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White Rabbit

White Rabbit

5.0 1
by David Daniel

The Sixties — San Francisco, Haight-Ashbury, the Summer of Love. It’s a wistful memory for some, and it brings envious sighs for those too late to experience it. David Daniel vividly recreates that world and its legends in White Rabbit - and then injects a harsh dissonance into the flower children’s songs of peace, love, sex, and marijuana.


The Sixties — San Francisco, Haight-Ashbury, the Summer of Love. It’s a wistful memory for some, and it brings envious sighs for those too late to experience it. David Daniel vividly recreates that world and its legends in White Rabbit - and then injects a harsh dissonance into the flower children’s songs of peace, love, sex, and marijuana. It is easy to see that the collection of young people who gathered in San Francisco in those few summers could be tempting prey for a murderous sociopath. They discarded their real names, had no set address, hid from their families, were often stoned. And they took one another at face value, asking no questions.

The search for the killer leads to an unusual collaboration. Can a no-frills police officer, grieving for his dead wife, stepped down from homicide detective to vice cop, have anything in common with a young hippie woman who writes for an alternative newspaper and whose lover is determined to turn a demonstration for peace in Vietnam into a violent revolution? Both seek the killer, working from opposite ends of 60’s society, and mistrusting each other. Sparrow has his enemies in the SFPD; Amy has doubts about her lover’s plans for violent action. Both are aware that cooperation between them and the sharing of their special knowledge is their only option. By the breathtaking climax, where Amy herself becomes the target, it is clear to Sparrow that he must confront the killer and his own demons as well in order to save her, his city — and himself. Daniel has wonderfully captured the joys and frenzies of the Haight-Ashbury streets in those spirited days. For all of us who missed the Summer of Love, for whatever reason, White Rabbit is a fascinating trip, serial killer and all.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Death Tripper, a serial killer, is stalking San Francisco at the height of the hippie era in David Daniel's (The Heaven Stone) new mystery, White Rabbit, a vivid, even-handed portrait of that tumultuous time. John Sparrow, a homicide cop, and Amy Cole, a writer for an underground newspaper, mustn't let their initial mutual distrust interfere with their common goal of bringing the killer to bay. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
It is 1967, and a serial killer has targeted flower children in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district. Homicide inspector John Sparrow, temporarily assigned to the case but known for his past successes, discovers how to communicate with the reticent hippies. He and Amy Cole, a reporter for a small alternative newspaper in the district, trade insights that eventually lead to the murderer. A heady Sixties atmosphere, police procedural details, a new Latino detective partner, familial subplots, and familiar San Francisco backdrops make this a pleasure to read. Readers who enjoy Daniel's Alex Rasmussen series might want to check this one out. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Daniel leaves New England (Murder at the Baseball Hall of Fame, 1996, etc.) to float back to 1967 San Francisco, where flower children like New York Ned and his old lady Christine flock to share the love, smoke some weed, and listen to groups like New Riders of the Apocalypse, whose members—classically-trained Eric Lindgard, lady-killer Vince Russo, Joe Williams, Toad Madden, and their lead singer, a fiery vamp known only as Circe—share a house in the heart of Haight-Ashbury. While the Riders seek a higher groove, four other Haight housemates—college sweethearts Amy Cole and Seth Green, loopy Jester O’Neill, and artist Tess Ferriera—promote social change in their underground weekly, The Rag. But dark forces conspire to subvert the peace-and-love agenda. SFPD ex-Homicide chief George Moon is eager to use the Summer of Love as an excuse to let his anti-subversive TAC squad bust some heads, and a serial killer is carving up hippies, leaving a flower with each mutilated corpse. Hounded by the straight press (never mind the radical Rag), Moon’s politically ambitious successor Frank Austin calls detective John Sparrow back from Vice, where he went as much to lick his wounds after his unsuccessful investigation of a string of North Beach murders as to recover from his wife’s death. But even Sparrow’s courage and intelligence may not be enough to catch a killer who leaves no clues at all. Subtle and evocative, with a finely spun mystery whose solution doesn’t quite live up to its promise.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.78(w) x 8.54(h) x 1.29(d)

Meet the Author

David Daniel’s first mystery novel, The Heaven Stone, was a winner of the St. Martin’s/Private Eye Writers first novel contest and a Shamus award nominee. He lives in Westford, Massachusetts and is on the adjunct faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and at Middlesex Community College.

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White Rabbit 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1967 everybody coming to San Francisco seems to wear flowers in their hair as the city gears up to what seems as a half million strong during the summer of love. However, someone does not want somebody to love, killing three hippies and mutilating their smiling faces in the Haight district. Well-respected SFPD detective John Sparrow works the investigation that has made the usually cool city streets hotter than a matchstick. At a news conference, underground newspaper The Rag reporter Amy Cole introduces herself to John, but neither trusts the other. She sees him as a kind of a drag pig unable to accept an alternate lifestyle. He believes she is just another associate of the drugged crazies. Though unhappy together, they need to make up their mind and come together to insure a murderer pays the pied piper. Demanding his respect, she guides him through doors closed by those residents, who all they need is love, a joint, and no interaction with oinkers claiming to have built this city. Soon both become believers that teaming up may enable them to stop, stop, stop a killer. If this novel were just a nostalgic piece the Woodstock Generation would still want to read it. However, instead David Daniel scribes a pleasant police procedural that provides the audience with a reflective look back at the love summer in the City on the Bay. The investigation is cleverly designed so that cross-generation readers will gain plenty of pleasure from this treasure that lets the sun shine on the Age of Aquarius. Harriet Klausner