Title: Flipping Out
Author: Marshall Karp
Page Count: 304 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: crime comedy, murder myster
Copy for review was purchased by me
50 words or less: What do house flipping, crazy authors, illegal workers, and a vast conspiracy all have in common? Nobody knows, but LAPD Detectives Lomax and Biggs have really, really personal reasons for finding out.
Flipping Out is the third story involving my favorite detective duo, Lomax and Biggs, and while it's not my favorite offering of the ones available so far, it's still enjoyable.
The first, most noticeable difference between Flipping Out and its two predecessors is that Flipping Out is way shorter. This is both a good thing and a not so good thing- on the one hand, this book is just right for devouring in one sitting; on the other hand, there weren't really enough pages to fully explore everything that was going on in the book.
And there is certainly a lot going on in the book. We have the standard elements of a murder (which makes sense, since our main characters are homicide detectives) with some added flavor in the form of more information about the other detectives and officers that Lomax and Biggs work with every day as well as their families and what they get up to. In this case, a bunch of the guys' wives are working together in a house flipping venture with the caveat that each house is financed primarily by an incredibly popular author of murder mysteries and each house serves as the setting for the murder in the author's current book. The gimmick is a hit with the public and the houses go for ludicrous amounts of money. When a real murder takes place at the house that's almost ready to be revealed, it seems almost too perfectly planned- until it becomes clear that the women in the house flipping group are all being targeted by the same killer.
At this point, the story kind of takes a sharp turn. There's tremendous pressure on the officers to solve the crime, not only because it's so high profile, but because police officers' families are in jeopardy. Lomax and Biggs stumble on the solution to the whole situation almost by accident, and as a reader I didn't see the solution coming at all. It took me a little while to realize that I didn't see the solution coming because there were no indicators that that solution was even a possibility. It was a good reminder that murder mysteries in books are not like mysteries in real life; in real life we only know what we ourselves know and there isn't an aside to the audience to provide the crucial details in case we get lost. We have to figure things out for ourselves, if we can.
I think the out-of-left field resolution to the story would have worked better for me if the pacing of the novel had been a little more even. We spent a lot of time in the beginning of the book with the house flipping and the crazy author and the literary facet, and the ending kind of swooped out of nowhere and BAM the book was over. A little more expansion and description would have made this a top book for me; as it is it was still enjoyable but left me a little ragged at the end.
Overall Grade: B
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