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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Review: Cut, Paste, Kill

Cut, Paste, Kill: A Lomax & Biggs MysteryTitle: Cut, Paste, Kill
Author: Marshall Karp
Page Count: 304 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: crime comedy, murder mystery
Copy for review was purchased by me

50 words or less: It takes a special sort of person to appreciate a scrapbooking serial killer targeting society's bottom feeders, a spec script about long haul trucker vigilantes, and a pair of cats deciding the fate of the wicked, but I feel like I'm up to the task.

Lomax and Biggs are back! In this, the most recent installment involving the wisecracking detectives from LAPD Homicide, we're all forced to confront a kind of unpleasant reality: if a total scumbag gets murdered, does anyone care?  What if you're the person whose job it is to solve the murder and arrest the killer?

The ball gets rolling with the murder of Eleanor Bellingham-Crump, wife of an English diplomat who should have thanked every power that exists for diplomatic immunity, as that's the only thing that saved her from being roasted as she, while roasted, passed a school bus in her car and struck and killed a ten year old boy.  The murder weapon- super sharp scrapbooking scissors- and the incredibly detailed scrapbook detailing every facet of Mrs. Bellingham-Crump's lurid crime that are left at the scene illustrate to everyone involved that a serial killer is on the loose, targeting....murderers.  Lomax and Biggs struggle with having to solve the murders and do so with the understanding that not everyone is going to think the guilty party did anything wrong.

Don't get me wrong- the book isn't glorifying violence as a way to solve problems, nor is it saying that vigilantism is an acceptable way to deal with things that you think should have turned out differently.  The way the identity of the killer is handled makes everything fit, if that makes sense, in a way that doesn't glorify what's happening but doesn't shy away from pointing out that bad guys get away with an awful lot most of the time.

There are other new elements that come into play as well- Detective Lomax and his getting more serious by the minute girlfriend Diana take in Sophie, the daughter of one of the other nurses Diana works with at the hospital, while the mother has to go to China to be with her mother who's passing away.  This shines some light on the issue of kids in their relationship, as one of the unhealed wounds that Lomax still carries from his marriage is his and Joanie's inability to have to children and how the medical followup from that is what uncovered the cancer that ultimately took her life.  There are a lot of emotional scenes and conversations in this book that illustrate that the relationships between the characters get as much detail and attention as the comedy or the murder mystery.

I will say though, that my favorite side plot in this book definitely involved the movie script that was the product of the creative collaboration between...wait for it..Terry Biggs and Big Jim, Mike Lomax's father.  Entitled Semi Justice, it's about long haul truckers who solve crime and if it were ever a real movie, I would go see it. Enough said.

Anyway, this was another excellent offering from one of my favorite authors.  If you're looking for an excellent series of books that make you laugh and hold your interest, then you don't need to look any further than this.

Overall Grade: A

1 comment:

Kulsuma said...

Ah this seems like a gripping book and I think it would be a gripping movie. On one hand justice is being served but on the other, is it the wrong way to go about it.

Great, detailed review!

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