First, Do No Harm Cover

First, Do No Harm
The Midnight Special
Scamming the Birdman
The Music Box Murders
The Enchanted Ear
The View from the Vue

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for more information on each of Larry Karp's books. 

Larry Karp is currently being published by Poisoned Pen Press

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Martin Firestone can't figure it.  He knew his father, celebrity painter Leo Firestone, had a short fuse, but when he told Leo he'd been accepted to medical school, the old man threw a record tantrum.  Just exploded.

Once Leo has calmed a bit, he tells Martin a story about his own father, Samuel, a legendary doctor in the small city of Hobart, NJ, but a man with some impressive moral and ethical flaws.  During the summer of 1943, at the age of sixteen, Leo worked as his father's extern, during which time he witnessed a good deal of questionable behavior.  Supplying heroin to an addict, trafficking in black-market pharmaceuticals, performing illegal abortions, selling newborn babies to desperate adoptive parents--all in a day's work for Samuel Firestone, M.D.

When Leo thinks his father has covered over a murder by diagnosing a heart attack, he spills his concern to his friend, Harmony Belmont, the girl next door, and the two teenagers decide to investigate.  They trespass, break and enter, commit petty larceny, even dig up a grave.  Their trail of clues leads to Fleischmann Scrapyard, where they uncover a major operation in black-market metal, in the process running afoul of dirty, vicious Oscar Fleischmann, Samuel Firestone's longtime nemesis.  By the time Leo realizes he and Harmony are in far over their sixteen-year-old heads, it's too late to just call off the investigation.

But there are loose threads in Leo's story, and they bother Martin.  He goes snooping in Hobart, and like his father sixty years earlier, comes away with more junk than he'd bargained for.


This mystery novel from Larry Karp, set between the present and the World War II homefront, considers medical/ethical issues as pertinent--and as unresolved--now, as they were in 1943, and was originally released by Poisoned Pen Press in 2004.


BREAKING NEWS:  "First, Do No Harm" is now available in the United Kingdom!  (Published through Poisoned Pen Press UK.  March 2007)


Read Chapter One of "First, Do No Harm" by Larry Karp.


What Others Are Saying...

"A well-told story is nearly irresistible, and Karp has two phenomenal stories to recount here. .. A triumph of storytelling-the juggling of the two narratives is flawless-that will hold readers as spellbound as a terrifying tale told 'round the campfire."
Jenny McLarin, Booklist (starred review), 9/15/04

", well-written crime novel... Karp's story, steeped in descriptions of 1940s smalltown life, builds to a shattering climax that will haunt readers as much as the book's characters. Fans of Robin Cook or Patricia Cornwell will find this mystery strikingly different, for it deals not in medical science but in the frailty of human love and devotion."
Publishers Weekly, 9/27/04

"This is not a classic mystery, but it is an absolutely remarkable piece of writing. I became completely immersed in the characters and their story. It is poignant, engrossing, tragic and truly excellent. Be prepared to give it your undivided attention as you'll want to do nothing less."
LJ Roberts, LJ's October Reads, DorothyL List (Overall rating: "Excellent - will probably make my top 10 of the year").

"The tale in some ways feels like an historical novel, but also has the audience ponder questions of morality and legality as Samuel is either a wizard or a demon depending on whether the reader believes he crossed the line or not. FIRST, DO NO HARM is a terrific character-driven cerebral thriller."
Harriet Klausner, The Best Reviews, Review Centre, and Blether, the Book Review Site. Rated 10 out of 10 on Blether ("The Blether Gold Award. A truly exceptional read, the finest example of a genre, a book with which the reviewer can find no fault, and which will usually have universal appeal").

"...contains a great deal of suspense... The characters are well drawn... The picture of the time is very realistic... The writing is good.... I commend Poisoned Pen Press for publishing a book that does not quite fit into any niche. This is intriguing to read and will stay with me long after I shelve the book..."
Sally Fellows, Mystery News

"I just couldn't put (it) down. The writing is powerful, the characters dynamic, and the story fascinating... The more you read, the more you want to know... A grand journey with a compelling ending and a fascinating look into the world of the past."
Andrea Maloney, DorothyL List

"...a richly detailed roaring tale of medicine, social mores and political acumen... Legislators and political leaders could learn from this book. FIRST, DO NO HARM should be a must read for everyone... Larry Karp delivers a powerful message wrapped inside a fascinating, well-written mystery."
Carl Brookins, The Minnesota Crime Wave Reviews

" astonishing story of a supposedly kinder and gentler era, which it really wasn't at all. You won't soon forget Leo—and Harmony, the young girl who wanted only to be his companion, not his shadow—nor Leo's parents, Samuel and Ramona, the one patient beyond Sam's ability to cure. I'm glad I read it..."
Kelly Ferjutz, reader review

"Mystery lovers resident in the UK have much to rejoice about, as American mystery publishers Poisoned Pen Press have opened a branch in Britain. Now all those excellent books are suddenly available to be enjoyed by a whole new audience, and this tale of dark secrets and lost innocence is a superb choice for my first PPPUK review.  (First, Do No Harm) is the sort of tale that sucks the reader into a maelstrom of its own, a well realized world, set in 1943, that shows the author’s admirable grasp of the time, its mores and taboos.


It is one of those books that seems to have the power to transport the reader back into the past, and, thankfully, also has the power to show it warts and all. Told in the first person by Leo in flashbacks, and alternatively by his son (in a conveniently different typeface) as they eat their lunch it gives two views of the world in first person, and effectively another one in the towering persona of Dr Martin Firestone.


Larry Karp also wrote The Ragtime Kid and I can only hope that he will go on to write a whole lot more. Highly recommended."

Rachel A. Hyde, Review


Author:  Larry Karp
Hardback: 264 pages

Publication date: 10/4/2004

ISBN-10: 1-59058-130-X

currently out of print


Trade Paperback:  274 pages

Publication date: 1/2005
ISBN-10: 1-59058-166-0
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-166-7


Large Type Trade Paperback: 400 pages

Publication date: 11/1/2004

ISBN-10: 1-59058-151-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-151-3


Kindle e-book:  438 pages

Publication date: 12/18/2009
ISBN: 978-1-59058-545-0


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All of Larry Karp's books can be found at Seattle Mystery Bookshop!All of Larry Karp's books (including autographed copies AND books that have gone out of print) can be found here:
First, Do No Harm is also available a Kindle e-book from