First, it's a great Cop novel, a fresh green shoot on the tree originally planted by Joseph Wambaugh in The Choirboys, with which it shares its LAPD canvas. Karp works diligently to establish his characters - Detectives Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs - and to build their partnership. Their camaraderie and witty cop bad badinage gives a terrific book its conscience and soul and is an excellent foundation, hopefully, for more outings for the pair.
It's also a great comic novel. I suspect that the fact the story is based around a series of murders linked to a fictional theme park owned by a giant media house with its origins in animation - Familyland, where the iconic character is Rambunctious Rabbit - led to the comparisons with Carl Hiaasen, who has covered similar territory. But I'm not convinced by the comparisons. True, they are both very funny, but while Hiaasen's work may be rooted in Florida reality his books stray into territory that is borderline farce with out-and-out loons as central characters. Karp is more conventional; some of his people may be caricatures, but they are convincing nonetheless. His humour is based more on the witty one-liner and situational comedy rather than inhabiting Hiaasen's chaotic asylum.
Thirdly, the Rabbit Factory is a nicely-observed commentary on the modern morals (if that's the right word) of Hollywood. The characterisation is sharp and precise, and there's a lot to learn here about Tinsel Town.
Finally, it's a dazzlingly good mystery novel. At upwards of 600 pages and numerous stages of plot development there were any number of moments the Rabbit Factory could have gone off the rails and lost the slickness of the narrative and the attention of the reader. But it doesn't. This is partly because Karp is simply an incredibly engaging writer, breathing life into characters you'll be interested in, be they heroes or villains.
And the plot is just flat-out great. Incredibly clever, ingenious even, without being too-clever-for-its-own good, satisfyingly complex and sustained.
A thoroughly enjoyable book. A terrific first novel. A great talent.