“Mum finds me in the larder. I crouch in the corner, flinching from the sudden light in the doorway. My mouth is full of blood and porcelain.”
To say the opening of White Rabbit, Red Wolf grabs you is an understatement and a half. It pulls you into a headlock and doesn’t let go for nearly 400 pages. On the floor in that opening line is Peter William Blankman – mathematical genius, owner of a severe anxiety disorder, and the story’s narrator. Thrown into a web of conspiracy after an assassination attempt on his mother, Petey and his sister Bel start to watch the world unravel around them.
Action at breakneck speed, White Rabbit, Red Wolf is a smart and slick thriller dotted with pitfall twists and unexpected lurches. As it flits back and forth through time, the individual plot strands begin to intertwine, and I found myself being pulled along as if by sheer momentum. While the unexpected changes in plot direction do get a little exhausting at times (and start to stretch the reader’s ability to keep track of who’s betraying who), Tom Pollock’s approach to Petey’s mental health is somehow tense and heart-pounding, and yet gently handled as the rest of the world around him drags him in every direction. The narration is unreliable and the plot dizzying, and it doesn’t quite outstay its welcome – always whipping you along too quickly to think too hard.
Sit back, strap in, and enjoy the ride.