Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cut, Paste, Kill

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started this experiment. To keep track of my readings for one year, sure. To entertain and inform others through my reviews, okay. Perhaps turn a few on to authors they may never have read before. Not to mention turning myself on to new authors.

I’ve read several books this year by authors I’ve never heard of, simply because I decided it was time to open my eyes and expand my boundaries. A few of them were by good authors, but the subject matter really didn’t thrill me and I’m unlikely to read more books by that author. Others have completely enthralled me and I am/will be eagerly hunting out their other works to read them as well.

I don’t quite remember where I heard about the author of this book (I really must start taking notes), but Marshall Karp has joined that exclusive roster of “My Favorite Authors.” Read on to find out why.

Cut, Paste, Kill by Marshall Karp

There are 33 million scrapbookers in America. Some are passionate. Some are compulsive. One is homicidal.

When Eleanor Bellingham-Crump—a socialite responsible for the death of a ten-year-old boy—turns up murdered on the bathroom floor of a Hollywood hotel, Lomax and Biggs are confronted with a crime of artistic brutality. Along with the scissors sticking out of Eleanor’s lifeless body, the two detectives find a meticulous scrapbook documenting a motive for vengeance in lurid detail.

As more bodies are discovered, each one connected by the intricate scrapbooks left at the murder scenes, Lomax and Biggs go on the hunt for a vigilante stalking unpunished criminals. They must race to decode the meaning behind the scrapbooks before the crafty avenger has time to cut and paste the story of another kill.

With laugh-out-loud humor and crackling dialogue, the chapters hurtle toward a killer finale in the most thrilling Lomax and Biggs adventure yet.
--Cut, Paste, Kill by Marshall Karp, Copyright ©2010 by Mesa Films, Inc. published by St. Martin’s Press

My Review

As you might gather from that last sentence, this is not the first book in the Lomax and Biggs series, but it is the first one I’ve read. I enjoy scrapbooking occasionally so the subject of a scrapbooking killer caught my attention. What held it was the incredibly hilarious writing. If you don’t find something to laugh about on nearly every other page, or at least once a chapter (they’re very short chapters), you need to get your funny bone checked.

Lomax and Biggs are called away from a family cook-out. A woman’s been stabbed at the Afton Gardens Hotel and they get to investigate. The cause of death is clear—a pair of scissors sticking out of her ribs. The scrapbook on the counter gives the reason for the murder—Mrs. Bellingham-Crump got away with murder nine months ago and someone decided she needed to pay. Now they just need to find that someone and they can return to their cook-out.

It’s not quite that easy, especially when the FBI informs them they have two similar cases—both death-by-scissors with scrapbooks left behind. As they investigate, they discover that the killer may have as many as 20 murders planned. Can they find out who the future victims are and warn them before they get in the way of another pair of scissors?

If you watch any of NBC’s Law and Order shows, usually in the opening scene the cops display a kind of gallows humor, making wise cracks over the body (“Better call his boss…that’s one pizza that won’t make it in under 30 minutes.”). This kind of humor is pervasive throughout the book.

”Excuse me, Detectives.” It was Kelly Jo Brownfield, one of the recent crop of uniforms assigned to our station.

“What’s up, Kelly Jo?” I said.

“There’s a really cute guy out at the front desk. He’s here to see you and Detective Biggs.”


“His name? Oh, damn. He told me, but I got distracted. Cory, Colby…”

“Does he look a little like Matt Damon?” I asked.

“Yeah. That’s what distracted me.”

“Is his name Cody Wade?”

“Yes,” she said. “God, you’re a good detective. What should I do?”

“Take him home and handcuff him to your bedpost till we’re ready for him,” Terry said.

“I wish,” she said.

Terry’s the wiseass, but Mike gets more than his fair share of jabs in. I’d put his best one in here, but there’s this secondary story line about Mike’s father deciding to go into the movie business and he needs a screenwriter and Terry jumps at the chance and they’re calling the movie…okay, that’s all I’m going to say. You’ll have to read it and dig out the great line for yourself (it’s in Chapter 27).

The story has a quick pace with lots of dialogue and very short chapters. I probably could have read this in one long afternoon sitting but actually took me closer to a week. I totally connected with Karp’s sense of humor and will be adding his other books to my reading list very soon.

I give this story THREE and a HALF STARS.

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