Published April 21, 2014
White Rabbit centers around Draygo. He is an addict, clairvoyant, charlatan, and ex cop. Draygo has a very real connection to the ethereal realm he just doesn’t particularly want to participate in it. It’s easier to use tricks and trade secrets he learned from his Aunt to create an illusion rather than actually speak with the dead. Draygo is focused on getting by the easiest way possible with the least amount of headaches or actual participation in the real world. Our reluctant hero is at the heart of this paranormal noir tale. It it is told from his first person narrative. This is both beautiful and dysfunctional for a variety of reasons. K.A. Laity was true to her main character. It is what made the second half of the book great and the first half extremely difficult to immerse yourself in.
The novel is centered around a detective, a dead femme fatale, and a hard-nosed female reporter. While Draygo is a disgraced ex-cop, he by no means is a hard-boiled detective. He’s all over the place and engages in a fair bit of self-pity. Due to the amount of ‘Dust,’ narcotics and alcohol he consumes, he is rarely in an unaltered state. Our femme fatale was the wife of a high profile gangster running the tabloid scene. She gets murdered by her own bodyguards in Draygo’s house while he is communing with the dead on her behalf. He gets framed for it. She remains with Draygo as an unwelcome spirit that pesters him incessantly to find out what the White Rabbit is and why it got her killed. Is the white rabbit a drug, an organization, and what is causing the dead to go into a frenzy of fear? It was a nice twist to have murder victim be a main character haunting our character from the other side. It is set in the underbelly of an alternate London. Draygo introduces us to his bartenders, prostitutes, and illegal pharmacists as he tracks the white rabbit with Saunders. Saunders is the female reporter that turns up on Draygo’s doorstep immediately after he is sprung from prison on bail. She wants the story of the White Rabbit and she pokes and prods Draygo into investigating in the real world at the same time our dead trophy wife is pestering him to do so in the ethereal realm.
The first half of the novel was hard to engage in. K. A. Laity’s narrator is Draygo. He talks in a constant stream of slang, jargon, and references to books, movies, and songs. Some of it is explained and some I knew, but a large amount I believe will be missed by the average reader. It became a distraction from the storyline and at one point I considered abandoning the book. I’m glad I didn’t. The story in the second half becomes much more focused and enjoyable. The concept is wonderful. I believe the references, slang, and tangents were part of the character building. The character is a mess. It makes sense, since he is the narrator, that the book would be frenetic and a bit cluttered . As he weans himself off the ‘dust’ his mind becomes more focused and the story became more clear. As a device, I can respect what the author did, but I’m not sure I liked it. I, personally, would not have picked up on this if I had not finished the book, and it made it hard for me to connect with the book. I want to make the distinction because I do not believe the book is poorly written.
Overall, I enjoyed it. I liked the concept. I enjoyed the combination of noir and paranormal. It is a short, complex, and fun read. I would recommend you give it a chance. You will know if you want to finish the book or if you want to abandon it in the first few chapters. I would definitely read another book by K. A. Laity.
I received this book from Fox Spirit Books and NetGalley in return for an honest review.