I sometimes wonder if Ian Rankin regrets his decision to write these books in real time, with John Rebus ageing as each new novel appears. Here we see him in his twilight years, retired from the police and in the grip of something of a physical decline, even forced to move to a downstairs flat due to his COPD. His mortality is not the focal point of this tale by any means, but it’s always a discomfiting presence in the peripheral vision. All the usual gang are here of course, including Siobhan Clarke, Malcolm Fox (a character I’ve never really warmed to personally), and of course Rebus’s nemesis Big Ger Cafferty. The story has two separate threads, an investigation by Rebus into his missing son in law, and the murder of a Saudi playboy which falls under the remit of Clarke and Fox. As always, Rankin builds the tension and intrigue expertly throughout, before tying up all the loose ends with his usual consummate skill as the plot reaches its climax – and just when you think it’s all over, he still manages to end things on a cliffhanger. As well written and readable as we’ve come to expect over the years from Rankin, this is a worthy addition to the Rebus canon, and one that fans of the series will love.
Length of Read:Medium
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Rebus fans, and those who like a good police based thriller. Incidentally, there was an interesting Word In Your Ear interview with Rankin not too long ago, which is well worth your time seeking out whether you like these novels or not, as he has some interesting musical tastes and tales.
One thing you’ve learned
The title of the book comes from a homemade compilation cd Siobhan Clarke gives to Rebus for in car listening. Frustratingly the track listing isn’t revealed but among the artists it features are Tull, The Clash, Eno, Mogwai and John Martyn – rather an intriguing and eclectic mix!