If you like good narration and a solid crime fiction story this is the book for you. James Macpherson is one of the best narrators on audible, and only when he tries for an American accent does it ever go horribly wrong. I can't speak to a general audience as I've been an unabashed Rankin fan for years, but if you like crime fiction, you can hardly go wrong, although there may be better entry points to the series. The three best entry points are book one in the series, the short story collections, or one of the last two books (they are better standalones in my opinion).
I liked this book a lot. It's not great by any stretch of the imagination, but it is wonderful light listening. Simon Vance is excellent - he is perfect for this genre and setting.
Make no mistake, this is not Bernard Cornwell or Patrick O'Brien if you like historical military fiction, it isn't Glamour and Glass if you like period stuff, and neither is it particularly epic fantasy. It's light reading fantastical historical fiction with the period elements only providing a light dusting of setting, and if that is what you are after I don't think you can go wrong here.
In my case It was exactly what I needed as I have heavier and "better" books in my queue, but no surplus to spend on them. Simon Vance is a good reader in this case, and I just want to curl up in bed and listen in the same way I'd read a good book if I had the energy and could keep my eyes open.
It's still more Rebus and Rankin/Scottish crime fiction, and if that's your thing you're in luck. It's not an ideal starting point to the series for a new listener, although it is not the worst choice either.
Why you should choose this version over the unabridged version: Macpherson is a fantastic reader as long as he doesn't try for American accents. And although I prefer unabridged versions of works generally, I'd rather go for the abridged here just to have Macpherson read. He's simply outstanding for the Rebus series of novels. Additionally, in my experience, the tightness of the plot in the abridged version works really well in the audio format as it keeps the pace higher.
I should just copy and paste my Rebus series reviews to save time. Macphearson is an excellent narrator as long as he doesn't have to try at American accents, and Rankin rarely puts a foot wrong. I'd ding it a touch for being an abridged version, but I've actually come to enjoy those because they are even more tightly wound than the unabridged versions. As long as you get the Macphearson reading version there is no harm done. Obviously if you don't like crime fiction novels this is not your cup of tea, but if you like crime fiction, in particularly crime fiction set in Scotland and/or the UK in general this is a no brainer purchase. One caveat, if you are new to the series, there are probably better entry points. Consider either the short stories, the first book or one of the last two (they are, I think, better standalones than the books in the middle of the series).
The reader is a genuine pleasure to listen to.
No. But the plot never does in Rankin's books. These are guilty pleasure reading, and perfect for comfortable listening or reading with a cup of hot chocolate on snowy day.
I don't have a favorite. I just like MacPherson's work.
No, but that's rarely the case anyways.
If you like Rankin, and if you like his Rebus novel you can't go wrong with this one. On the other hand this is a terrible, terrible place to start reading Rankin's book.
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