The Rabbit Factory: A Novel by Marshall KarpThe Rabbit Factory: A Novel by Marshall Karp

The Rabbit Factory: A Novel

byMarshall Karp

Paperback | May 15, 2007

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When the actor playing Rambunctious Rabbit – the mascot of Lamaar Studio’s Familyland theme park – is brutally murdered on park grounds, LAPD detectives Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs are brought in to investigate. Asked to keep the investigation under wraps in order to protect Lamaar’s idyllic image, Lomax and Biggs face a dilemma when a second – and then a third – brutal murder takes place and they uncover a conspiracy to destroy one of the country’s largest entertainment conglomerates. Written in sharp, comedic prose, The Rabbit Factory introduces a fresh set of cops to the mystery genre.
Marshall Karp’s writing career has spanned a wide range of fields, from advertising and marketing to writing for television, screen, and stage. He is the author of the play Squabbles and the screenwriter for the 2000 film Just Looking. The Rabbit Factory is his first novel.
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Title:The Rabbit Factory: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:592 pages, 8.25 × 5.55 × 1.29 inPublished:May 15, 2007Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385664109

ISBN - 13:9780385664103

Reviews

Read from the Book

I.Killing RamboChapter 1Eddie Elkins ambled down Fantasy Avenue. A light breeze penetrated his costume, and he felt relatively cool inside the furry white rabbit suit.Of course, these were the balmy days of April. July and August would be unbearable, but for Eddie, it would be a small price to pay. Six weeks ago he had lied, cheated, and bribed his way into the best job in the world. And now, he was Rambo. Rambunctious Rabbit, the most famous character Dean Lamaar ever created. The acknowledged superstar at Lamaar’s Familyland.Eddie waved at the kids as he wandered through the sprawling theme park. Occasionally some wiseass teenager would give him the finger, but for the most part kids loved him. And Eddie loved kids. In fact, he loved them so much that he was mandated by Megan’s Law to register with the Los Angeles police, so they could notify people in his community that he had moved into their neighborhood.But he hadn’t registered. Not this time. He had complied with the law when he lived in Boston. But the Irish bastard across the street keyed Eddie’s car, slashed his tires, and put dog shit in his mailbox. Eddie tried to explain that there’s a big difference between high-risk offenders who are violent and regular guys like Eddie, who would never hurt anyone, but the guy wouldn’t listen. Then one day Eddie made the mistake of saying hello to the man’s ten-year-old son. That night two bullets came flying through his bedroom window. Eddie moved to Rhode Island and registered with the Woonsocket police. Life was better there. Nobody wanted to kill him, but nobody wanted to hire him either. Not for the kind of jobs Eddie wanted. He finally got work as a clerk in a paintball supply store, where he had plenty of time to think about his life.He was born Edward Warren Ellison in Trenton, New Jersey, majored in English Lit at Rutgers, was never any good at sports and was never really comfortable with women, although he had had sex with four of them. People said he looked like Buddy Holly, or at least what Buddy would have looked like at age thirty-six, if not for that plane crash. Eddie even wore the black horn-rimmed glasses to heighten the effect.He tried real hard to break his pattern with the kids, especially after the first conviction. He had a smart therapist, but stopping wasn’t as easy as the shrinks make it sound. He didn’t want to hurt the children, but fondling wasn’t hurting. After three months in Rhode Island, he decided it would be easier to find a better job in a big city. Especially if he didn’t register.He moved to Los Angeles. Getting a new name and new identity cards were easier than he thought. Other men like him had done it and there was the New Beginnings Network on the Web. His closest confidant, whom he e-mailed almost every day, was Vandy333.Vandy was divorced with two kids of his own and had been a school principal in Tennessee for twelve years. “Changing my identity made all the difference,” Vandy had told him.So Eddie Ellison became Eddie Elkins. He found a nice clean place to live and set up his new persona just the way New Beginnings instructed him. Finally came his big break. They told him about Caleo.Anthony Caleo was a scumbag, but he was a great guy to know. He worked in Human Resources at Familyland. His job was to verify the résumés of people applying for jobs. Caleo didn’t care about New Beginnings. He only cared about what was in it for Caleo. He charged Eddie six thousand bucks.For that he cleared Eddie’s bogus résumé and prepped him on how to handle the one-on-one interview with Marjorie MacBride. And that’s how Eddie landed the job of his dreams.His first day at work he reported to the Wardrobe Department. One of the Dressers, a chatty little Mexican woman whose name tag said Provi, helped him into the furry white Rambunctious Rabbit costume, with its distinctive red, white, and blue denim overalls. Provi was prattling on, but Elkins’s mind and heart were racing too loud and fast for him to hear.He couldn’t believe it. He was Rambunctious Fucking Rabbit. More recognizable than The President of the United States. Maybe even The Pope. Children would literally flock to him. How many guys did he know who would trade their left nut for this gig?“Elkins?” He looked up, as Provi’s thick-toothed black comb raked over his hairy white rabbit arms. The speaker, standing ten feet away, was Danny DeVito tall with an Arnold Schwarzenegger chest. His face and close-cropped gray hair had the wear and tear of a fifty-year-old. But the body, in black nylon warm-up pants and a tight black tank top, had the muscle tone of a college wrestler. “I’m Dante, your Character Coach,” he said. “Let’s see what kind of a rabbit you are. Don’t put the head on yet. Just let me see you walk over here.”Provi gave the suit one final fluff and stood back. Elkins inhaled, took one bold step forward and immediately hooked the front edge of one giant rabbit’s foot to the back of the other. Gravity took over and down he went, floppy ears over cotton tail, onto the rubber-matted floor. Provi let out a loud aye-aye-aye.“That’s why you don’t put the head on yet,” Dante said, helping him up. “Don’t want you to break it.”“But it’s okay if I break my own head? Why didn’t you warn me?”“You learn faster this way,” Dante said. “What size shoes do you wear?”“Ten and a half.”“Well now you’re wearing size twenty-four rabbit’s feet and eighteen pounds of fur. Why don’t you try it again?” Dante said, stepping to the other side of the room.Elkins hobbled his way toward Dante and made it to the other side without falling. “How’s that?” he asked.“Fantastic,” Dante said, “if you were one of Jerry’s Kids. You gotta be animated. Bouncy, springy,” Dante said, bouncing and springing across the room. “Don’t worry. By the time I’m finished you’ll be dancing around the park like Rudolf Nureyev.”It took ten hours. “Tomorrow I’ll show you how to find your way around every inch of this park,” Dante said. “Then we’ll go over the rules for handling kids. There’s a right way and a wrong way, and you gotta be real careful. Don’t scare ’em, don’t drop ’em and don’t touch ’em in any wrong places.”They worked with dolls. Eddie had no problem not touching them in any wrong places. On the last day of training, Dante introduced him to a squat, moon-faced woman with a thick mane of bottled blonde hair, a dozen tiny gold earrings on each side of her head, and eyes that convinced Eddie there was nothing going on between the earrings. “This is Noreen Stubiak,” he said. “She’ll be your Keeper.”

Bookclub Guide

US1. Mike and Terry have very distinct personalities that mesh to make them an excellent duo. What aspects of the two characters make them work so well together? How would the story be different if Terry were narrating it?2. Are Joanie’s letters to Mike helpful or hurtful to his grieving process? Why do you think she left them? Why does he not open her last letter – is he just obeying her wishes or do you think there is another reason? Do you agree with his decision?3. Declan Brady is one of several murderers we meet who have moral qualms about their actions. Although they commit atrocious crimes, they exhibit a certain degree of compassion. Does their compassion make them at all sympathetic?4. Ike Rose doesn’t respond immediately to the terrorists’ demands, resulting in further destruction. Do you think he shares responsibility for the crimes that take place? Would you have handled the situation differently? If so, how?5. To help his brother Frankie, Mike is forced to bargain on the wrong side of the law. What do you think this says about Mike’s character? Under the circumstances, are his decisions morally acceptable?6. Mike got drunk and paid for sex with Coral C. the night his wife died. He continued the relationship with her for six months. What does that say about him as a man? As a husband? Did you accept his decision or did you see it as a flaw in his character? Or both?7. Is Mike a good role model for Hugo Cordner? Is he sincere? What could his other motivation(s) be for befriending Hugo?8. Aside from the two detectives, what characters are instrumental in solving the mystery? Is there a character that deserves more credit for breaking the case?9. Terry, Big Jim, Ike Rose, Penina Benjamin and Dean Lamaar’s father are just some of the characters whose actions as parents affect the course of the main narrative. Who are the positive and negative role models as parents? Do they all “mean well?” Did you see parenthood as an underlying theme of the novel?10. As you worked alongside Lomax and Biggs, at what point did you uncover the mystery of the Familyland murders? What significant clues tipped you off?

Editorial Reviews

“Totally original, a sheer roller coaster ride, packed with waves of humor and a dynamic duo in Lomax and Biggs. Karp shows a master’s touch in his debut.” —David Baldacci“Irrepressible and often poignant. . . . Like the best of Donald Westlake and Carl Hiaasen, The Rabbit Factory is deftly plotted and deliciously askew.” —Booklist (starred review)“A crisp mystery laced with humor, pathos, violence, and surprising humanity. . . . The thoroughly entertaining The Rabbit Factory is a pleasant discovery. Here’s hoping we hear from detectives Lomax and Biggs again.” —The Columbus Dispatch “The Rabbit Factory will touch your funny bone, and your heart.” —James Patterson