Summertime 1948, and Santa Teresa, California, overflows with cold bourbon and hot neon. Billie Holiday floats from open windows, the Mills Brothers are headlining at the Montelindo Hotel, and the beach roller coaster never stops. The tourist crowd smells like sweat and suntan lotion. The sky is gold, the swimming pools are blue, but in dark alleys and behind closed doors, monsters do their worst.
Private eye Nate Crowe knows a little bit about loving when it’s too late to be loved back. He learned a long time ago that some ghosts don’t wear white, and some things can’t be fixed.
Annie Kahlo is back. She has a gun in her purse, and she’s ready to snap. White Rabbit Hop is a taxicab ride back to dancing on tiles, Roi-Tan cigars, gin on ice, East Coast baseball on the radio, and mermaids with bubble hoses.
Bring a nickel with you in case you need a payphone.
Bob Bickford recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest suspense, WHITE RABBIT HOP:
Without spoilers, are there any genre conventions you wanted to upend or challenge with this book?
This is California noir, with all the classic cues that made us fall in love with Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald. It’s in color though, not black and white…and just like in real life, remarkable women do all the heavy lifting.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
This is romance, told in a hard-boiled LA noir story. The best way to do romance is from the corner of your eye. We always remember Bogart and Bergman at the foggy airport, but rarely remember ‘Casablanca’ was actually a wartime drama.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Above all, I’ve admired Raymond Chandler. He broke all the rules so beautifully they became new rules. I admire Robert B. Parker for walking in his footsteps, and his clean, sweet language. I love Zelda Fitzgerald, because she wrote very little, but it was all perfect.
What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you about this book, or your work in general? And, please answer the question too!
Q: “Is this a true story?”
A: Yes. The best stories are always true.
When he was little, Bob Bickford haunted the library. He hunted for good stories, found himself lost in pages, and daydreamed about becoming a writer. When he grew older, real life got in the way, and paychecks became more urgent than classes or degrees. The dream was filed under “impossible things” and nearly forgotten. After years spent in various corners of the United States and Canada, he dusted off his imagination and became a writer-by-night. He hunts for good stories once again, and he still haunts the library.
For more about the author and his work, please visit his website.