Rebus 21. Rankin is one of my favourite authors so I tend to enjoy whatever he writes. Especially Rebus.
In this adventure we find Rebus simultaneously investigating a cold case of 40 years standing and trying to stop all out gang war in Edinburgh in the present.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it. Unlike previous Rebus adventures this one left me thinking a lot about Rebus' constant adversary Big Ger Cafferty for a long time after I'd finished the book.
A very short book - 48 pages - by one of my favourite authors.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it's about a student who goes to Paris and works in a book shop in exchange for room and board. He meets a mysterious man and things get interesting from there. In spite of it being short it is unpredicatable and thus a very satsifying read.
No Rebus in sight.
As a Scot I am (almost) ashamed to admit that I have never read any of Ian Rankin's crime books, and feeling decidedly humble, I feel ready to change this and am intrigued by the adoration he and his books seem to generate. There are so many to choose from and I just wonder what is the best one to start with, read, or even your favourite? That way I can choose a good one to read?
Review first published on my blog:
This is a re-read for me, but it was so long ago that I read it the first time, I couldn't remember much about it. I had also forgotten how much I enjoy the Rebus books.
The Delightful Mr F and I used to live close to Edinburgh, and whilst we never developed local knowledge of the city, the descriptions are enough to bring the spirit of Edinburgh through. The elegant streets of the new town against the creepy cobbled alleyways of the old town are all used to great effect as a serial killer kidnaps girls and murders them leaving cryptic clues.
Rebus is a wonderful character, he's a proper hard boiled cop. Hard drinking, a good judge of character and in it up to his neck. There is a nice parallel story about the relationship between Rebus and his brother.
If you want a good mystery, set in a wonderful and atmospheric location with a nasty baddie, and some believable characters then you can't go far wrong. I have book 2 on my shelves, which I think I shall save for the Christmas break. I can feel a reading binge coming on.
This is Ian Rankin's latest John Rebus story and it's excellent for all the reasons that Rankin's books are so good (even the non-Rebus books, but especially the Rebus books). Rankin tells a believable story and tells it very well. The plot never drags. The people all behave believably, so that there's no super villain with near-psychic powers and our heroes are not always in terrible danger. There are some very bad people who do very bad things, but they are all the kinds of bad things you read about in the newspaper, which makes what happens sadly realistic. And the crimes are solved with good, insightful police work by Rebus and others.
Rankin is also top notch at characterization. Rebus, Siobhan Clarke, and Matthew Fox are all people we already feel like we know. While they are always true to themselves, they also change in the same way that people often change over time: Rebus follows the rules a little better than he used to, Clarke has grown more authoritative as she has advanced in rank, and Matthew Fox is much less certain of right and wrong than he used to be (he's moved from Complaints to CID). I loved that all 3 of them worked together in this book. I like Fox more than some people (my mother) do and so I was glad to see him brought into the fold.
There are two main stories. A car wreck in the middle of nowhere that seems straightforward is not straightforward at all and the person who notices and follows up in the face of all sorts of official resistance is Rebus. I thought that part of the story was great because it gave Rebus a chance to show what makes him so great as a detective.
Then Rebus himself is the subject of an investigation into a very old case in which the more senior men he worked with as a young police officer are accused of having hidden or destroyed evidence that would have convicted one of their most important informants of murder. This group called themselves "The Saints of the Shadow Bible" and while Rebus was technically part of it, he was the youngest and newest member and we think that he doesn't seem to have known much about what was going on. The reason they are being investigated now is that the Scottish justice system just eliminated the concept of double jeopardy (which I think may actually be the case). But someone isn't happy about having the investigation opened up and people are turning up dead, so the investigation becomes one of what happened then and what is happening now.
Several of the plot points involve Scottish politics: the double jeopardy issue, the reorganization of the police force, and the referendum on Scottish Independence all feature prominently in the story, without being distracting to those of us who don't know very much about the issues.
If you don't know Rebus, you can start here, but it would be ever so much more satisfying to read the books in order, reading this one last. I remember when I discovered the Aubrey/Maturin books realizing that the author was very old and probably didn't have a lot more books in him. He had more than I feared, but in the same vein, I'm happy to report that Ian Rankin is only 53 and should have many more Rebus books in him. I know Rebus is getting old, but I've decided that Rankin can make time plastic the way Patrick O'Brian did.