could not put it down. I finished it in three days. Some parts made me laugh out loud. Wonderful author!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am just over 400 pages into this new novel, but I am going to quickly write this and get back to it. All I can say is that it is one of those books that makes you wake up at 3AM because you just have to find out what happens next! I am thoroughly enjoying this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I lost a day and a half of a lovely holiday weekend, glued to the sofa reading this novel. A page-turner, if I've ever read one. There are a host of delightful characters: everyone who shows up on the scene -- no matter how briefly -- is deftly and amusingly drawn. The plot keeps turning: everytime I thought I knew where it was going, I didn't. As enjoyable as it is intriguing and suspenseful. A great read summer read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A friend sent me Rabbit Factory. Provocative, tantalizing and laugh out loud funny are words that rarely go together but they do for this book. Every time Karp softens you up with a laugh he does a quick shuffle and slips in a plot twist that makes you wonder how he can be so deft. My family (wife and two teens) are negotiating for who gets to read it next. It's that rare gem - devilishly clever, irresistibly funny and satisfyingly emotional.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Marshall Karp has written a clever,tongue in cheek detective story which introduces Lomax and Biggs, the wittiest detective team found in any novel. The story is fast-paced and fun I couldn't put it down until I finished.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was a bit daunted by 600 pages, but not to worry, each one was worth the time. If you like the humor of Mash, this is your book. Eagerly waiting for the next volume.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you're averse to detective novels and 'beach read' sounds a little too Gidget-y for your taste, this is a book for you. Lomax and Biggs are indeed seasoned detectives. And The Rabbit Factory is far from The Brothers Karamazov. But Marshall Karp has woven together a plot which speaks fluently a mutt dialect that's equal parts Elmore Leonard and Frank McCourt (just wait for that last chapter, folks). Hard-nosed with a sharp humor and a soft heart, this book is difficult to punch holes in. Let's just hope Det. Karp hasn't turned in his gun and badge just yet.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is so rare anymore that I find a book that captivates my immediate attention. Usually, if I am not engrossed within the first thirty pages or so, I give up. When I started reading this book, I was hooked by page two. Yes, it is a rather long book, but worth every single page! I wish it would have been longer because I just didn't want the story to end. The book shows a wide range of emotions among its well developed characters, ranging from absolute hilarity to intense sadness. It's quite unlike any suspenseful mystery I have ever read. It will definitely go on my list of all time favorites. If you are looking for a great beach/poolside read for this summer, gives this one a try.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Marshall Karp's The Rabbit Factory is a wonderful, witty new thriller. Biggs and Lomax are the best pair since Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This is a riveting yet tender book, with enough suspense and wry humor to keep you going right to the end. Great Father's Day gift!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a page turner. I was so engrossed in the story that I forgot about myself for a while. This would be a great summer read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Marshall Karp's new novel is funny, complex, mischievous, playful, sad and over 600 pages of just plain fun. A brilliantly constructed whodunit that makes you want many more murders, so the characters continue to entertain and fascinate us. Let's hope that this Rabbit multiplies, so that this writer produces many more opportunities for us to spend time with his detectives. Buy it. Read it. Enjoy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Rabbit Factory may well be a thriller, but it's unlike any thriller I've read recently. Well written with three-dimensional characters and laugh-out-loud funny, the Rabbit Factory is the most enjoyable book that I have read in ages. I literally could not put it down and tore through all 600+ pages in 2 days. Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs are 2 of the most enjoyable characters to be introduced to the genre since Jesse Stone. Real, flawed, and funny they draw you in not only to the case they are working on (a vendetta against a Disney-esque entertainment conglomerate) but into their lives as well. This debut novel from a Jim Patterson protege is a great summertime beach read that will keep you laughing, guessing and overall highly entertained.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished Marshall Karp's new novel, 'The Rabbit Factory'. It was one of the funniest and best books I've ever read. The only problem was, even at 600 pages, it wasn't long enough. I will anxiously await his next Lomax and Biggs novel. I hope he writes fast and gets it on the shelves soon.
cathyskye on LibraryThing 4 months ago
First Line: Eddie Elkins ambled down Fantasy Avenue.Rambunctious Rabbit, known as Rambo to his millions of fans, is an American icon and a theme park's biggest draw. When Eddie Elkins (the actor inside the rabbit suit) and two other theme park employees are murdered, Los Angeles Police Department detectives Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs must catch the killer before he can ruin an entertainment giant.Karp's writing is hilarious as he introduces Lomax and Biggs. Lomax is the narrator, which is fitting since he claims that generations of his family suffer from diarrhea of the mouth. Karp gives him a conversational style that made Lomax feel as though he were my new best friend. See how he describes his mother: "She was one of the top stuntwomen of her day and worked in over two hundred movies, five of them with John Wayne. Every now and then, Joanie and I would be watching an old video, and some woman would fall down a flight of stairs, jump off a bridge, or get hit by a truck, and I'd smile and proudly say, 'That's my Mom.'"At first-- courtesy of Lomax's snappy wisecracks-- it would be easy to assume the two detectives are a modern-day version of the Keystone Cops, but you know what happens when you assume, don't you? Lomax's sense of humor hides a lot of pain. His wife died six months ago, and each month he reads one of the letters she left for him. His father is trying to get him dating again, and Lomax's brother is in deep trouble.Once the first murder victim's background is revealed, the police waste precious time believing that it was a revenge crime, and it certainly doesn't help that Lamaar Studios' public relations people are trying to lock down all information about what's going on so the company shares won't take a hit on Wall Street. Events are fast-moving, however, and it doesn't take Lomax and Biggs long before they realize there's much more to this murder than first met the eye.The satiric humor continues throughout the book, but Karp never lets it overshadow the investigation, which has plenty of twists, turns, and surprises. Well before I was finished, I stopped to see how many books there are in this series. I love Karp's humor, his cast of characters, and his devious plots. I want Lomax and Biggs to continue investigating crime for a good long time.
bribre01 on LibraryThing 4 months ago
Could use a bit of trimming, but a good book, with many different sub-stories to keep you interested. Off the beaten path of your typical crime novel. Lovable main characters and intriguing plot keep you reading.
FMRox on LibraryThing 4 months ago
LA Detectives Terry Biggs and Mike Lomax investigate a series of murders surrounding the world famous Lamar Corporation.This is my first foray into a Karp novel. I love the humor and fast pace. The characters work well together and he has left enough mystery to carry into several other series. The plot is easy to follow but very entertaining.
reannon on LibraryThing 4 months ago
I did not like the way this book started, and almost abandoned it. That would have been a great mistake. Great characters, and an amazing plot.Don't know if Marshall Karp is related to Larry Karp, but if so, that family has great writing genes.