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review 2018-03-06 04:07
A Brilliant Novel about Second and (almost?) Last Chances
Resurrection Men: An Inspector Rebus Novel (Inspector Rebus Novels) - Ian Rankin

Another ghost in need of justice. Rebus had confessed to her once, after too many late-night drinks in the Oxford Bar, that he saw ghosts. Or didn’t see them so much as sense them. All the cases, the innocent -- and not so innocent -- victims . . . all those lives turned into CID files . . . They were always more than that to him. He’d seemed to see it as a failing, but Siobhan hadn’t agreed.

 

<i>We wouldn’t be human if they didn’t get to us</i>, she’d told him. His look had stilled her with its cynicism, as if he were saying that “human” was the one thing they weren’t supposed to be.


Thanks to sickness, a little bit of travel, and general increased busy-ness in my non-blog life, I almost missed my monthly check-in with John Rebus. Thankfully, for my Bookish-OCD, I made it just in time. Even better? This was one of the best in the series.

 

Rebus' drinking and displeasure at Gill Templar's handling of a murder investigation results in him being sent back to school. Literally. There's a "retraining" course at the Police College for long-serving officers with discipline problems -- sort of a last chance before the end of the road. These detectives are pretty similar, they've (mostly) been at this for years and aren't going to change, no matter what happens in the course. Most of them know each other by reputation, Rebus is well-known, apparently -- and he knows another classmate by reputation, he's "the Glasgow Rebus." After some counseling sessions, and some class lectures, the detectives are given a cold case to work to help learn something about teamwork. A couple of the detectives were associated with the original investigation in Glasgow, and even Rebus brushed up against it in Edinburgh. It's not so clear how much teamwork is being learned, it's clear that there are people who know things about the case that aren't in the files -- and they're not sharing.

 

There is something about the case that could involve Big Ger, so guess who gets volunteered to talk to him? Rebus is not the only one talking to Cafferty, Siobhan Clarke (now a DS) has a couple of conversations with him. Watching Cafferty try to treat the two of the similarly, with different results, was quite entertaining -- Clarke reacts to him differently than Rebus, but she doesn't take the same angle with him that I think most would. I look forward to seeing the two of them lock horns in the future.

 

Speaking of Siobhan -- never call her Shiv, by the way -- once again, she threatened to take over the book for the first half or so. Rebus' drinking with the other problem police and their cold case just didn't grab my attention at first. But Siobhan's dealing with the investigation -- without her mentor to bounce ideas off of -- and the various and sundry male detectives around her. Some of which work with her just fine, others . . . not so much -- at the end of the day, DS Clarke is the one who puts the case together, and in a pretty compelling way. Did I enjoy things a little bit more when Rebus came along to interact with a bit? Yeah, but it wasn't necessary. I also like the way that Rebus and Templar were the ones (along with Siobhan herself) noticing her doing things like Rebus this time, not just other police. He's clearly left his stamp on her -- for good or ill, the trick is watching her approach things the way he would, but remaining her own person. Which she has so far -- and, I bet, will continue to do so.

 

But this is a Rebus novel, at the end of the day, and he does get the better material -- as I mentioned, he interacts with Siobhan some because he and the others come to Edinburgh to follow a pretty shaky lead (mostly, it's an excuse to get away from the college and drink somewhere else). Around this point, that storyline became more intriguing -- and it did end up being the better part of the novel.

 

No one will ever say that the Rebus novels are a fun romp, but there was something about Rankin's writing in <b>Resurrection Men</b> that seemed darker than usual -- not a darkness because of violence or anything, just in the telling. Everything seemed worse, everything seemed sinister -- it's hard to put my finger on it exactly, but there was something grim going on. Yeah, I laughed a couple of times, smiled more often than that, but overall, the noir in this book was blacker. We see areas of Rebus' psyche we haven't seen much of before -- ditto for Clarke -- we also get some good Rebus/Cafferty backstory.

 

The structure of this novel is the real star -- it was just perfect -- we get a couple of mysteries to watch our detectives solve, plus a couple of other things go on. It even seems like Rankin doles out the information in an unusual way, only telling us what we need to know when we need to know it -- there are times when we're more in the dark than Rebus because he's hiding the information from his fellow Last-Chancers and us (what does that say about Rankin's readers?), but it works -- this isn't a case of a mystery writer cheating, it's a deliberate attempt to build suspense. Complex without being complicated, brilliantly plotted but not in a way that feels totally organic. At a certain point, the way that all the storylines end up seem inevitable (even when you're still not sure who the various killers are going to be), yet you're surprised when the inevitable happens. But along the way, each step in the stories, each reveal, each development catches you off guard. Just fantastic structure to the book.

 

I thought it was strange that Rankin started this one off (I'm guessing for the American edition only) with a little description of the Scottish Police's organization and rankings, which was nice (but most readers can figure it out on their own). Also included was a list of the cast of characters -- organized by storyline. That was helpful, too. Unnecessary, but very nice. I'm not sure why these were used, but I'll take them.

 

This one checked almost every one of my boxes -- at least once, and never didn't hold my interest. Rankin clearly knows what he's doing and you should read this one -- and the twelve before it.


<a href="http://angelsguiltypleasures.com/2018-library-love-challenge-review-link-ups/" target="_blank"><img class="aligncenter" style="border:none;height:auto;width:300px;" src="http://angelsguiltypleasures.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/2018LibraryLoveChallenge07-400x400-angelsgp.jpg" alt="2018 Library Love Challenge" /></a>

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/03/05/resurrection-men-by-ian-rankin
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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 2017-11-02 08:00
A Good Hanging
Ian Rankin: The Complete Short Stories: A Good Hanging, Beggars Banquet, Atonement - Ian Rankin

My first Rebus, after I had already watched the BBC series, which I liked. So I was interested in reading a book, and this was the one the library was offering when I went there.

It was an easy and nice read. The detective is quite cliche with its grumpy, alcoholic detective, but it's enjoyable anyway. I still want to read more books in this series, but haven't yet find the time to do so, unfortunately.

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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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review 2013-12-20 11:19
Saints of the Shadow Bible
Saints of the Shadow Bible - Ian Rankin

bookshelves: e-book, britain-scotland, currently-reading, winter-20132014, series, published-2013, cults-societies-brotherhoods, mystery-thriller, edinburgh, recreational-drugs, politics

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Carey Combe

 



HUZZAH!! Elmer you are wrong, it is Fox season!!

The description: Rebus and Malcolm Fox go head-to-head when a 30-year-old murder investigation resurfaces, forcing Rebus to confront crimes of the past

Rebus is back on the force, albeit with a demotion and a chip on his shoulder. He is investigating a car accident when news arrives that a case from 30 years ago is being reopened. Rebus's team from those days is suspected of helping a murderer escape justice to further their own ends.

Malcolm Fox, in what will be his last case as an internal affairs cop, is tasked with finding out the truth. Past and present are about to collide in shocking and murderous fashion. What does Rebus have to hide? And whose side is he really on? His colleagues back then called themselves "The Saints," and swore a bond on something called the Shadow Bible. But times have changed and the crimes of the past may not stay hidden much longer -- and may also play a role in the present, as Scotland gears up for a referendum on independence.

Allegiances are being formed, enemies made, and huge questions asked. Who are the saints and who the sinners? And can the one ever become the other?




Opening:

'Where are we going?'
'We're just driving.'
'Driving where though?'
Rebus turned to look at his passenger.


The re-return of Rebus and I love it. There's Shiobhan *waves*, and the tables are turned as she is now Rebus's boss.



IN THE BEGINNING: There's a cold case missing person, a current inexplicable car crash complete with Ugg boot quandry, and a party.

What does the Fox say?
"We both know Rebus has sailed close to the wind – more times than either of us can count. I’m sure you’ve helped him out of a few jams, as have a lot of his other colleagues down the years, and some of them came to grief."


"When I said I was interested in Alison Watt, Pat told me there was a painting by her hanging in the Parliament building."

And the status update music links:
 
 
 
 
48% - "The ringtone Rebus has for Fox's calls"
 
 
 
 
59% - "Waterboys"
 
64% - "'He reached for a CD and slid it home. Spooky Tooth’s second album.'"
 


3* - Knots and Crosses (1987)
4* - Tooth and Nail (1991)
3* - Hide and Seek (1991)
3* - Strip Jack (1992)
4* - A Good Hanging (1992)
3* - The Black Book (1993)
3* - Mortal Causes (1994)
3* - Let it Bleed (1995)
TR - Blood Hunt (1995) (paperback in bedroom TBR mountain)
4* - Black and Blue (1997)
3* - The Hanging Garden (1998)
3* - Dead Souls (1999)
3* - Set in Darkness (2000)
4* - The Falls (2001)
4* - Resurrection Men (2002)
2* - Beggar's Banquet (2002)
4* - A Question of Blood (2003)
4* - Fleshmarket Close (2004)
2* - Rebus's Scotland (2005)
4* - The Naming Of The Dead(2006)
4* - Exit Music (2007)
4* - The complaints (2009)
5* - Standing in Another Man's Grave
4.5* - Saints of the Shadow Bible
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