A bloated piece of work, devoted more to the pleasure of reading than the offer of a dazzling dénouement.


A big, leisurely paced thriller, the first novel for playwright and screenwriter Karp, traces an insidious, insider terrorist attack on a Disney-like cartoon empire in L.A.

The Rambunctious Rabbit is the Mickey Mouse of creator Dean Lamaar’s vast, popular theme park, Familyland, and the seminal character to be attacked in an attempt to dismantle the animation network based in Costa Luna, Calif. The man strangled in the rabbit suit was in fact a convicted pedophile, leaving the two LAPD homicide detectives assigned to the case, Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs, scratching their heads at how the man got a job working with kids. The casualties pile up over the course of two weeks: A former Lamaar producer is whacked with a bat; a visitor to Familyland is stabbed in the public bathroom; a bomb is set off at a Dallas Burger King, which has developed promotional tie-ins with Lamaar. Who’s behind these scarily well-planned attacks aimed at humiliating Lamaar Studios, built up by the genius of now-deceased Dean Lamaar and four of his World War II army buddies—The Cartoon Corp? Protagonist Lomax is a 42-year-old widower, tough-talking but sensitive, and not quite ready to start dating despite the strong-arming of his father, Big Jim, a retired Teamster. In fact, Lomax is still wading sorrowfully through the letters his dead wife left him. During the course of the investigation, all kinds of intriguing subplots erupt, but it’s the history of Lamaar Studios that proves key, as the elder members of the Cartoon Corp. express resentment at the vulgar course the network has veered since Dean’s death, and the son of one of them, Danny Eeg, still simmers at what he considers unfair treatment of his father. Karp craftily engineers a statement on ethical values, both institutional and personal.

A bloated piece of work, devoted more to the pleasure of reading than the offer of a dazzling dénouement.

Pub Date: May 5, 2006

ISBN: 1-59692-174-9

Page Count: 632

Publisher: MacAdam/Cage

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2006

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...


Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.

Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-58321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

Did you like this book?