This book was one of the most odd yet fantastic books I’ve ever read. I’m certainly not the expert when it comes to contemporary let alone mysteries and crime, but this book did certainly leave a big impression. Here are my thoughts!
Pete Boland spent his summer after graduation doing nothing, but when Nicole, a girl of his former friend group, calls to get the gang back together before everyone goes their separate ways, Pete’s summer is about to change. As the group – the twins Nicole and Eric, tough Pauly, weird Raymond and Pete – get together one last time, it’s clear that whatever connection they had as kids is gone now. Only Pete and Raymond are still in touch, Pete protecting him, his only friend and the only one understanding his behavior. As the group splits up and everyone makes their way to the near carnival, the place they were supposed to hang out together, on their own, things start to get out of hand: Pete desperately wants to find the missing Raymond, Nicole is behaving weirdly, Eric seems to have something to hide and Pauly is being his own drunk self. They find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation as a girl goes missing during the carnival and Raymond is nowhere to be found. Now Pete has to ask himself: has Raymond’s disappearance anything to do with the missing girl and could one of his former friends be involved or what else are they hiding?
This book was intense. The cover certainly did mind pointing that out, but nevertheless, this book was gripping.
The title alone leaves you wondering what will happen in this book and let me assure you, it will makes sense. Yes, there is a black rabbit.
The book started off kind of slow, but I didn’t mind because the story itself and the characters were fascinating. It never got really fast, it basically follows Pete around that night and deals with his struggles of his missing friend, his search and then his part in the investigation: the police questioning him, but also his own assumptions and actions to find out the truth.
The great thing was that you didn’t know the characters well and neither did Pete. He soon realizes that he actually didn’t really know his former friends and can therefore not judge or calculate their behavior.
I also really enjoyed the complexity of this story starting off with Pete’s slow summer, then the crew getting back together, everyone alone at the carnival all playing their parts in the story and then later on Pete trying to solve his friend’s disappearance and connect it to the missing girl whom they all know as well.
The great part was the step by step story of Pete solving the case. I never new very much and neither did Pete, he simply followed bread crumbs and pieced the story together until the moment where everything was suddenly clear and made sense.
The ending was a little disappointing, but I never been not just a tiny bit disappointed whenever I read a mystery. Another thing driving me crazy is that the book ends as a cliffhanger. I have no enormous problems with open ends but I really would love to know what happened…
A weird yet kind of cool thing is that I never actually got to know Pete’s personality other him loving Raymond as his best friend and truly caring for him. He was really always just having no clue how to feel, he just knew that he felt overwhelmed by the whole situation and that made him really sympathetic.
Raymond is a very weird yet sensible and sweet character, one that many people would describe as off or mentally ill. He has this black rabbit that supposedly talks to him and also seems to talk to Pete throughout the book. To this second, he remains a mystery and I guess that’s the point of the book: you can’t really be sure to have known everyone let alone their intentions.
The other characters kind of remained a mystery to me, despite some personalities which were really awesome to discover. This book covered so much: sexuality, drugs and alcohol, mobbing and self doubts. It was really amazing how Kevin Brooks connected so many themes and stories to perfectly fit together in the end and to make sense.
This can come off as completely weird, but this book was really wise. Every sentence made sense and you could put yourself in the person’s position. I feel like the author really understood his characters and what he wanted the readers to feel like and what sentiments and values he was trying to get across. This book was so much more than a simple mystery.
All in all, I can recommend this book to everyone who loves complex and mysterious characters and who values a great, wise and realistic story, The end leaves you mind-blown and you want to read more. Pete is an incredibly smart character and Kevin Brooks is an incredibly talented writer.