K A Laity's White Rabbit is a marvelous and potent cocktail of crime fiction, screwball comedy and the supernatural. A cracking yarn choc full of brilliant lines that reminds you of Wodehouse, Preston Sturges and the Coen Brothers and yet is like nothing you've ever read before. Fantastic stuff. More please!
This book is a mix-up of so many genres it's best to not try to pin it down to just one. If you like humor or mystery or paranormal or crime noir then you will find all of those categories here. Draygo doesn't set out to be funny, it's just that he is often so sparkling with the administration of fairy dust coursing through his veins that anything he says seems like a joke. Of course, at the crux of the matter is his inability to forgive himself for what he did that caused him to resign from the police. No matter how much he plays the fool he can't undo that experience. So, naturally a guys gotta live so he runs a fly-by-night psychic organization inherited from his late Auntie Vera that most people believe is nothing but a scam, even his old partner from the force. But wait....after Peaches Dockmuir nee Weiner has been shot dead in Draygo's parlor why does he seem to be walking around talking to her? Peaches saw the white rabbit and now she's dead, but where is the warren and what does it all have to do with the fake little blue pills and cults?
This is a very unusual novel and you just don't even need to start reading it unless you can suspend all your belief and let the author take you down this road of a fake psychic who solves a crime to keep himself out of prison and to keep "them" from screaming to him. The author has a wonderful sense of humor and the ability to make her lead character crazy with sane overtones so I could sympathize with him and even understand his lyrical and literary references. Even Abelard and Heloise get a quick mention so that should tell you how far afield you can expect to go. My only complaint is that sometimes the explanation of what was happening in the story was unnecessarily vague. Also, there are bits and pieces that are never tied up or explained -- ginger cat as one example. Otherwise, it was fascinating and enjoyable even if a little on the short side and I hope to meet Draygo, Jinx, and Helen again soon.
I received an ARC of this novel through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
I love this cover. It screams Art Deco like a bakelite phone (there is one mentioned in this book). Did I mention how much I love this cover? This needs to be a poster, with shell shaped up-lighters.
Down the rabbit hole we go. Sorry. It just wasn’t possible to start with that. For most of this book the Alice references are not spoken aloud. Until the final part where you realize that even the structure seems to bear similarities. Even down to giving evidence at the end. Of course this could just be my warped little mind.
This book is crime noir, but not as you know it. Nothing in this book is as it first seems. It has more levels than Chuckie Egg. For example the main character is a fake psychic detective, except he isn’t either. There is also the mute assistant that comes across as a mute Lennie from Of Mice And Men but is a lot smarter than he seems. I got so engaged in this story that I deliberately got on a later and slower train yesterday so that I would have a longer reading session. I know.
I’m not really sure how to describe the story. No, really. I’ve been sitting here for about twenty minutes. Story aside I knew I was going to enjoy this book at the mention of the luminiferous ether. Twisting the medium for light to mean the space between this world and the next is a clever touch and I do love me an Einstein reference. There are other references in this book, some literary and some historical. I probably didn’t spot some of them. That doesn’t surprise me as K.A.Laity is really well read and it adds a roundness and depth to her work that sucks the reader in.
For me this is a fun and thrilling read that is the best offering yet from Fox Spirit.
I have to admit I'm not a fan of noir (I know, so sue me) but I enjoyed this twisty turny tale. I loved the recalcitrant protagonist Draygo (who I pictured as a very scuzzy but still sexy Toby Stephens - movie adaptors take note!) as he meandered reluctantly through the grimy backstreets of an underland wonderland.
Peppered with masses of references to all the things we know Kate enjoys (which are fun as always to spot) I'd love to read more about the psycho psychic and the world he inhabits, maybe in a series or a longer book form?
Now, I was a very happy bunny when this plonked down on my mat. Yes, we have a mat and no, I don't it's a rabbit on the cover. The cover is amazing tho - very simple Art Deco, but also a gorgeous blend of colours. The whole supernatural noir angle appealed to me, as did the humour. There's a lot of dead jokes and loving descriptions of Real Ale, and the joys of shadowy pubs. Which is all to the good. The plot doesn't rely on mental twists like a lot of modern fiction - just the usual boy meets girl, girl is shot and returns as a ghost. And more references to the The Fall than I've seen anywhere. Worth it just for the cover, but its well written and you'll be helping a great independent press if you buy it. And helping yourself, of course. Go on, you know you want to!
White Rabbit is an original take on an established genre, re-imagining the downbeat noir private dick as a psychic, and not just any old psychic either, but a real psychic masquerading as a charlatan. Just to keep things (even more) interesting, Laity fuses the tropes of hardboiled noir with the surreal imagery of Alice in Wonderland, creating an idiosyncratic world that is simultaneously colourful and gritty, comic and mysterious.
The narrative centres on former detective James Draygo who has reached something of a personal low after a case gone bad. He’s down, he’s on drugs (Fairy Dust amongst other poisons) and he’s taking on jobs as a sham clairvoyant in spite of his actual ability to speak to the dead.
When his latest client - a comically tacky femme fatale and the wife of a famous gangster - is killed in front of him mid-séance, Draygo ends up in the frame. In order to save himself, he teams up with journalist Saunders who has her own reasons to discover the truth behind the murder and unravel the mystery of the titular White Rabbit.
On top of his own quest, the ghost of the murdered trophy wife won’t let Draygo alone until he finds out what the White Rabbit is and why she was murdered. The paranormal PI’s ability to see dead people helps him turn up clues, but it’s his own human frailty that threatens to stand in the way of his redemption.
Laity’s writing is punchy and readable and she has a knack for slang and banter. The whole style of the genre mash-up keeps the reader on their toes, because with noir, the supernatural and the Carroll-bunny theme all in play, we never know what’s coming next. As the story moves forward, it becomes increasingly pacy and gripping and in the final act I was glued to the spot until I finished it.
This was a very enjoyable, different read, a gripping mystery full of sly humour, witty wordplay and characters who, despite often being dead, are very fully brought to life.
Whilst at the inaugural Leicester Comic Con, I was convinced to buy 'White Rabbit' by the book's publisher. Visiting the Fox Spirit stand I got talking with the author as well as the publisher and shared my love of the work of Graham Joyce with them. Both of them knew Mr Joyce and on hearing that I was an evangelical fan of his work recommended this book from the Fox Spirit catalogue. I'm so glad they did.
I won't attempt to précis the plot - it'd be woefully inadequate and there's probably a perfectly good blurb on here somewhere. Suffice it to say that if I was being lazy I'd say that if you're a fan of the work of Ben Aaronovitch, Graham Joyce, Mike Shevdon or Neil Gaiman, or if your taste runs to the diverse genre that is often labelled 'Urban Fantasy', you'll like this.
A retired detective with a dodgy past and an undesired ability to communicate with the dead, a caustic, amoral media baron (who could that possibly be?), an ambitious journo, and a host of spirits combine with that redoubtable old character that is London to give the reader a vivid ride in to a world that could conceivably be glimpsed from the corner of your eye..... if you keep an open mind. Can the motley cast of unlikely heroes combine to solve the mystery of the White Rabbit and save the hapless citizens of London from......... well, that'd be telling.
Every so often it's worth taking a chance on a new author based on the recommendation of people in the know (even if they do have a vested interest!) and for me this was one of those occasions. On finishing I was left wanting more, to follow the characters for a bit longer, to see what happened to them next. Always a good sign - for reader and author.
KA Laity offers a surreal, hallucinogenic journey that is both humorous and unsettling. White Rabbit exudes weirdness and moves fluidly between a linear and transgressive narrative. With characters who are both realistic and fetched from fantasy, this is a work that makes its own emphatic fictionality extremely real. A well balanced work of experimental fiction that manages to use its own subversiveness to harness various genres.
Peaches is dead baby! Peaches is dead. That being said she's still a lead character who, like all the others in this rollicking good read is wonderfully drawn and leaped off the page into my imagination and took up residence. The story is a non-stop cavalcade of the unexpected in familiar and everyday places, right under my nose, making it all the more intriguing and engaging. I felt like there was a whole universe between these pages, it was so tangible and yet it was operating under a whole different set of rules from this one. K.A. Laity is a writer that has never let me down, keeping me in suspenders to the last gasp. I LOVED reading this book! It wouldn't have mattered what the story was about, I just thoroughly enjoy reading Laity. But this book was such good fun and, like the characters, smart and funny. I hope K.A Laity takes me there again soon, for another wild ride.
Picked this up on a suggestion and they couldn't have been more right. K.A.Laity's writing is gripping and paints a vivid picture for the reader. The story flows from scene to scene and although short, you quickly build a relationship with the characters