by Marshall Karp
Flipping houses takes on a whole new meaning in this, the third Lomax and Biggs mystery from Marshall Karp (Cut, Paste, Kill; The Rabbit Factory). Karp is a playwright and screen writer who makes good use of his background. The Flipping Out plot centers on several poker-playing Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detectives, their spouses and a mystery writer with more nerve than a bad tooth. This is a wild and crazy tale comprised of standup comedy lines and relationship banter set inside the Home and Garden TV premise that a profit can be made from fixing up houses and selling them quickly. Real world flipping activities have been seriously curtailed by the current economic slump but this is not – fortunately for the reader – the real world.
The spin on the basic concept employed by the mystery writer, who happens to be the mother-in-law of one of the detectives, gets around the real estate slump by adding an only in LA feature. The house being flipped is the setting of a murder – in one of her novels! The open house staging is complete with an outline of the body, crime scene tape and a story-board in each room describing the action in the book.
Although the body count adds up quickly, there’s nothing at all scary about Flipping Out; rather, Karp indulges himself by reeling in his reader through many layers of plot and a teaser crime solution part way through the story.
Who knew that LA Homicide duty could be so funny? A unique and enjoyable read!
Review by Ruta Arellano. A review copy was provided by Minotaur Books.