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review 2018-05-01 01:56
Rebus Deals with Gun Violence on Multiple Fronts
A Question of Blood - Ian Rankin

I'm torn between quotations to open with, on the one hand, you have this one which captures the environment this novel takes place in -- it's a perfect encapsulation of the frustration of so many civilians. Particularly the ones in the town near the focal crime.

 

Fear: the crucial word. Most people would live their whole lives untouched by crime, yet they still feared it, and that fear was real and smothering. The police force existed to allay such fears, yet too often was shown to be fallible, powerless, on hand only after the event, clearing up the mess rather than preventing it.

 

On the other hand, this seems to be the perfect encapsulation of the sentiments of Rebus, Clarke, Hogan and so many (most?) of the police in this novel (and most police novels in general):

 

He checked the radio to see if anything bearable was being broadcast, but all he could find were rap and dance. There was a tape in the player, but it was Rory Gallagher, Jinx, and he wasn't in the mood. Seemed to remember one of the tracks was called “The Devil Made Me Do It.” Not much of a defense these days, but plenty of others had come along in Old Nick‘s place. No such thing as an inexplicable crime, not now that there were scientists and psychologists who’d talk about genes and abuse, brain damage and peer pressure. Always a reason . . . always, it seemed, an excuse.

 

So the story is, an ex-SAS soldier walks in to a school, shoots three students and then kills himself. One of the students -- the son of a local politician -- survives. His dad sees this crime as an opportunity to get himself out of some PR trouble and some prominence -- so he keeps popping up in inopportune places to grandstand and shine a negative light on the police. Which goes a long way to make a complicated situation worse for Bobby Hogan -- the detective running the investigation. There's not much to investigate, the only surviving witness has told his story, the culprit is dead -- but there's a lot of why questions floating around, Hogan's got to try to answer some of them. Hogan knows two things: 1. His friend John Rebus was almost an SAS soldier, so he might understand the mindset of this man better than the rest, and 2. Rebus could use an excuse to get out of Edinburgh for a few days. The Army's in town, doing what it can to shape the narrative -- i.e. "this isn't the way we train our men to be, maybe there's something else going on." Hogan's having trouble getting anywhere, the press isn't helping, and the evidence isn't doing wonders for anyone at all.

 

I liked the fact that we're dealing with Rebus's military past again -- it's largely been untouched (at least to any real depth) since Knots & Crosses, and conversations between Rebus and Clarke show that he hasn't talked to her about it at all. As much as the first book might have helped Rebus deal with some of what happened to him, it's clear that there's more t do. Hopefully, this is the start of it -- at least to help him.

 

The more this crime is investigated, the less it looks as cut-and-dry as it was at the beginning. This was all wonderfully constructed, a strong multi-layered story that'll keep the reader glued to the action to find out what happened (or why it happened). And it's really not the best part of the novel -- it could've been, easily. But no.

 

The reason that Rebus could use a few days away from home base is that he has a mysterious injury. One that could have a completely innocent explanation -- or one that puts him at the center of a suspicious death investigation. There's this creep who's been stalking Clarke, threatening her. Rebus is seen at a bar with him one night, and the next day, he's dead and Rebus is getting medical care that suggests he could have been present at the time of death. Clarke and Hogan believe him because he says he didn't do it. Good ol' Gill Templar isn't sure (raising the question: who knows him best? Siobhan or Gill?), and frankly, none of Rebus' legion of enemies in the police or press are less sure than Templar. There's a little question about letting Siobhan fight her own battles rather than take the avuncular and/or misogynistic approach of helping her. The two get past that pretty quickly, but Clarke harbors a doubt or two about Rebus' involvement.

 

Rebus, actually, wasn't that concerned with protecting Clarke -- he just used that situation to help him with another investigation. Which is typical of him. It's this last story that's really -- in a way -- the center of the whole novel. The events investigated, the motives for a lot of it, and the emotional core are all tied (at the very least) to this story. Rankin's structuring of the novel in this way shows him at his best. And that's really all I can say without ruining the experience for anyone (in fact, I arguably said too much).

 

Then there's the last chapter == which is all I'm going to say about it -- I'm torn. On the one hand, it seems to undercut a lot of the emotional weight of the climactic moments. But that doesn't mean it wasn't believable. It's probably more believable than the alternative. Still .. . it left me dissatisfied. On the other hand, Rankin seems to be setting us up to revisit many of these characters in the future. I bet that'll be worth it.

 

It's hard to come up with things to talk about in a series that's 14 books-old. It's got to be hard to come up with things to talk about with a character that's 14 books-old. Which might be part of the reason that Rankin circled back for another look at the end of Rebus' time with the SAS, which definitely could use another look. How he did it -- and the situations the characters found themselves in regarding that case,and all the others going on -- is what makes Ian Rankin the modern legend that he is. A Question of Blood is one of those books that improves, the more you think about it.

 


2018 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/04/30/a-question-of-blood-by-ian-rankin-rebus-deals-with-gun-violence-on-multiple-fronts
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text 2018-03-29 18:46
"The Chalk Man" Buddy Read & Ask a Question with CJ Tudor: March 29 - April 26, 2018

 

 

Readers are loving The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor. Have you read it? Did you love it? Or maybe the title is sitting on your TBR plie? Or maybe you haven't heard about the book? Eee, impossible! ;)

 

Regardless of your reading experience, feel invited to join The Chalk Man Buddy Read! Let's read The Chalk Man together, and share your thoughts and opinions, find the clues and make the guesses. And find the killer, together!  

 

Join the book club by clicking the following link and then clicking Join, and start reading!

 

 

Make sure to add your reading experiences in The Chalk Man discussion group. Beware of the spoilers! 

 

And if you have any questions about the book or C.J Tudor's writing inspirations and plans, we have a great surprise! C.J. Tudor agreed to answer the questions from BookLikes readers!

 

Add your question(s) in the following discussion group and we'll forward them to C.J. Tudor! Isn't that exciting!?!

 

Go to the Ask a Question with C.J. Tudor group and post your question! 

 

Still not sure if The Chalk Man is for you? Just check those reviews! 

 

The Chalk Man - C.J. TudorThe Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor 

It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran - the Chalk Man. He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body. Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure. Is history going to repeat itself? Was it ever really over? Will this game only end in the same way?

 

BookLikes bloggers book reviews: 

This is pretty dazzling debut, especially given all the clunky "just OK" mysteries that litter my house, library history, recommendations and my Read piles. I'll take a mystery no matter what, but it's very nice to get a good one... read more on "So it goes." blog

 

 

What a crazy book. I loved it from start to finish... by Heather's Book Blog

 

 

"The Chalk Man" has a plot, constructed around violence, secrets, fear, transgression and revenge, that is intricate and not fully disclosed until the final chapter. Yet it is not the plot but the depth of the characterisation of Eddie as child and man that makes the book special... by Audio Book Junkie

 

 

This was an excellent book that had me guessing throughout. At one point, maybe twice, I had reason to point a finger at all the boys involved in the book. I just kept going back and forth. It was crazy!The author did a great job... reviewed by debbiekrenzer

 

 

THE CHALK MAN is a gripping exploration of the dark places within the human mind and an impressive debut. Filled with horror. Frightening, compelling, taut, creepy and chilling! A shocking spine-tingling conclusion... read more on JDCMustReadBooks 

 

 

I liked how we learn more information about the past and individual’s true colors were shining through. It’s funny how some individuals never change and how some people think they have changed but they haven’t. I enjoyed the novel.. read more on My Never Ending List

AND MORE

 

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text 2018-03-07 18:14
Reading progress update: DNF on page 20.
A Question of Proof - Nicholas Blake

After 20 pages I´m certain that this book isn´t for me.

 

One of the teachers of the boarding school has an affair with the headmasters wife. The way Nicholas Blake (a.k.a. Cecil Day-Lewis) writes about this affair, he seems to be pretty okay with it - while I feel the need to gag whenever I´m reading about adultery described in such way. Thanks to Google I have found out that Cecil Day-Lewis had an extramarital affair himself with a woman named Rosamund Lehmann, so this might explain it. I´m still disgusted by it, though.

 

 

 

 

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text 2018-02-21 04:54
notifications

Is anyone else getting super delayed notifications about comments to their posts?

 

Or is it just me?

 

*suspicious side eyes*

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text 2017-10-15 10:59
The Linux Server Encyclopaedia: "Anonymous" by Roland Emmerich

 

Sigh. 
 
Sorry to interrupt, but what is it about the nature of our species that is to so attracted to conspiracy theories? We can trace this as far back as Homer and plenty of modern examples as well.
 
If I had a crystal ball I think it may well show a 2416 Ox/Cam luminary frothing at the bung as he expounded on the impossibility of an illiterate uneducated Lennon seen as the co-author and author of his celebrated works. I took an interest in the claims of the Earl Of Oxford after the film Anonymous made its preposterous contribution in 2011. I was particularly interested in the fact that the denialists draw so much confidence from their claims to have discovered hidden ciphers in epitaphs and ancillary texts. The Oxfordian method of unwinding these hidden messages (they are never ciphers) involves little more than separating all the letters and making words out of them as if they were a Scrabble bag with two dozen blank tiles. Oxfordians tend to stop as soon as they have found what they want. I was able to go a bit further, whilst sticking rigidly to their 'method'. As a result, I can offer a few new ideas about Shakespeare's favourite books which not even Professor Jonathan Bate may not have considered.
 
 
 
If you're into conspirancy theories, read on.

 

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