Friday, April 20, 2018

ARC Review: White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig

White Rabbit
Author: Caleb Roehrig
Publication: Feiwel & Friends (April 24, 2018)

Description: Caleb Roehrig, author of Last Seen Leaving, delivers another spellbinding YA murder mystery in White Rabbit.

Rufus Holt is having the worst night of his life. It begins with the reappearance of his ex-boyfriend, Sebastian―the guy who stomped his heart out like a spent cigarette. Just as Rufus is getting ready to move on, Sebastian turns up out of the blue, saying they need to "talk." Things couldn’t get worse, right?

Then Rufus gets a call from his sister April, begging for help. He and Sebastian find her, drenched in blood and holding a knife beside the dead body of her boyfriend, Fox Whitney.

April swears she didn’t kill Fox. Rufus knows her too well to believe she’s telling him the whole truth, but April has something he needs. Her price is his help. Now, with no one to trust but the boy he wants to hate yet can’t stop loving, Rufus has one night to clear his sister’s name . . . or die trying.

My Thoughts: Rufus Holt is having a bad 4th of July. His former boyfriend Sebastian, whom he still loves, shows up at a party where he is and says he wants to "talk" and his half-sister April calls and begs him for his help saying only that she's at Fox's cottage. Lacking a car and the location of Fox's cottage, he accepts Sebastian's offer of a ride but doesn't let him have his "talk." When they arrive at Fox's cottage, they find Fox's stabbed to death in the kitchen and April passed out covered in blood and holding a bloody knife next to him.

The house shows signs of a party with alcohol, cocaine, and a new designer drug White Rabbit scattered around the place. Because Rufus has anger management issues and has been in trouble with the cops, he doesn't call the police but decides to sober up his sister and get her story first. She claims that she wasn't doing drugs and doesn't know what happened to her boyfriend Fox. She offers Rufus $2000 to find a way to clear her name.

Rufus needs the money. His mom owes a debt of $8000 or they'll lose their house. Rufus and his mom have been a team fighting against Rufus's biological father Peter Covington II who happens to be a wealthy and well-connected lawyer who had an affair with his mother until she learned he was married. Since then there have been lots of lawsuits and bitterness between them. Hayden Covington, who was a toddler when Peter had the affair, has grown up hating Rufus and bullying him only to always be protected by his father's money and influence. April, born when Peter and his wife Isabel attempted a reconciliation, is the only Covington Rufus can stand but he isn't sure that he can trust her.

Rufus and Sebastian begin investigating the events of the fateful 4th of July night and uncover lots of reasons why any of the people at Fox's party could have wanted him dead. The first suspect is Arlo who was Fox's partner in his drug dealing but then he's found dead too. Rufus and Sebastian have to interview Sebastian's ex Lia who is currently dating Arlo and who is lying to them about something. Rufus's jealousy makes him want to consider her a suspect. Or, the video that is circulating showing Fox having sex with one of his friend's girlfriend could also make a great motive for murder. All the while Rufus and Sebastian are investigating we also get flashbacks to their relationship and Rufus's heartbreak when Sebastian broke up with him and we learn Sebastian's issues.

This story was fast-paced and the clues kept unfolding in such a way that I couldn't put the book down. I read it in one sitting finally finishing early in the morning hours. I had to know what really happened at that beach party and if Rufus and Sebastian had a chance at a new relationship. Both the mystery and relationship made compelling reading. I recommend this one both to mystery lovers and to those interested in LGBT relationships.

Favorite Quote:
As it is, unable to account for the real reason Sebastian and I want to leave almost the second we're done eating, I let my best friend's prurient imagination supply the missing details. As we head for the exit, Lucy calls out, teasingly, "Good night, boys! Don't do anything I wouldn't do!"

Before the door closes behind us, we also hear Brent's sarcastic reply. "What kind of advice is that? The only two things you won't do are 'eat cilantro' and 'watch anything starring Gwyneth Paltrow.'"
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

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