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review 2018-01-19 02:18
A change of pace for the series, but just as good as the rest
The Falls (Inspector Rebus, #12) - Ian Rankin

If anyone can do it, John, you can. I've always had confidence in your sheer pig-headedness and inability to listen to your senior officers.


After the last few novels which were characterized by several interlocking stories, The Falls centers on the disappearance of a young woman -- Philippa Balfour. Flip is the daughter of an important banker, a student of sorts, and frequently the girlfriend of one of the least appealing young men you've met lately. She never showed up for a night of drinking with friends and her father's influence got the police involved much more quickly than they would have otherwise. There are few that hold out much hope for a happy resolution to this case, but until a body shows up, that's how they have to proceed.

 

Now, just because I said there's only one case at the core of this book, that doesn't mean it's just one story. There's the typical investigation, undertaken by a large number of detectives and under media scrutiny. Then there's something that catches Rebus' eye, which leads him on one path. Siobhan Clarke finds another loose strand to pull at, and uses much of her off-the-clock time following that. The two are aware of what the other is doing, but neither is all that interested in it. Readers, of course, know that one or both of them are going to make more progress than the rest of the Force and can just enjoy watching them.

 

That's the strength of this book -- Rebus finds some evidence that might tie this crime to others throughout Scotland over the past few decades. He clearly specializes in historical investigations, and it's clearly a good idea for him to go down that path. Siobhan's got a more tech-savvy take on it (and she doesn't have all the skills necessary for that kind of work, but she's able to stumble along with some help. Watching both of these two mavericks at work was such a blast (Siobhan once again is confronted with her colleagues pointing out her methods and focus approximating Rebus'). The actual solution to the mystery of Flip's appearance was very satisfying and well-executed.

I spent a good deal of time missing Brian Holmes during the early pages -- the DS that Siobhan is partnered up with just stressed how much isn't Brian. And it goes downhill from there. Brian might not have been my favorite supporting character, but wow -- he's so much better than everyone else Siobhan has worked with (other than DI Rebus, of course). Maybe it helps that he was involved with that librarian, so he wasn't trying to start something with her (minor spoiler, sorry).

 

The book starts with Watson's retirement (not the last we see of him, which is nice), and newly-minted DCS Gill Templar has her work cut out for her. Not only does she need to lead the search for the missing daughter of an important Edinburgh banker, but she has to establish her authority. The way she goes about it rubs some the wrong way, and you have to wonder how long she can maintain things. Siobhan's take on her new boss shows a good amount of discernment. One thing's for sure, Rebus is going to miss Farmer Watson (but not his coffee).

 

Speaking of Gill, Rebus has a new romantic interest in The Falls, Jean Burchill. I liked Jean more than I ever liked Gill, Patience (low bar, there) or any of the others that have graced these pages. Her husband had been an alcoholic (of a different sort than Rebus), and sees Rebus' vices in a very different light than other have. She doesn't approve, but she can approach them more realistically than Patience ever did. I fear she won't be around long, but that's hopefully just cynicism on my part. (feel free to leave me in the dark on that front down in the comment box, folks).

 

Not just Farmer's retirement, but Rebus has to deal with loss and a greater sense of mortality at points here. He and his contemporaries can't help but sense their own retirement days approaching/looming. Also, Rebus may not add to his enemies list within the Police, but he's deepened the antagonism a few have toward him. At one point, he goes out of his way to cultivate that -- for a good reason, in his mind at least. But I'm not sure if he's ever come closer to losing his job. Who knows what'd happen to him if that day comes.

 

This is one of those covers that makes you wish cover designers had to read the book -- an inconsequential point, but when Rebus actually got to the titular location, I had to shake my head. (Other cover images I've seen for this aren't as misleading).

 

This might not be as powerfully told, or as sweeping as some of the recent books have been. But I'm not sure I've enjoyed reading a Rebus novel more than this one -- and could've easily read it in one sitting. This will be sure to please Rebus fans and could easily make some, too.

 

2018 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/01/18/the-falls-by-ian-rankin
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review 2017-12-27 02:28
The Past and Present Collide for Rebus and Clarke
Set in Darkness - Ian Rankin

This has all the elements of a good Rebus novel -- and then some.

 

We've got a murder that took place so long ago that there are almost no living witnesses or suspects, a very contemporary murder, Rebus in political trouble, Rebus being self-destructive, and a couple of cases that have nothing whatsoever to do with the murders -- oh, and Big Ger Cafferty shows up to do something horrible (and something helpful).

 

Farmer John is near retirement and comes up with an assignment to keep Rebus out of his hair -- he's part of a task force overseeing security on the construction for the impending Parliament. This construction uncovers a murder victim and Rebus and the rest of the task force begin investigating. They can barely get started when another corpse shows up. This one is very fresh, and very connected to a prominent family -- politically and culturally. I'm not going to get into this much more than that -- there's a lot of good stuff in these cases, most of which we've seen variations of before. This doesn't make it bad, it's very Rebus-y material, told the way we've come to expect.

 

The part of the book that fascinated me were the crimes that had little to do with the murders. Siobhan Clarke starts off the book doing some work on a sexual assault case that isn't really hers, and then witnesses a suicide of a homeless man. This homeless man turns out to have plenty of money in the bank and a history that cannot account for that. Clarke threatens at times to take over the book with her investigations. Not just from her investigation, but the way that one uniformed officer describes her as "one of Rebus'" and the introspection, speculation and reaction to that observation causes in Clarke's life and work. (Incidentally, Clarke taking over the novel would be fine with me)

 

One of the storylines is perfect -- there's almost no interaction with any police characters, and resolves largely off-screen. Basically the way that most storylines actually resolve in the world. There are payoffs in the novel as a whole, but not in the way you'd expect.

 

Really well-constructed with almost no dull moments, puzzles that you can't suss out at first glance, and a whole lot of great characters. There's not a lot for the courts to deal with at the end of this book, but that doesn't mean that there's no justice found for any victims.This isn't the best Rebus novel I've read, but it's really, really good.

 

2017 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/12/26/set-in-darkness-by-ian-rankin
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review 2017-12-22 02:47
Rather Be the Devil (Rankin)
Rather Be the Devil - Ian Rankin

Rankin is reliable for me. I enjoy his individualistic officers, and I rarely anticipate more than small parts of his plot unravellings. That said, there were so many evil-doers of various stripes in this novel that, though I followed the denouement as I was reading it, I couldn't if you paid me reconstruct for you now the interrelationships between a cold case murder of a woman in a hotel, the murder of a retired cop turned bouncer who was looking into the cold case, some nasty international goings-on (including a brutal Ukrainian money-launderer) and power politics in Edinburgh's gang underworld, featuring Rebus' nemesis, big Ger Cafferty, and Cafferty's heir-apparent.

 

Doesn't matter much. There is a curious and persistent echo between Rebus and Cafferty, both nominally retired, both pulling themselves back from the brink of possible annihilation (Rebus has a threatening shadow on his lung), both essentially and very much "not dead yet." With only a fraction of the multitude of evil-doers meeting anything like a just fate, this strange, stubborn survival is what passes for a hopeful ending in Rankin's dark, complicated Edinburgh.

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review 2017-12-13 02:00
Rebus investing a cold case and a kidnapping
Rather Be the Devil - Ian Rankin

John Rebus is supposed to be retired. But he is still active as a cold case is linked to a new case.

 

A lot of talking to witnesses and tried to figure out what's going on.

 

The tone is pretty good and there isn't much action in this. The detective story read more like a literary work than an action packed story that I usually read.

 

So... I do find it a bit slow. 

 

Related image

 

I like the general feel of the story. But not so much of the story itself. Things move a bit faster after Rebus has guessed who did what and why.

 

But by that time, I might have already lost interest to find out the details. 

 

It is a 3.5 stars read for me. 

 

This is my Task 1 : Book themes for Día de Muertos and All Saint’s Day:  A book that has a primarily black and white cover, or one that has all the colours (ROYGBIV) together on the cover.

 

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review 2017-12-06 03:41
An Interesting Look at a Road not Taken for Rankin's Rebus
Death Is Not the End: A Novella - Ian Rankin

I used Goodreads' ordering of the Rebus series to determine when I read this novella -- other sites might have led me to read this before Dead Souls, as it was published. I might have gotten more out of this book if I'd read it in that order, but it might have hurt the novel. I'm not sure.

 

Basically, this is one of the subplots of Dead Souls -- Rebus' looking for the missing son of a people he knew in school -- in its original form. It'd be modified, expanded, and given a different ending in the novel. There's a subplot, mildly related, involving organized crime and gambling -- in much the same way that other crimes were associated with the missing person's case in Dead Souls.

 

It is interesting to see how Rankin wrote something, and then came back a couple of years later and repurposed it. But that's about all I have to say for this. It was interesting -- but the version in the novel is better. The subplot didn't do much for me, either. It was okay, but it really didn't seem necessary.

 

The completist in me is glad I read it, but I think I'd have been okay with missing it, too.

 

2017 Library Love Challenge

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