It’s a bloodthirsty town, Hollywood. No matter how popular you are, there’s always someone who d be happier if you were dead. And in some cases, you can be such a bastard, everyone would be happier if you were dead.
Barry Gerber, one of the most hated men in Hollywood, is a no-show for a red carpet event. The next morning he turns up dead, killed in such a bizarre way that neither Detectives Mike Lomax nor Terry Biggs nor anyone in Forensics has ever seen anything like it before. Two days later, the prime suspect – another despised show-business bad boy – is found murdered in the same sadistic manner.
The list of suspects then becomes as long as the credits in a summer blockbuster. Everyone hated the murdered men. Biggs jokes that this could be an elaborate public service effort to make Hollywood a better place to live and work. But he and Lomax soon find that all jokes are off as they wade through a daunting number of leads to uncover who will be the next victim. What they stumble upon is a motive far more primal than they had ever imagined.
I enjoyed Karp’s first book The Rabbit Factory a great deal. It had a genuine, fingersnapping energy and pace to it, and Bloodthirsty has a similar amount of wit, energy and pace but it was too knowing a book for me to really enjoy it. It carries the earnest craft of someone who has a vast amount of experience but does not say anything new or really does the work of connecting the reader with either protagonist or antagonist. Everyone talks in the same, arch tone and Karp hammers you over the head with the fact that it’s Hollywood and that the normal rules don’t apply.
It is a charming, fast read and an elegant story but it doesn’t grab you by the throat. Karp, however, does a great line in snappy retorts and Lomx-Briggs are an amusing double act, even if it’s more amusing than laugh out loud funny or more tough than visceral. It was a fine distraction and certainly a good way to pass a few hours.