April 16, 2009

Marshall, Marshall, Marshall

Back in November of 2007, I wrote a little review of Marshall Karp's The Rabbit Factory. I talk about books a lot but I was more than a little shocked to get a six paragraph email from Mr. Karp that evening. Not only had Marshall read the review I'd come up with but he'd dug through my site, read my archives and he seemed to really like it. He offered me a copy of his second novel, Bloodthirsty which I gladly accepted and loved.

The funny thing was that wasn't the end of the story.

Marshall and I kept in touch. He sent me an advance copy of his third novel, Flipping Out. I told him what I thought. We talked about books, his life in advertising, my life in whatever the hell it is I do, having kids (he's a dad too), mid-life career changes and crises, marriage, dogs, death, taxes, pretty-boy writers and why I don't like phones.

Then Marshall made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Using my words, he told me it's up to you, watermelon. That's how I came to redesign his website. Even Beth got in on the action.

Since that November day - and despite the fact that I hate communicating by phone and Marshall dislikes email - Marshall has become a true friend of mine and my family. Mia is madly in love with Marshall's dog Jett. She occasionally drags us to a pet store so we can find new toys to send to Jett. Marshall shoots video of Jett playing with the toys. This makes Mia literally squee with delight. And Marshall didn't think it at all strange when he received Mia's picture of - her words - Marshall pretending to be a clam. Marshall sent us an Easter basket bigger than my daughter, Christmas presents for my kids. Marshall urges me to write, inspires me to be a little more creative than I'm able to in my day job, makes me laugh and, hell, he's just a good guy. Mia is so enamored, she likes to get in on the website action. She sits in front of my computer pretending to work.

Me: What are you doing?
Mia: Oh, I'm working on Marshall's website.
Me: Really?
Mia: Yes. There's a piece that's broken and I'm going to fix it.

I mention this not to gloat in a guess who I know kinda way. Instead, I want to make sure that everyone knows just how fantastic Marshall Karp is. He's a great writer, a fantastic character and a hell of a friend. And isn't the internetwebosphere just a fucking cool place? How else would I ever have had the chance to meet Marshall?

I realize that by this very post I show off my bias. But each and every one of you should run out and pick up copies of Marshall's books. Because he's one of the good guys. And the good guys - like Marshall's detectives Lomax and Biggs - should always win.

Open up the comments today, drop me a line, and I'll pick one random commenter to receive an autographed copy of Flipping Out. Then you too can tell the world just how fantastic Marshall is.

Posted by Chris at April 16, 2009 7:34 AM


Mebbe it's just me, but all your text, save the first paragraph of today, is, *gasp!* in italics.


Otherwise, yes, I shall go get Marshallized asap.


Posted by: Julia at April 16, 2009 7:40 AM

If I send you pictures and emails all day can I have the book???????


Posted by: jessica at April 16, 2009 7:48 AM

My life has been enriched TREMENDOUSLY from friends and acquaintances met on the internet....it's all kinds of awesome.

Due to these random connections, I have tried foods, wine, clothes, movies, books and even visited whole Cities that I otherwise would NEVER have gotten to.

So every time someone blathers on to me about how impersonal and disconnected new technology makes the world....I silently smirk because my reality, thank god, has been anything BUT that!

Have a good day Chris and (in case you're reading too) Marshall!

Posted by: wn at April 16, 2009 7:55 AM

I have followed up on several of your book recommendations and always enjoy whatever book it was, we have very similar tastes in reading. So when you first mentioned The Rabbit Factory, I ran right out (ok so actually opened a new tab for amazon.com and ordered it) right then and promptly read it. AND LOVED IT! So then I immediately ordered Bloodthirsty, which I sadly have not read yet but it is next on my to read pile. And I bought Flipping Out this past weekend when I saw it at B&N! So I see a Marshall Karp weekend in my future!
Thanks for expanding my book horizons beyond my usual Patterson, Koontz and Evanovich!

Posted by: Lisa at April 16, 2009 8:12 AM

Loved the title of this post. Good for you, for doing this work for Marshall. I think that's great!

Posted by: Maribeth at April 16, 2009 8:14 AM

My library is slowly drying up, I will check out some of his stuff.

Posted by: Jeff A at April 16, 2009 8:16 AM

I don't think you're bragging at all. It just goes to show you the power of this internet thing and how it lets us find friendships where we never would have.

Posted by: Gabriella at April 16, 2009 8:25 AM

And the world gets just a little bit smaller, thanks to the internet. This is a good thing - great to hear it! ;)

Posted by: Hannah at April 16, 2009 8:26 AM

I giggled out loud when I saw the video of Mia pulling the winner's name for the contest on Marshall's site. Too cute.

The internet really is amazing, isn't it?

Posted by: SpaceCase at April 16, 2009 8:31 AM

I wholeheartedly agree on the small world position and on Marshall's books - have one waiting on my pile of to-be-read-as-soon-as-professional-certification-is-done pile. Don't have Flipping Out - so here I say "pick me, pick me!" It is my birthday after all! ;)

Posted by: Melissa at April 16, 2009 8:32 AM

I am going to have to read these books ASAP! Good work on his site. But...there should be some disclaimer on the page about Uncle Icky. Like, "If you're already feeling emotional today, DON'T READ THIS!"

Posted by: js at April 16, 2009 8:35 AM

Put me in the watermelon bowl to pick from! I always like to hear about the person behind the books. I'm intrigued!

Posted by: Julie at April 16, 2009 8:43 AM

I will certainly check his books out.

And I find myself really wanting to see Mia's picture of Marshall pretending to be a clam.

Posted by: diane at April 16, 2009 8:53 AM

That is a fascinating story and kudos for you for being recognized and developing a meaningful friendship with someone you had admired their talent.

I've never read anything from him and I am an avid reading.

Of course I'd love to win but just reading your story is really interesting to me.

MiaBean is my idol!

Posted by: Deirdre at April 16, 2009 8:54 AM

That's my type of book, and when written by a cool guy, well that just icing on the cake.

Throw my name in the pink bucket please.

Posted by: Brad at April 16, 2009 8:58 AM

I had never heard of him until now! How cool is that! I often fantasize about this scenario but instead of Marshall, it's Benicio del Toro. Same thing, obviously ;)

Posted by: La Petite Belle at April 16, 2009 9:03 AM

What a cool story! I just finished reading The Rabbit Factory and totally loved it. I have requests in at the library for Bloodthirsty and Flipping Out, and I can't wait to read them both. Keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get one in time for the weekend.

Posted by: Becky at April 16, 2009 9:04 AM

It's always amazing to find someone you can be friends with, no matter how you connected in the first place. Sounds good to me! :)

Posted by: Julie at April 16, 2009 9:14 AM

I love finding those people on the net that somehow become dear friends. It's happened a few times for me. I'm like you tho, I much prefer email over talking on the phone...

Posted by: Darren at April 16, 2009 9:15 AM

Though I am lucky enough to already have my own copy of FO, it is thanks to you, I am firmly established member of the Marshall fan club. I can only imagine the conversations the two of you must have!

Posted by: Shelly at April 16, 2009 9:24 AM

Very cool! Now I've got a new target for my next library visit.

Posted by: J at April 16, 2009 9:30 AM

Perfect timing, going on a TDY next week and need something to read! I'll check him out today!

Posted by: steff at April 16, 2009 9:40 AM

You have convinced me that I need to check out Marshall's books. But before I run out to buy one, I'll see if I can win one. Will we get video of Mia picking the name?

Posted by: Teresa at April 16, 2009 9:41 AM

I've thoroughly enjoyed every book you've ever recommended to me, so I'll check his books out for sure. But if you wanted to get me started with a free autographed copy of one of his books, that would be ok too...

Posted by: bad penguin at April 16, 2009 9:42 AM

I'm always looking for new authors, I'll definately be checking him out. And I'm always up for free books....

Posted by: sherri at April 16, 2009 9:45 AM

Aww, how cute was Mia, picking the winner (not "a winner") on Marshall's site!

Posted by: Alison at April 16, 2009 9:48 AM

oooh pick me! (Straight to the point, yes?)

And yes internetwebosphere is an amazing place! I've often said I love my computer b/c that's where all my friends live ;)

Posted by: Kris at April 16, 2009 9:48 AM

OK -- I tried to borrow the Rabbit Factory when you mentioned it and the library said they had it, but as is sometimes the case, it wasn't on the shelf. Not even misshelved nearby.
Now that you mention it again, I'm either going to have to LOOK AGAIN, try another one of his books, or go and buy it. And since I trust you, I imagine I'll like it.
Loved the vido of Mia drawing the winner. I think that's so AWESOME that you and Mr. Karp have struck up a friendship. The opportunity to meet and become friendly with people we may only have admired from afar is a great thing about the internet. I took a class from one of my Knitting Heroes and would never have known her without her blog. So Bravo!
I'm sorry you've had to work so late the past couple of days and then to have to go in for an early meeting sucks even more. The weekend's coming! so I hope you have some quality time with your family. I will be on school vacation next week and the days can't GO BY ANY FASTER for me. I need it to, sad to say, clean my house and catch up on office work. Oh well, at least it will be at my pace and not someone elses.

Posted by: NancyJak at April 16, 2009 10:08 AM

Funny how life works, eh? :)

Posted by: Jase at April 16, 2009 10:11 AM

Dude this is just cool. I have had that book and the 2nd one you mentioned on my Amazon list since you reviewed it because the review made me curious and I am always looking for a good read.

Love that he found you and became a good friend! COOL!

Posted by: Christina at April 16, 2009 10:14 AM

name dropper.....

its quite cool actually.

Posted by: madmom at April 16, 2009 10:22 AM

Good thing I get sixteen days off between classes (though I still have to do my real job) because then I can read all of Marshall's books. Do you know what would really help? A FREE copy of the book. Hehe.

Posted by: Arwen at April 16, 2009 10:23 AM

I would love to find another good author to start reading. I love to read, but have been in a bit of a rut lately...

Posted by: unixlass at April 16, 2009 10:32 AM

Glad you found a new friend and the hubby and I are always up for a new author to read!!

Posted by: marylea at April 16, 2009 10:43 AM

I'll have to look him up.

Posted by: Ann Adams at April 16, 2009 10:47 AM

You met Marshall, I met my husband. The internet really is some piece of heaven.

Posted by: Tera at April 16, 2009 10:53 AM

Namedropper. ;) I love Mia pulling the name out of the bucket. She is too cute!

Posted by: laura at April 16, 2009 11:04 AM

Pick me, pick me! I need a new book to read!

Posted by: Kim at April 16, 2009 11:07 AM

Wow, that is incredibly awesome! I've never read anything by Marshall Karp (well, except for stuff on his website, now), but I'd love to check out one of his books! Maybe I'll add it to our book club rotation.

Posted by: Stephanie at April 16, 2009 11:09 AM

The internet is so cool.

Posted by: pseudostoops at April 16, 2009 11:22 AM

I've never heard of this author, which means I definitely have to read one of this books!

Posted by: Jen R. (aaron-n-jen.com) at April 16, 2009 11:30 AM

Ok you already know my "funny" Rabbit Factory Marshall story. But I will comment again because I do love his books, and I did get Flipping Out last week and read it and loved it, like I love his first 2. I actually thought to myself while I was reading, I need to slow down and enjoy this, as I felt I was speeding through it trying to guess the end. Laughing at myself, because I never figure it out, but have a great time reading his and trying. So good to hear he is a great guy too.

Posted by: stacie at April 16, 2009 11:35 AM

Ooh, I haven't read a good mystery for a long time! Thanks for the recommendation!

Posted by: bouncy at April 16, 2009 11:35 AM

That is very cool. He sounds like a great guy.

Posted by: Sarah at April 16, 2009 11:43 AM

I don't read enough, maybe a free book will help...

Posted by: Tracy at April 16, 2009 11:43 AM

As you know I love Marshall Karp's books as well. I think it is fantastic that you have become such good friends with him. The few times I've spoken to him on FB he has seemed AWESOME. I can't wait to read Flipping out!!

Posted by: Lesley at April 16, 2009 11:51 AM

I'm intrigue. Here's my name in the hat.

Posted by: Brooke Habecker at April 16, 2009 12:07 PM

Um, I mean intrigued.

Posted by: Brooke Habecker at April 16, 2009 12:09 PM

I often look for the books in your list in my local library, which happens to have some books in english too. You actually made me discover and like American authors. I will look for Marshall Karp next time, since "the Woody Allen of murder mystery" cannot be totally bad.

Posted by: viviane at April 16, 2009 12:13 PM

When you reviewed and recommended his books I bought them, read them, loved them, and loaned them to friends who also loved them. I'm inspired by the relationship you've formed. Good on you!

Posted by: Gwen at April 16, 2009 12:22 PM

It's up to you, watermelon...to pick me :-)
He sounds like a wonderful man, glad you made a great friendship!

Posted by: Kami at April 16, 2009 12:27 PM

I have his books on the post-it note list in my wallet, as per your recommendation. I will move him up to the top of the list and get myself over to my local bookstore to check them out.

Posted by: Procrastamom at April 16, 2009 12:31 PM

Sweet, I like books :D I like the part on his site where he's compared to Evanovich with the funny, because I like her and I like a little comic relief amongst all the crazy killing people ;)

Posted by: Heather at April 16, 2009 12:46 PM

Hi! I am a newbie, having followed Marshall's April blog tour here. I really enjoyed reading your blog.

I will definitely be back, since I too am an avid reader and want to keep up on your point of view and family happenings.

Have a super day!

Posted by: Debb at April 16, 2009 12:57 PM

That is awesome. He sounds like a fantastic guy and I'm glad you've gotten the chance to know him.

Posted by: Dawn at April 16, 2009 1:12 PM

In the right back atcha category, I have nothing but unabashed love for the whole Cactus-Fish clan. Yes -the internetwebosphere is one fucking cool place.

Posted by: Country Girl at April 16, 2009 1:27 PM

ooh ooh! Pick me pick me!

I love the internet. I've met so many people who I have become very fond of, and have actually gotten to meet in person. I learn something every day, be it a trivial little thing, or a new jewelry technique.

I need some new reading material. I'm woefully lacking in the 'recreational reading' lately.


Posted by: Amy at April 16, 2009 1:40 PM

Totally dropping in for the book! Been meaning to read the Rabbit Factory ever since i read abt it here, but i dont mind starting wz Flipping Out :-)

Posted by: NM at April 16, 2009 1:58 PM

Ok so maybe it's time for me to write to Paul Westerberg.....er...not.

Posted by: Kristy at April 16, 2009 1:58 PM

I work 80% effort (4 days/week, stupid office job).
I am a college student 50% effort (7 credits/semester, working on a second bachelor degree so that I might someday be a pharmacist and rake in the big bucks).
I am a mother 100% effort (to two amazing little girls, ages 1 and 3).

I have not read a book for pleasure in over a year. I am taking the summer off school and am surprised to find that I am more looking forward to curling in a ball on the porch summer evenings with a book than draining my Tivo of the past 6 months' "entertainment". BUT I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO READ!! So if your random commenter chooser machine broke and it chose me not very randomly, I might cry tears of joy.

Well, I'd cry tears of joy also if I were chosen randomly.

Posted by: Sabrina at April 16, 2009 2:19 PM

Add me to the list of hopefulls. I'm always looking for a new author to read and I never refuse a free book.

Posted by: Meredith at April 16, 2009 2:37 PM

It's hard to pass up the chance at possibly getting a free book by an author who's new to you. I'll keep my fingers crossed, but not too tight.

Posted by: ticknart at April 16, 2009 3:11 PM

I love his books, and I would love an autographed copy of Flipping Out. I don't own many books. Buying books went out the window after we had three kids. When a new book I want to read is released, I put it on hold at the library (Flipping Out is on hold right now).

Posted by: Carolyn at April 16, 2009 3:19 PM

That is a really neat story. I do love the Internet sometimes, there are just a lot of interesting people out there.

I'm going ot have to put some of Marshall's book on my list at the library!

Have a great day..

Posted by: Molly at April 16, 2009 3:21 PM

I've been a longtime reader of your blog and also a fan of mysteries, so I read Marshall's books on your recommendation and loved them! I've been waiting for my library to get Flipping Out.

I noticed that he left a random (funny) comment on one of your posts...I thought that was pretty awesome.

Posted by: Tara at April 16, 2009 3:46 PM

I picked up The Rabbit Factory for my husband for Christmas - and stole...and loved it. Would love to read another of his books!

Posted by: Charlise at April 16, 2009 4:04 PM

Wow and I was expecting a post today about the Brady Bunch. I'm constantly amazed at the good things the internet can produce. It almost makes up for all that porn. Congratulations. It's a nice website.

Posted by: NG at April 16, 2009 4:17 PM

I'm only here for the potential literary booty.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at April 16, 2009 5:03 PM

Cool website - even mentions your contest today...I'll have to check out some of his stuff!

And the interwebosphere IS great!

Posted by: Sue R at April 16, 2009 5:32 PM

I already got a holiday card featuring your fabulous family courtesy of your wonderful wife and so don't expect to be that lucky twice in a lifetime, but here I am anway. The Rabbit Factory is on my wish list on my favourite book site and if I don't get a copy soon I am going to have to go out and hunt it down myself!

Posted by: Loth at April 16, 2009 5:41 PM

[Jealous] I'm not at all taken aback by what would be your "guess who I know" approach. I totally mention that to anyone who will listen and *I* only got a couple of e-mails from him [most recent: "Stop contacting my client" Bastard]

I've got my copy already, but I'm afraid to start it b/c I know I would lose a lot of sleep & I need sleep now (that is, in case it's not clear: I expect I will not be able to put it down).

Posted by: harmzie at April 16, 2009 6:49 PM

It's great to find authors you can really dive into. I read quite a lot, but don't know most of the authors in your "words I'm reading" section. One of these days, I'll get into one of them.

Also, go ahead and gloat. We give you permission. Of course, I can be so generous because I myself know the brother-in-law of the manager of the local 7-11. That's right--the manager! Not the night manager, but the regular MANAGER!

Posted by: Gramps at April 16, 2009 7:21 PM

What a great story! I love that y'all are friends, and all because of your blog.

Posted by: Sam at April 16, 2009 8:04 PM

wow, okay, any author who gets compared to carl hiaasen is a-okay in my book. adding him to my reading list. thanks!

Posted by: afc at April 16, 2009 9:12 PM

After that review how can I NOT check out his writing? I'll pick up one of his books at the library this weekend!

Posted by: erin at April 16, 2009 9:57 PM

After that review how can I NOT check out his writing? I'll pick up one of his books at the library this weekend!

Posted by: erin at April 16, 2009 9:57 PM

I think that you should write a book. You and Beth together, about your life today. I would read it in a heart beat because the two of you are awesome writer, and I love checking out what Mia and Owen have been up to.

Just an idea.

P.S. I love reading, and would love to read that book

Posted by: Jaci B at April 17, 2009 12:03 AM

I love how you are easily bought.... my soul for a copy of the book!

But that said, that is pretty cool way to meet someone famous. I met my future husband via him stalking my blog... who knows!

Posted by: Cath at April 17, 2009 1:46 AM

Shameless, shameless name dropping. But a cool story. I love hearing about brushes with fame.


Posted by: Mandy at April 17, 2009 2:00 AM

I have met some AWESOME people on the internet, so I love this story. Sometimes imaginary internet friends are real friends too.

Posted by: Missy at April 17, 2009 6:08 AM

I'm late to this whole mess but I would so do that if I ever got published. That's very cool of Marshall. I think I shall read his books now!

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at April 17, 2009 10:26 AM

I hope I'm not too late! I'm always looking for good reads :)

Posted by: Stephanie at April 17, 2009 10:58 AM

I'm probably too late for the contest, which is fine, but I just wanted to thank you for writing this. For two reasons:

1) It's so nice to hear about an author who is not only a good person, but who is actively encouraging of others efforts.

2) It's a reminder to me that it's okay to make friends, especially online. I tend to be so closed off to new people that I forget that simple fact. I probably would have gotten his response and then never replied because I was afraid of bothering him.

So, thanks.

Posted by: Alias Mother at April 17, 2009 12:14 PM

So cool! I love Marshall Karp's books, so I'm going to have to dig around here and check out some of your other recommendations.

Posted by: Velma at April 17, 2009 2:44 PM

Hoping this is still open. I picked up The Rabbit Factory a while ago on your recommendation. Loved it. Picked up Bloodthirsty on the strength of how good Rabbit Factory was. You emailed and told me that the latest one is even better. I would love to win a copy.

Posted by: alison at April 17, 2009 4:19 PM

I read "Rabbit Factory" on your recommendation, and liked it very much. I sure do love the crime/mystery! I should go find that 2nd book.

Posted by: jodi at April 17, 2009 4:39 PM

Oh my gosh! I had no idea you were as close to Marshall as what you are! That's amazing!

I bought The Rabbit Factory on your suggestion and loved it. I would be honored to be selected to receive his latest book!

I'll watch for your email! ;-)

Posted by: zanie at April 17, 2009 5:53 PM

I know I'm totally late to the party, but I'm okay with that because hey, it's a real book and I am so digital now. ^_~ I just wanted to say that I totally just sent a preview chapter of The Rabbit Factory to my Kindle to give it a whirl. :)

Posted by: Teenuh at April 17, 2009 6:48 PM

That is SO why I love the blogosphere! The friends I've made all over the world - it's just amazing. Now I guess I have to read this dude's books ... :)

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