LAPD Detective Terry Biggs can be forgiven for not being overly enthusiastic about the prospect of locking up the killer he and partner Detective Mike Lomax find themselves tracking in Cut, Paste, Kill, the fourth entry in author Marshall Karp’s consistently excellent Lomax & Biggs series.
After all, the victim at the crime scene they respond to at the book’s opening turns out to be a woman who recently caused a crash while driving drunk that killed a child. But since she was the wife of a foreign diplomat she walked away from the accident without facing any charges because of her husband’s diplomatic immunity.
To remove any doubt as to why she was murdered, the killer leaves an elaborate scrapbook at the scene chronicling coverage of the accident, as well as the devastating impact it had on the family.
Lomax & Biggs soon learn that it wasn’t the first such scrapbook to show up at a murder scene when the F.B.I. informs them that there have been two other “scrapbook murders.” In both prior cases the victims had also escaped any punishment for crimes they had committed.
During the course of the investigation they get a tip from a prison informant which seems to point the way to the killer, as well as reveals that the killer is working from a list, and from there it’s a race for Special Agent Simone Trotter, Lomax and Biggs to find the vigilante scrapbook killer before they can add more victims to their collection. And just when everyone thinks they’ve got it all figured out, Karp serves up a wicked swerve that keeps both the reader and the investigators guessing right up to the very end.
Special Agent Trotter’s introduction to the mix allows for some marvelous exchanges between her and the “always on” humor of Biggs: “You sound like a man who knows a few things about women.” “Agent Trotter, I’ve been married four times, which means that I really don’t know shit about women.” The other major new player in Cut, Paste, Kill, Sophie, the wonderfully precocious 7 year old daughter of a friend, ends up with all concerned wrapped around finger.
Blending edge of your seat mystery and laugh-out-loud humor in such a way that neither steps on the other’s toes is not easy, yet once again Karp proves himself a master of that delicate operation in Cut, Paste, Kill. So what are you waiting for? Buy, Read, Enjoy!
Cut, Paste, Kill is available from St. Martin’s Griffin (ISBN: 978-0312378240).
Special Note: Even though the author was kind enough to include me as a character in Cut, Paste, Kill, that had no impact on my review.