Terminal (Lomax and Biggs #5), by Marshall Karp

Eight stars

The binge of Marshall Karp’s LAPD police procedural series is back! I remain dedicated to the books, enthralled by the characters, and eager to see how Lomax and Biggs will solve their latest case. Karp has kept things edgy and allows readers little time to catch their collective breath, as there is so much to digest in this latest piece. Building on earlier story arcs and adding some new ones, the series takes off once more, keeping readers highly entertained.

During a routine medical follow-up, LAPD Detective Mike Lomax is shocked when gunfire erupts in the facility. Following the sound, Lomax comes upon a gunman who’s killed one of LA’s most prominent fertility doctors. No amount of cajoling can help the gunman, who soon turns the weapon on himself, in front of Lomax. After some preliminary investigation, Lomax is baffled, learning that there was absolutely no connection between the victim and the shooter.

When Lomax and his partner, Detective Terry Biggs, are asked to look into a routine traffic accident that led to a fatality, they are baffled once more. What looks to be a routine case of a pedestrian not paying attention and a hapless driver striking him soon turns into a murderous affair. Again, the victim and driver do not seem to have any connection. However, there is an odd connection between both crimes that Lomax attended; the killers were both terminally ill and attended them same support group.

While Lomax and Biggs begin probing into the support group, they find a common thread. These members are being recruited to serve as hitmen, targeting a select group. Not only that, there appears to be a connection to a large pharmaceutical group who has been putting out a tainted drug, one that has been killing many.

While the case races towards the finish, Detective Lomax struggles with his own health issues as he is faced with a daunting task. He can only think back to how he lost his wife a few years ago and wonders if he wants to put his family through the same. A major development on the home front has Lomax doubly worried and in a state of tension, hoping that he can stand up to protect those he loves. Marshall Karp has done a fabulous job with this piece, spinning stories and adding depth to the overall plot. One can hope there will be another case to come, though I know Karp keeps busy with many other projects.

Marshall Karp keeps finding stories to impress readers while tackling murder outside the box. The flow to the narrative makes reading the books easy and a handful of relatable characters keeps the reader wanting to come back for more. Mike Lomax has been a central figure throughout, allowing the reader to see his growth, as well as the daily struggles that burden him. While I have binge read all five books in just over a week, I have come away with something strong and feel fully a part of the series, as well as many who grace the pages of each chapter. A book filled its humour to offset some of the darker moments, this is one series that is perfect for those seeking something light and yet impactful.

Kudos, Mr. Karp, for another great novel. I hope you have more to come when time permits.

Cut, Paste, Kill (Lomax and Biggs #4), by Marshall Karp

Eight stars

The binge of Marshall Karp’s LAPD police procedural series trudges on! I remain impressed with all it has to offer and can only hope others will take a look at these books. Karp offers up some great mystery reading and decent cases, enveloped in dry wit, realistic banter, and wonderful pacing. Perfect for a little light reading, which always helps me between deeper and more brain-twisting stories.

After socialite Eleanor Bellingham-Crump turns up murdered in a hotel bathroom, LAPD Detectives Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs must take the case. The victim, responsible for the death of a young boy, has dodged any criminal changes as she claims diplomatic immunity. Not only was Bellingham-Crump found with a pair os scissors in her side, but there is a detailed scrapbook exploring the specifics of her crime at the scene.

When other victims turns up with the same clues—scissors and scrapbooks—Lomax and Biggs realise that there is a serial killer out there with a penchant for detail and lurid crime fighting, seeking to punish those who did not face justice for the crimes they committed. Working the scrapbooking angle, Lomax and Biggs learn of a covert purchaser who might be the best lead they have.

As the case reaches its zenith, the detectives think that they have something with which they can work, only to have a twist tossed into the middle of everything. There’s something that does not add up here and neither Lomax nor Biggs are ready to admit defeat. With some great personal drama befalling Lomax as well, this case could be a distraction from another case he must solve; how to add to his family at home. Karp does well building the drama and tension in this one, another winner for this series.

Marshall Karp keeps finding new ways to impress the reader with a unique take on murder cases. There is a definite flow to the narrative and a wonderful building up of character development, with Mike Lomax in the middle of it all. There is a great deal of personal growth for the senior LAPD detective in this book, as well as some thinking back to what was and what could be for his family. Decent secondary characters keep there story lively and offer banter to cut the tension throughout. A great novel that is as light as it is humourous, Marshall Karp has found the recipe for success and kept me flipping pages until the final reveal.

Kudos, Mr. Karp, for another great novel that left me highly impressed.

Flipping Out (Lomax and Biggs #3), by Marshall Karp

Eight stars

Continuing my binge of Marshall Karp’s LAPD police procedural series, I continue to be impressed with the books and how easy they are to digest. Karp provides the reader with a solid foundation and uses key events to push the story along. With well-developed characters and wonderful banter, Karp offers the reader something well worth their time when needing something a little lighter.

There is no doubt that LAPD personnel keep busy schedules, leaving their families to wonder about them and bide their time. A number of LAPD wives decided not to wait idly by and created the LA Flippers, a group dedicated to buying houses, having them renovated, and selling the end results for massive profits. In the middle of it is Nora Bannister, a bestselling novelist who uses her abilities to create the ‘Houses to Die For” series. After each book launches, a house of similar description hits the market, leaving investors laughing all the way to the bank.

When one of the investors is found murdered, LAPD Detectives Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs are assigned the case, trying to find out who killed one of the larger police family. Digging into the victim’s life, some secrets turn up and leave more questions than answers. Could the Flippers be involved in something a little more nefarious?

As members of the LA Flippers are murdered, one by one, Lomax and Biggs up their investigative attention, trying to crack the case open, but come up short. Could it be an illegal worker with a vendetta? Someone who is not happy with the real estate market? Or perhaps someone trying to target cops through their families? When Marilyn Biggs, Terry’s wife, becomes the next logical target, the protection detail is increased and the case takes on a life of its own. Lomax and Biggs will stop at nothing to stop a killer, while the brass and mayor’s office are calling for heads while the media hot potato is tossed around. If anyone can solve the case, it’s Lomax and Biggs, but they are surely running out of time. Karp does well with this one yet again, keeping the reader in the middle of a great crime thriller.

Marshall Karp continues to impress, offering up another great novel in the series. Karp provides a grounded narrative to direct the reader through the crimes and how the protagonists seek to solve them. Mike Lomax appears to be the central protagonist once more, leaving me to believe that this will not change for the next two novels in the collection. As before there are some strong secondary characters who advance the story or flavour the narrative with needed banter. As always things are not linear, providing the reader with some necessary plot twists to keep things moving in a forward direction. While not a ‘deep’ read,these are surely great novels to pass the time and I am eager to sink my teeth into the next piece.

Kudos, Mr. Karp, for another great novel that left me highly impressed.

Bloodthirsty (Lomax and Biggs #2), by Marshall Karp

Eight stars

After taking the recommendation to read some of Marshall Karp’s solo work, I reached for this series. Enjoying the first novel in the collection, I was happy to continue, hoping the intensity would remain. This is a great police procedural set on the streets of LA, with gritty detective work, off-colour humour, and a great flow from one event to another. Karp dazzles once more in this piece, adding depth to areas he did did not expound upon in the debut and opening new doors to even better writing.

No one ever said that Los Angeles was not a tough city, something that LAPD Detectives Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs know all too well. As these two bask in the fame that came their way during a previous murder investigation, there is talk of a movie or even a television series bearing their names. However, it is key not to let anything get to their heads.

After one of the industry’s most hated men does not appear for a Hollywood party, people begin talking. When Barry Gerber’s body is found dumped the following morning, Lomax and Biggs are astonished as to what’s happened to him. There is little time to ponder this, as the detectives must find the killer before things cool down too much. In a city when enemies are easier to find than one’s own shoelaces, the suspect list keeps growing by the hour. When Lomax and Biggs think that they might have a lead and the potential killer, he, too, turns up slain in the same odd manner. Now it’s clear that the killer is not only on the hunt, but has a motive.

As Lomax and Biggs delve even deeper, they come across a plot that chills them to the bone and proves to be far more sinister than simply killing one’s enemies. The problem is, there is no clear understanding as to who might be next on the killer’s list. A great follow-up novel in this series that will have readers flipping pages for as long as time permits. Marshall Karp keeps readers guessing until the very end once more.

Marshall Karp continues to dazzle with this series, offering up all the elements to a successful novel and laying the groundwork for a great series. Karp’s balanced narrative guides the reader through the action from the outset, building on the characters of the two protagonists in both their professional and personal lives. Lomax remains in the limelight throughout, with his own personal struggles the highlight of non-crime discussions, but Terry Biggs is not free from some of his own analysis. Some decent secondary characters help to advance the story, offering clues related to the crime, or simply a means by which to inject some banter. Needed plot twists appear at various points and shape the larger story. I am still quite attached to the series and hope to keep the momentum going, as I reach for the next novel in the collection. Marshall Karp has done it again and I cannot get enough.

Kudos, Mr. Karp, for adding more grit and humour to what could be a dark subject matter.

The Rabbit Factory (Lomax and Biggs #1), by Marshall Karp

Eight stars

Having read a number of novels in which Marshall Karp is a collaborator, I thought I would take someone’s recommendation and try my hand at reading some of his solo work. A great police procedural series, full of strong detective work, dry wit, and wonderful pacing, Karp proves that he can easily stand on his own and entertain readers effectively. I am eager to continue my journey through the series, hoping that the rest of the books are as entertaining as this debut.

Familyland is the modern amusement park for all ages, part of Lamaar Studios. Growing from a small animation house, Lamaar Studios is now a massive entertainment collective, including movies, television, and especially a massive theme park. After one of the actors who portrayed the cornerstone character of the Studio is found murdered on park grounds, it’s time to call in the LAPD. While Detectives Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs are expecting something unique, nothing could prepare them when they found a massive Rambunctious Rabbit sprawled on the ground. While Lamaar Studios wants the case solved quickly, they are also keen to have the crime kept quiet, especially when it is discovered that the victim was a paedophile who fudged his records.

As Lomax and Biggs dig a little deeper, they learn that there is more to Lamaar Studios than meets the eye. This is solidified when a second employee is killed. It seems as though there has been a long-standing feud between some of the early members of the animation house, which could have everything come tumbling down if not handled properly. The killer gets bolder and soon kills again, with a demand that could put everyone in danger.

With a case like no other, Mike Lomax must also struggle to get his life in order. A recent widow with some unfinished business, Lomax tries to keep it together and prevent his slapstick partner from learning too much about life away from detective work. It will be a challenge, but Lomax has long been good at deflecting and keeping a work-home balance. A great series debut, showing that Marshall Karp has laid a wonderful foundation for a collection that is sure to garner many fans.

The key to a great detective story is to pull the reader in quickly and repeatedly throughout. Marshall Karp does this effectively in this debut, offering up a great set of crimes, strong characters, and a bit of dry humour to cut through some of the tension. Karp’s use of a strong narrative provides the reader with great guidance as they make their way through the novel’s many twists. Introducing the two protagonists early and often offers the reader a connection with those who are most important to the story. Mike Lomax is front and centre in this novel, which is a wonderful way to connect with the reader. I can only wonder if Terry Biggs will have added time in the limelight in subsequent books, but the personal side of the character offers a stronger connection and allows the reader to see the softer side, which may not be present in police procedurals. A handful of strong secondary characters also propel the story forward, offering the reader some lighter banter at times. Plot twists emerge throughout the book and help shape the larger story. This appears to be the longest and most intense of the series novels, perhaps Karp’s way of adding depth to his characters before offering up faster and more succinct crimes. Whatever it is, Karp proves not only that he has an handle solo writing, but that he is one author to keep on my radar, as I was fully committed from the opening pages.

Kudos, Mr. Karp, for this gritty police procedural that has me reaching for the next book.

NYPD Red 7: The Murder Sorority (NYPD Red #7), by Marshall Karp

Eight stars

Marshall Karp takes over sole writing responsibility on the NYPD Red series, after collaborating on the previous novels with James Patterson. With intensity being a key element of the series to date, Karp has large shoes to fill, but does so with ease, keeping things on par with past publications. A gripping set of crimes, great character development, and some humour where it matters most, Karp is sure to impress series fans and has me wanting to explore some of his other solo work.

After a highly-publicised trial rocks Manhattan, what follows creates utter havoc. The defendant is killed by a sniper’s bullet while on the courthouse steps and his brother is murdered across town a short time later. Enter NYPD Red, the team assigned to the highest-calibre cases in the city, where the most prominent have their worries handled by the likes of Detectives Zach Jordan and Kylie MacDonald. While these two are well-versed in homicide and how to handle people with kid gloves, nothing will prepare them for what they discover on this case.

It would appear that there is a group of trained assassins on the loose around New York, killing those who are on a secret list. The Kappa Omega Delta (Killers on Demand) troll the city and fulfil needed hits, while secreting themselves away from the eyes of the authorities. While Jordan and Macdonald begin looking into things, they are sidelined when a more personal shooting takes place. Detective MacDonald’s boyfriend is shot and left to bleed out, for no apparent reason. It’s may be a distraction but Red have honed their skills to not allow anything to derail them while on a case.

Chasing down the Killers on Demand will require astute abilities and a sense of commitment, though both detectives go through some significant personal roadblocks that they cannot ignore. Still, once the clues begin falling into place, it will be a race to the finish, to neutralise these killers before NYC becomes a city with blood flowing through the streets, at least more than usual. Karp does a masterful job steering this novel on his own, keeping series fans excited for what is to come.

Collaborations with James Patterson tend to be a mixed bag, which I have long said when reading a book with his name on the cover. Marshall Karp has done really well to elevate this series since its inception, gripping me and keeping the series at the top of my list. Karp has been great at using poignant topics to entertain his readers and has yet to run out of ideas for cases. If his own writing is as exciting as these collaborative efforts, I am in for a treat when I tackle one of Karp’s own series later this year. Stay tuned for that in the coming months.

The narrative flow of this series has long been one of its strongest attributes. I find the momentum of the writing is dictated by the clipped pace on offer. Karp builds on this throughout, keeping the reader attentive as they make their way through the novel. Strong characters with some decent development help add something for series fans to enjoy, as there are some key aspects discussed in this seventh novel. The plot twists and story arcs presented keep the reader engaged and ready to learn more, stopped only by the limitations of Karp’s ability to publish future pieces. I can only hope there is more to come soon, as this is one series well worth my time!

Kudos, Mr. Karp, for keeping this series going with another great novel!

Snowstorm in August, by Marshall Karp

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Marshall Karp, and Blackstone Publishing for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

While I have read a bunch of his collaborative work, this is the first time I have had the opportunity to see what Marshall Karp can do on his own. This piece is intense and full of great character development, making the experience one that I hope to repeat again soon. Touching on a number of pertinent issues with enough action to keep things moving, Karp shows that he has what it takes to stand on his own and impact the genre quite effectively.

A freak snowstorm in August is all New York City needs. When Central Park is transformed into a winter wonderland, many wonder if it is an environmental situation. However, as people begin to suffer the consequences of the falling flakes, it’s soon revealed that this ‘snow’ is actually uncut cocaine, falling from the sky. Thousands die or are seriously injured and someone will have to pay.

Trying to untangle it all is left at the feet of Danny Corcoran, whose time as a captain in the NYPD recently came to an abrupt halt. With a handful of other retired cops, Corcoran is being anonymously funded to get to the heart of the matter and solve it before anyone else gets hurt. It turns out that Joaquín Alboroto, a powerful drug load feared around the world, is responsible for the carnage and will stop at nothing to keep it going, as long as those who stand in his way refuse to bow down.

While Corcoran and his team work as many angles as possible, the truth behind Alboroto’s plan comes to fruition. It will take ruthless behaviour and strategic planning to bring the kingpin down, but Corcoran has nothing to lose. He’s ready for a fight and this is sure to be one that will only end when someone’s body is gathering dust on the ground. Karp’s intense thriller kept me hooked until the final page turn.

While I discovered the work of Marshall Karp reading the James Patterson NYPD Red series, I could tell that there was something there worth exploring. Karp is one of the few collaborators whose work I have never had issues reading and actually come to enjoy when I see publication dates approaching. His book had all the elements needed for a great thriller and added some grit to the mix, making it even better. A strong narrative and substantial character development kept me hoping for a great story, which came in time. I can only hope that there are more books in this vein for me to enjoy before too long.

Danny Corcoran proved to be an entertaining protagonist throughout the. reading journey. Not only does he have the gumption needed to be a great investigator, but the personal side of his life is on full offer. Corcoran offers an intuitive approach to the investigation and provides the reader with a great adventure throughout while also providing some emotional insight, both into a past with his wife, as well as with some familial issues that prove to be an interesting sub-plot. I would be interested in seeing more of Danny Corcoran, should the chance arise.

Marshal Karp is truly a talented author in his own regard. His writing is crisp and style is just what I would expect in this genre. A well-paced narrative offers the reader the necessary roadmap to successfully make their way through everything taking place, with a handful of strong characters to offer intrigue and keep things interesting. Short chapters propel the book forward and permit the reader to feel as though they could easily devour the book in a sitting or two. I am eager to see if this was a standalone or if Karp will be back with more Corcoran. It is sure to attract many readers, such as myself, who have never read any of Karp’s own books.

Kudos, Mr. Karp, for a great novel. Now that I know you can spin a formidable tale, I will be adding you to my radar.

Be sure to check for my review, first posted on Mystery and Suspense, as well as a number of other insightful comments by other reviewers.


NYPD Red 6, by James Patterson and Marshall Karp

Seven stars

James Patterson and Marshall Karp are back to look at how the elite of New York live and have their crimes investigated. In NYPD Red 6, the story looks at how a bride’s kidnapping at the reception turns into a hunt for a deranged man with an agenda all his own. The detectives on this elite squad do all they can and cut corners wherever possible to bring justice to those whose notoriety can be seen across the daily headlines. A story that gains momentum throughout, fans of Patterson can rest assured that this is not another of his flops, likely due to Karp’s collaboration. An intriguing piece in a supersaturated genre.

There’s nothing like a socialite wedding in New York to bring out the cameras. Erin Easton is well-known in the celebrity world and her marriage to a man with deep financial pockets has many wondering about her motives. However, when she is kidnapped while changing at the reception, all Erin leaves behind is a bloodied wedding dress on the floor.

NYPD Detective Kylie MacDonald is pulled into work mode immediately, having been invited to attend. When she brings her partner, Detective Zach Jordan, in to join her, they begin an intense hunt for Erin and whoever might be behind her abduction. With few leads to follow, it’s a waiting game, at least until videos begin emerging, with demands that they be broadcast live.

Meanwhile, Erin and her abductor are hidden away, safe from the prying eyes of any authorities. Things appear to be wrapped in some form of fantasy, where Erin would run away with her abductor and raise children together. This outlandish narrative may be the one things that helps Erin stay alive, as long as she can bide her time and not refuse any of his demands. Still, it will take an act of great courage for Erin to toss off her restraints and return to the man she claims to truly love.

As Detectives MacDonald and Jordan fight to make headway in the case, they are distracted by a second matter, involving EMTs entering the apartments of well-off New Yorkers, only to ransack them and leave bodies in their wake. As bad as this is, nothing can distract from the case at hand, which is broken wide open by a frantic call fro mother victim herself.

Rushing to locate her and make sense of what’s next, NYPD Red will have to act swiftly to instil calm in a city whose lifeblood is gossip and flashy headlines. All the while, the bodies are piling up and the truth remains elusive. That’s never stopped MacDonald and Jordan before. With a twist awaiting them, these NYPD detectives will have to stay vigilant.

It’s always nice to find a book that not only fills time between two larger reads, but is entertaining in its delivery. I have long bemoaned the ‘James Patterson Syndrome’, where books sell not for their content, but because of the name that fills the cover. Collaborators are left with their share of profits, but the quality goes down the tube. This book should not suffer this fate and Marshall Karp can rest assured that he has a winner on his hands. One of the decent series that James Patterson continues to help write, NYPD Red remains on point and a decent read for those whose interest has not yet waned with Patterson.

Detectives Kylie MacDonald and Zach Jordan remain the central characters in this book, delving a little more into their development, with a peppering of backstory. Their gritty determination is on point and they strive to solve the cases put before them, without letting their own lives muddy the waters. There is a sliver of personal story sandwiched into this piece, enough to show that they are real people and not solely dedicated to the job. Working effectively, both MacDonald and Jordan are able to find justice wherever it may be hiding and protect those they are tasked with serving.

There are a number of strong secondary characters throughout the piece, including the central victim, Erin Easton. Each plays their role well to keep the story on point and moving forward. The reader is able to see, albeit superficially, how the rich live and what their lifestyles mean to them. There is also an interesting perspective from the abductor’s point of view, as his flights of fancy and long-standing obsession spill into a form of reality that is only truly understood in the latter part of the novel.

It is usually quite difficult to gauge a Patterson novel’s impact until the very end. The stories are good, but the delivery is sometimes a little hokey or lighter when it comes to narrative style. This book did hold my attention throughout, though I did not receive the impactful piece I had hoped to find, after a significant hiatus from the series. That being said, things flowed well and the narrative pushed things along fairly effectively. Patterson’s short chapter signature is on display here, pushing the reader to move forward just to see what awaits them. Marshall Karp surely helped shape this into a decent read, as he has done in the past with this series. Where things are headed next, I have no idea, but I am still interested to see what MacDonald and Jordan have to discover.

Kudos, Messrs. Patterson and Karp, for a decent police procedural. While I used this as a bridge between two larger reads, I am pleased to have taken the time.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Red Alert (NYPD Red #5), by James Patterson and Marshall Karp

Eight stars

Working to continue their successful series, James Patterson and Marshall Karp return with a fifth novel in the NYPD Red series. The premise of NYPD Red is to protect or investigate the city’s most elite, offering a protective barrier from the masses. Detectives Zach Jordan and Kylie MacDonald are well versed with the job and have seen almost everything the city has to offer. While serving as part of the mayor’s security detail, Jordan and MacDonald witness a bomb explode at a fundraiser, killing one man and sending shrapnel all over. Working with few leads and at a significant disadvantage, Jordan and MacDonald try to find answers where none exist. As they are headed home, awaiting some of the evidence to be processed, the detectives are called to the scene of another potential crime. A high-profile New Yorker known for her kinky sexual interests may have died during auto-erotic asphyxiation, though there are a few indications that the safety measures were not in place and she was murdered. Dog-tired and unable to piece anything together, Jordan and MacDonald agree to meet after a few hours’ rest, when they can think straight. Upon returning somewhat rejuvenated, they learn that wiring at the scene is the trademark of a well-known Aussie bomber who has been locked away in a Thai prison for over a decade. Soon another bomb explodes and all hell breaks loose. While Jordan and MacDonald try to make sense of it all, their ‘sensual’ case gains legs when a video surfaces involving the victim and a respected judge with a request for blackmail money. The judge seems not to care, proud that he’s been caught on tape but NYPD Red cannot let this go without some action. A bumbling attempt to pay the random and trap the killer goes wrong, but there is little time to waste, as a new lead sends Jordan and MacDonald to the other side of the world for some interviews they never thought possible. With two key crimes on their plate and the mayor screaming for closure on both cases, NYPD Red will so whatever it takes to up their solve rate, even if it costs them their jobs. Patterson and Karp are brilliant in their delivery and series fans will surely love this story that does not let up until the final page.

I have long been a fan of the series and feel this is one that Patterson has done well over the last few years. The delivery is both succinct and detailed at the same time, keeping the reader engaged and guessing as the cases unfold. As always our protagonist detectives offer up their witty repartee while also finding themselves in the middle of some personal development. The platonic and sexual tension builds throughout and keeps the reader wondering if something will happen and both sides will finally acknowledge what has been brewing for so long (and was in place for a while). The secondary characters keep the crimes charged and permit the reader to see the cases develop in unique ways, allowing the story to ebb and flow as needed. Newer crimes and unique presentations keep the story from going stale. Patterson’s trademark short chapters allows the reader to push through this piece in short order, keeping them entertained without being too fanciful. Karp does well in the collaboration and the reader can surely hope for more in the coming years by these two, who have a wonderful series that continues to gain momentum.

Kudos, Messrs. Patterson and Karp, for another great addition to the series. I hope to see more in the series soon, which seemed to take a hiatus for a while.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons