When a former soldier and recluse murders two 17-year-old students at a posh Edinburgh boarding school, Inspector John Rebus immediately suspects there is more to the case than meets the eye.
©2004 Ian Rankin (P)2014 Hachette Audio
I have read or listened to all of Rankin's "Rebus" novels, and this is one of my top two favorites (rivaling Saints of the Shadow Bible).
There is so much bad writing in this genre. I am grateful to have discovered Rankin because he is a great artist who tells an exciting and engaging story. When I click on the sample of a book by another writer and it starts right in with the authorial voice explaining the characters to the reader, I just say "Nope" and shut it off.
Rankin knows how to write. He knows how to tell the story through the ACTIONS of the characters, not by explaining everything like these bunglers.
Rebus has become something of a hero for me. He makes a lot of mistakes, sure, but he has an underlying sense of justice that drives him. He has a passion for it. Plus high intelligence and courage. He is a believable shaggy hero for our messy world.
Please keep at it, Rebus, and Ian! Now that PD James and Ruth Rendell have left this earthly plane, we are running out of detective fiction writers who can actually write. We must have Rankin for a good long while.
I've become so attached to Rebus' predictably annoying neurosis and his friendship with Siobhan that I forgive plot confusions and wonder if my experience of them is my fault for being distracted during the time I'm listening, or, intrinsic to his crafting of this volume. I care more about character than plot, so perhaps that's not so important.
I could listen to James Macpherson read the phone book and be absolutely entertained for hours on end, so am left unsure how to offer an objective review. If you value what I do, you'll enjoy the book. At this stage in the series we fans are just following Rebus qua Rankin as he ages with us.
Younger readers should begin at the beginning, of course. Enjoy learning to perceive imperfections of a knotty character. Such texture in character development--at least in crime fiction--grows rarer each year.
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