Excerpt from Down The Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Down The Rabbit Hole

An Echo Falls Mystery

By Peter Abrahams

Down The Rabbit Hole
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2005,
    384 pages.
    Paperback: May 2006,
    448 pages.

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"Uh-huh," said Ingrid, although every night would be pushing it, if by "every night" Dr. Binkerman meant every single night, night after night after night ad nauseam. Ingrid didn't want to get to the nauseam stage, so she never wore the thing on sleepovers, for example, or when she fell asleep reading, or on Friday nights, when she gave herself a regular breather as a reward for getting through the school week; and there might have been other random misses from time to time. She was only human. Still, what business was it of his?

"Keep it up," said Dr. Binkerman.

Keep it up. He said that every time, and every time Ingrid replied, "I will." But this time, for no reason, she said, "For how long?" The words just popping out on their own, the way words sometimes did.

Mary Jane, sticking X rays up on the light box, paused for less than a second, just a tiny hitch in her movement. Dr. Binkerman blinked. "How long?" he said.

How long? Had Dr. Binkerman lost track of the whole point of this? "Till everything's all straight," she said. "Till I'm done."

Ingrid had noticed that people's lips often did things when they were thinking. Some people pursed them, some bit them, some sucked them in between their teeth. Dr. Binkerman was a biter. "Every case is different, as I mentioned way back at the initial consultation with your parents," he said. "You remember that conversation, Ingrid?"

Ingrid remembered: Mom hovering over morphing mouth schematics on the computer screen, Dad checking his watch. "Uh-huh," she said.

"Then you'll remember there are lots of variables," Dr. Binkerman said. He paused. "Like patient cooperation. But all in all, I'd say you were coming along right on schedule." He leaned forward again, pointy silver pliers in hand. "Are we due for an adjustment, Mary Jane?"

Mary Jane glanced at the chart. "Overdue."

Adjustment meant tightening. Tightening didn't hurt much while it was happening, but every turn of the screw made a squeaky sound that seemed to come from right inside Ingrid's head, and reminded her of the Shackleton IMAX movie she'd seen a few weeks before on a class trip—that scene where ice floes slowly crush the ship to death. Over Dr. Binkerman's shoulder, she saw that Mary Jane was watching. Ingrid read the straight answer to her how-much-longer question in Mary Jane's frowning eyes: Till hell freezes over.

"See the receptionist on your way out," said Dr. Binkerman.

Ingrid made her next appointment at the reception counter, then looked out the window to see if Mom or Dad was waiting in the parking lot. Mom drove a three-year-old green Mazda MPV van, an uncool car with uncool bumper stickers that said she supported NPR and the Echo Falls Heritage Committee. Dad drove a silver Audi TT, a very cool car, no doubt about that, with no bumper stickers supporting anything, the only problem being that the TT was really a two-seater, with not much more than shelf space for Ingrid in the back. But shelf space covered in the softest leather Ingrid had ever touched, so it all balanced out, kind of.

Neither car was in the lot. Ingrid hadn't really expected them to be exactly right on time to the minute. Mom and Dad had busy lives. On the far side of the parking lot, a squirrel ran down a branch and leaped to the next tree. Three yellow leaves came loose and drifted to the ground. Ingrid watched how they landed, intact and undamaged, so softly you could hardly call it landing.
 
She sat back down, reopened Seventeen.

—repetitions. Meaning how many times you lift the weight. Reps are divided into sets. For example—

Ingrid tossed the magazine onto the next chair. She knew all this. They had practically a whole gym in their basement at home. Her brother, Ty—her parents had had only one acceptable name in them, and he'd come first—was into sports, and Dad, who was also into sports, especially Ty's, was building him up. Dad was into her sports too, or sport, since she'd rid herself of hockey—too cold—and softball—too slow—and was now down to soccer, the only one she'd ever liked in the first—

From Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams. Copyright © 2005 by Peter Abrahams. All Rights Reserved. Reproduced with the permission of the publisher, HarperCollins. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

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