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review 2017-04-20 03:52
Rebus takes a bite out of crime in London
Tooth and Nail - Ian Rankin

She drives home the knife.

The moment, she knows from past experience, is a very intimate one. Her hand is gripped around the knife's
cool handle and the thrust takes the blade into the throat up to the hilt until her hand meets the throat itself. Flesh upon flesh. Jacket first, or woollen jersey, cotton shirt or T-shirt, then flesh. Now rent. The knife is writhing, like an animal sniffing. Warm blood covering hilt and hand. (The other hand covers the mouth, stifling screams.) The moment is complete. A meeting. Touching. The body is hot, gaping, warm with blood. Seething inside, as insides become outsides. Boiling. The moment is coming to an end all too soon.

And still she feels hungry. It isn't right, isn't usual but she does. She removes some of the clothing; in fact, removes quite a lot of it, removes more, perhaps, than is necessary. And she does what she must do, the knife squirming again. She keeps her eyes screwed tightly shut. She does not like this part. She has never liked this part, not then, not now. But especially not then.

 

Clearly, this is someone who needs to be stopped. And The Powers That Be have brought John Rebus from Edinburgh to London to help the hunt for the Wolfman (yeah, those who tagged the killer with that moniker may have made some assumptions). Thanks to the events in Knots & Crosses, many (who don't know all the details) believe that Rebus is somewhat of an expert in Serial Killers. He knows he's not, but no one asked him -- he was just told to show up. It's not long before this case gets under Rebus' skin and he's no longer in London to kill a couple of days as a show of support for the local police, but he's off to catch a killer.

 

George Flight is the detective who's serving as Rebus' contact -- and is leading the investigation. Rebus notes that he's a better policeman than he is -- meticulous, detailed, going through things step by step. Which isn't doing him a lot of good at the moment, he needs something more. Enter Rebus. By and large, Flight's the only one that wants Rebus' help -- his superior, another detective on the case, and the press liaison are pretty united in their lack of interest in bringing in someone from "Jockland" to meddle in the crimes of the big city.

 

As Rebus arrives in London, another body is discovered, so he shows up at the crime scene with his luggage, from there, they head to an autopsy -- rushed, no doubt given the likelihood that this is another Wolfman victim. The autopsy scene -- the sights, sounds and smells -- is one of the best (possibly the best) that I've seen along these lines. It felt real, it felt disgusting, it felt sad. Between this and the opening paragraphs (quoted above), I'm again reminded that Rankin knows what he's doing when it comes to writing. He nails this stuff.

 

While he's in town, Rebus visits his ex-wife and daughter -- things go poorly there, as one would expect. Things go worse when his daughter's boyfriend comes around. When Rebus is able to connect said boyfriend to a career criminal . . .

 

I'm no expert on this, but I've read more than a few serial killer novels, it strikes me that 1992 was still pretty early in serial killer fiction-terms, and it shows. Both in Rebus' attempts to draw the killer out, as well as Flight's attempts to catch him. We also get to see both detectives trying to understand the serial killer -- or at least how to apprehend one. Flight's more old-school in his approach and is pretty disdainful of Rebus' efforts to get inside the head of a serial killer. Which is not to say that this particular killer isn't destructive, sick and really creepy.

 

Rebus is spurred on to this track because of who he is -- but the attractive psychologist, Lisa Frazer, who wants to help him out certainly doesn't hurt. It could be argued by some (including some characters in the book) that Rebus is far more interested in pursuing her than the Wolfman.

 

Rebus mostly stumbles around, indulging his infatuation with Frazer, looking for his daughter's boyfriend, and occasionally chatting with Flight about the case. Now eventually, enough things happened that allow Rebus to put things together and figure out the identity of the Wolfman (sorta like when Wilson made a stray comment to Dr. House that got him to make the right diagnosis). Sure, it was clever, but hard to believe.

 

Early on, I thought this might be the book that turned me into a Rankin fan, not just some guy reading these. It came close, but I just couldn't totally buy the ending and the way Rebus solved the case. But man, Rankin can write. I'm not totally sold on what he's writing, but I'm really enjoying the craft. I was hooked throughout, but that ending just didn't work.

 

2017 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/04/19/tooth-and-nail-by-ian-rankin
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review 2017-04-05 17:56
Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin - My Thoughts
Knots and Crosses - Ian Rankin

Finally trying out a popular UK police procedural.  I do enjoy a good procedural.  And I enjoyed this one for the most part.

In some ways, John Rebus reminds me a little of my beloved Armand Gamache in that he's well-read, thoughtful, and somewhat tortured by things in his past.  My problem is that Rebus is also kind of a jerk.  I really didn't warm up to him much at all.  And his supporting cast wasn't all that likable either.

I thought there was a lot of faffing about in the first half of the book - a lot of delving into Rebus' psyche and woe-is-me attitudes and not a lot about the search for the burgeoning serial killer.  Which might have worked better for me had I felt a liking for Rebus.  *LOL*

As for the mystery of the kidnappings and murders, I suspected it pretty early on, but there were some twists and turns I wasn't expecting.

So, end result, it was a decent read and I'll read more about Inspector Rebus and hope that I grow to like him a little better.  :)

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text 2017-04-04 14:53
Reading progress update: I've read 98 out of 216 pages.
Dark Entries - Ian Rankin,Werther Dell'Edera

kind of a Horror snack--I can see why the few reviews at BookLikes are negative, but I'm being mildly entertained by this "haunted house on Reality TV" tale. this was a gift, so I thought I'd get around to reading it, even though I'm not in touch with the giver anymore. anyway, it's quick and a bit unsettling, and I'm not sure there will be much more on offer than that.

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text 2017-03-26 17:04
Reading progress update: I've read 4 out of 216 pages.
Dark Entries - Ian Rankin,Werther Dell'Edera

this will be the first time I get a look at John Constantine as a main character in anything--certainly when it comes to graphic novels; he's shown up as a guest-star in at least one DC/Vertigo supernatural thing I've read, somewhere along the line. of course he seemed intriguing. now I'll put him in the spotlight...though I'm not sure where this story fits in with the main Hellblazer material. I'll learn--and hopefully enoy--as I go.

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review 2017-03-17 04:35
wherein a ramble a bit, but don't have a lot to say, about Rebus #2
Hide and Seek - Ian Rankin

Now, this is more like it. You've got a seasoned detective who sees something that just doesn't jibe -- a routine O. D. that just doesn't look right. At least to him -- everyone else (including the detective who'd normally be assigned to the case) is good with the obvious answer. Not at all shockingly, there is more than meets the eye to this death.

 

Rebus' ex and daughter have moved away, his brother is in jail, Gill is now seeing a DJ (who seems to be pretty popular), and Rebus has a new boss (and a promotion) -- so outside of Rebus himself, there's not a whole lot to tie the two novels together. It's not just his coply intuition (to borrow Jesse Stone's phrase), it's some occult symbolism, a stolen camera, and the testimony of a near-witness that make Rebus continue to investigate. He spends time with druggies, students, male prostitutes, artists, academics, and the upper crust of local society in an effort to explain the death.

 

There's something to Rankin's prose that elevates it above most of what you find in Police Procedurals -- I can't put my finger on it, but you can feel it. The description of the corpse was fantastic, filled with those little details that will stick with me longer than your typical macabre tableau à la Thomas Harris or Val McDermid. The closing image was just as strong -- ambiguous, but striking. I can't wait to see what he does as he becomes a better writer.

 

Rebus isn't good with people -- family, friends, co-workers, lovers -- he drinks and smokes too much, and cares more about police work than anything else. Even when he makes an effort with people (not part of a case), it just doesn't go well at all -- we've seen this character before, but it still works -- readers just like this kind of cop.

 

So much of this feels (when you think back on it -- or when you start to realize what he's doing in a scene/with a character) like something you've seen before -- maybe several times. Even by 1991 standards. But when you're reading it, somehow , Rankin makes it feel fresh. I should note, incidentally, that a lot of what you think you've seen before, you maybe haven't, if you give him enough time. He didn't cheat with the solution, or how it was reached -- but it felt like it came out of nowhere (it didn't). That's good enough for me.

 

That's 2 down, 19 to go. Knots & Crosses felt like a character study, a good crime novel. Hide and Seek, on the other hand, feels like someone is building/introducing a series. It's a subtle difference, but important. I'm reminded of the difference between Parker's The Godwulf Manuscript and God Save the Child. It's only going to get better from here. I really like this character, even if I'm not doing a good job talking about him -- I think that'll change in forthcoming books. Once Rankin stops establishing the character/building the series' foundation and starts building.Also, I look forward to getting a better understanding of Rankin's use of the term "Calvinist." This one was good, solid writing with a satisfying story -- not dazzling, but everything you want in a procedural.

2017 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/03/16/hide-and-seek-by-ian-rankin
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