BookBrowse Reviews The Rabbit Factory by Marshall Karp

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The Rabbit Factory

by Marshall Karp

The Rabbit Factory by Marshall Karp
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2006, 632 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2007, 550 pages

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Suspenseful and satiric; a taut mystery wrapped in sharp, comedic prose.

From the book jacket: Welcome to Familyland, an offshoot of Lamaar Studios. Once a small, Southern California animation house, it has grown into an entertainment conglomerate encompassing movies, television, music, video games, and a sprawling theme park. When an actor portraying Familyland's beloved mascot, Rambunctious Rabbit, is brutally murdered on park grounds, Lamaar executives are worried that the idyllic image of '50s America represented in Familyland will be shattered. They ask Mike Lomax and his partner Terry Biggs, the LAPD detectives assigned to solve the case, to keep the circumstances surrounding the death of their mascot quiet.

When a second Lamaar employee is killed, Lomax and Biggs uncover a conspiracy to destroy Familyland and settle an unknown vendetta. Still under pressure to keep the case away from the public eye, the detectives are met with a third murder – and an outrageous demand: Anyone who associates with Lamaar – employees, customers, anyone – will be killed.

Comment: The Rabbit Factory is a big, fun read leavened with just enough pathos to balance the humor. No doubt Marshall, who cut his teeth writing TV commercials (which are rarely longer than 60 seconds) could write a novel in less than 600 pages - but not when he's writing in the voice of Mike, the narrator and chief protagonist of The Rabbit Factory, who has a story to tell and is not going to be hurried while telling it - and what a story it is, replete with a large cast of lovable characters, a high body-count (but without any graphically violent scenes) and some well placed stabs at the ethical values of big corporations.

The opinions of the prepublication reviewers are mixed - Booklist and Publishers Weekly both give it starred reviews, Library Journal doesn't get it at all and Kirkus Reviews describes it as "a bloated piece of work, devoted more to the pleasure of reading than the offer of a dazzling denouement." Kirkus have a point in that in choosing to read The Rabbit Factory you're signing up for the journey as much as for the destination, but I would replace "bloated" with "easy-going and conversational"!

This review was originally published in June 2006, and has been updated for the March 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



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