AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK // REVIEW BY CRAIG KELLY
Luis Paredes has created something special with his novella, Out on a Limb. In 117 short pages, he has woven a story that’s part crime, part urban fantasy, and entirely captivating.
We’re dropped into the life of private occult investigator Rebecca Suarez and her partner, Peyton Marx. Peyton is a rabbit—yes, you read that right—and he is without doubt the star of this short, punchy novella.
If a talking rabbit seems odd, that’s because it is. But, within a few paragraphs I had happily accepted this spunky character who acts as the perfect foil to the more reserved Rebecca. Peyton performs several functions beyond being one of the most entertaining characters I’ve read in a while. A foil, yes, but also a seamless way to draw the reader into the fantastical elements of this story.
The test of urban fantasy is whether the story could stand if you plopped it into the real world. That is not in question here. Strip away the magic, the occult, and the mythology and you’d have little left. As you can imagine from a short novella, we don’t get pages and pages of world-building. However, the setting is carefully crafted to bring this speculative story to life.
The novella begins with Rebecca and Peyton being called to a gruesome crime scene where a tree—yes, a tree—has eaten several people. You can see why the police felt the need to call in occult specialists, although initially the scene does not shock Rebecca and Peyton. ‘This wasn’t even the most disturbing assignment’ the team had taken on, we’re told.
But their shock is ramped up a few degrees as it becomes clear the situation is ongoing.
Paredes then takes the reader on a typical journey through a crime investigation. If by ‘typical’ we mean one that involves rabbit detectives, magic, and creepy kids.
There were a few more typos than you might expect in a published work, particularly towards the end of the book. This didn’t hamper my reading, nor did it pull me out of the story, but if I must nit-pick, this is where I’ll do it.
Let me stress—this is a phenomenal novella. It’s one of my favourite reads of 2023 so far! I couldn’t recommend it enough.
It’s hard to believe Luis Paredes packed so much into 117 pages. However, beyond the minor typos, I have one major gripe—I wish there was more!
Out on a Limb | By Luis Paredes | 117 pp. | Platypus Book Press | Paperback £8.49