by K.A. Laity
Draygo may once have been a successful police officer, but it has been a while since he has detected anything other than the location of the nearest pub. Washed out and washed up, he spends his time floating away on fairy dust and as many other illegal substances as he can swallow and pays for his habit by hosting gimmicky and mostly faked seances. But when Peaches Dockmuir, nee Weiner, stamps her way into Draygo’s office to have some words with the previous Mrs. Dockmuir, things start getting far too real. Suddenly, Draygo has become the prime suspect for a murder where the only clue seems to be the cryptic references to a “white rabbit.” Even if his head wasn’t buzzing with fairy dust, given that he is now being hounded by the police, hunted by a criminal mastermind, and relentlessly pursued by an extremely attractive and persevering journalist, Draygo has very little energy left to puzzle out a mystery that seems destined to lead him down the rabbit hole.
White Rabbit is an entertaining and fast-paced read. Given his impressive levels of willful obtuseness, cringing cowardice, and generalized TSTLosity , Draygo is a surprisingly likeable character. Draygo is, in fact, a quintessential sad sack, and given his impressive levels of incompetence and uncaringness, and his ignorance of basic procedural details such as call identification and recording, I found it impossible to believe that he had ever been a policeman. I think most of Draygo’s likeability comes from his Woosterlike narrative style. At the same time, while the style may have simply been part of his persona, I found the jerkiness and repetition to be rather grating.( Little details such as the abandonment of the oxford comma or the use of “shined” instead of “shone” are, admittedly, not grammatically incorrect, but I found them rather distracting.) The rest of the cast is likeable if not particularly unique, from the large and inarticulate sidekick to the evil-league-of-evil villain. The loudmouthed and demanding Peaches Weiner came across as an especially vivid--and amusingly irritating--character.
My biggest issue with the novel was the storyline itself. The ending was so contrived that I had to read the passage several times to subdue my incredulity, and I was left with rather a substantial list of plotholes.(show spoiler)
All the same, I think Laity did break new ground with her character. It seems to be something of a fad to give one’s protagonist a substance abuse problem, but it’s amazing how many protagonists can shake aside their addictions whenever it is convenient. Draygo, on the other hand, suffers from a far more realistic addiction. Such a reluctant hero--reluctant to the point of wet-dishraggery--is something of a novelty, and Draygo does have something of the hapless Woosterish charm. Overall, if you’re looking for something different and are comfortable with a few plot flaws, White Rabbit may be worth a look.
~~I received this ebook through NetGalley from the publisher, Fox Spirit Books, in exchange for my honest review. ~~