Blood Hunt [NOOK Book]

Overview

As a former soldier, Gordon Reeve knows something about killing. So despite the fact that the death of his brother Jim has been ruled a suicide, Gordon can't shake the feeling that someone is responsible. Traveling alone across an ocean, he arrives in California determined to get answers: Why was the car Jim's body was found in locked from the outside? Who would want Jim dead? And now why do the local cops seem bent on thwarting Gordon's efforts to uncover the truth? With all the verve and taut pacing that have ...
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Blood Hunt

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Overview

As a former soldier, Gordon Reeve knows something about killing. So despite the fact that the death of his brother Jim has been ruled a suicide, Gordon can't shake the feeling that someone is responsible. Traveling alone across an ocean, he arrives in California determined to get answers: Why was the car Jim's body was found in locked from the outside? Who would want Jim dead? And now why do the local cops seem bent on thwarting Gordon's efforts to uncover the truth? With all the verve and taut pacing that have made Ian Rankin an internationally renowned suspense writer, Blood Hunt is a gripping story of one man's dogged pursuit of justice.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Admirers of Edgar-winner Rankin's bestselling series featuring Edinburgh's Insp. John Rebus (Fleshmarket Alley, etc.) may be disappointed by this stand-alone suspense novel, which has more in common with the works of Frederick Forsyth and Robert Ludlum. Gordon Reeve, an ex-Special Forces soldier with serious anger management issues, has settled down to a tranquil second career running a survival camp in a remote part of Scotland. When he learns that his journalist brother, Jim, with whom he hadn't been close for years, has shot himself in California, Reeve resolves to seek answers. Once in the U.S., Reeve begins to suspect that his brother was murdered because of an investigative piece he was working on involving a major chemical company. But that Grisham-like plot is soon made secondary to a game of cat and mouse Reeve plays with a deranged former military colleague, leading to an anticlimactic and predictable ending. Rankin's gifts as a writer will have many quickly turning the pages, but longtime fans will hope for a return to form in his next outing. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Better known as the villain of Knots and Crosses, George Reeve stars as the hero of this effort by Edgar Award-winning author Rankin, who previously released this title under the pseudonym of Jack Harvey. When Reeve's journalist brother, Jim, dies of an apparent suicide while investigating a story, George flies to America to retrieve the body for burial. Unable to see his brother as the suicidal type, he begins an investigation that eventually leads to a corporate cover-up. George is soon gripped with the need to exact revenge for his brother's death while attempting to avoid slipping back into his violent, military past. Rankin's skill is evident, but this novel isn't as gripping as those in the Inspector Rebus series. George simply isn't that likable, and the sections involving computer technology seem dated. Still, it's interesting to see what Rankin was working on during the early days of his Rebus novels, and readers of that series will likely want to pick this one up. Because of Rebus's popularity, this book is recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/05.]-Craig Shufelt, Lane P.L., Oxford, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A stand-alone thriller from the British bestselling author. Forsaking Edinburgh's iconoclastic Inspector Rebus (Fleshmarket Alley, 2005, etc.), Rankin here offers up Gordon Reeve, ex-SAS soldier now operating a survival course for weekend warriors on Skivald, a small island off South Uist, Scotland. When he receives word that his brother Jim, a freelance journalist in California, has committed suicide, Gordon flies off to San Diego to claim his body. Despite the assurances of local cop Mike McCluskey that Jim did indeed kill himself, Gordon, relying on his SAS skills and instincts, decides that it was murder-a call that might explain why he's soon being tailed, hassled and shot at when he follows up on Jim's last assignment. Who or what was the Agrippa in Jim's notes? The search for the answer will introduce Gordon to the chicanery of Jeffrey Allerdyce, of D.C.'s Alliance Investigation, and the global pesticide destruction sanctioned by Co-World Chemicals' Mr. Kosigin, whose enforcer turns out to be Gordon's Falklands campaign nemesis, the mercenary Jay. Crisscrossing the states and Europe, leaving a trail of bodies as he goes, Gordon winds up back on Skivald for a confrontation with ten men, then nine, then eight . . . until he exacts revenge on the one man who's bedeviled him for years. Rankin, who can outwrite most anybody in the business, drops one clue too many early on, but he's so deft at maintaining a breakneck pace, so accomplished at conveying anger turned to fury and so gleeful in itemizing munitions that readers will zip right along as he swings from whodunit to international conspiracy plot to war-story retribution.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316023573
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 11/1/2006
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 122,680
  • File size: 685 KB

Meet the Author

Ian Rankin
Ian Rankin is a #1 international bestselling author. Winner of an Edgar Award and the recipient of a Gold Dagger for fiction and the Chandler-Fulbright Award, he lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with his wife and their two sons.

Biography

"I grew up in a small coal-mining town in central Scotland. I was always interested in stories. Even though the town had no book stores (and my parents were not great readers), I made full use of the local library. It was mind-boggling to me that (at the age of 11 or 12) I could not gain access to a movie theatre to see such classics as The Godfather, A Clockwork Orange, or Straw Dogs, yet no one stopped me from borrowing these titles from my library. Books seemed to have about them a whiff of the illicit and the dangerous. That was all the encouragement I needed. I went to university in 1978, joined a punk band (on vocals), and continued to write a lot of song lyrics and poems. However, I found that my poems were actually 'telling stories', and so started to write short stories.

A few of these found publication and even won some awards. Then one story raged out of control and became my first novel. It was never published, but that didn't matter: I was now a novelist. I stumbled on Detective Inspector John Rebus by accident while attempting to write an update of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: Rebus would be my Jekyll, his Hyde a character from his past. Along the way, I discovered that a cop is a good 'tool,' a way of looking at contemporary society, its rights and wrongs. Rebus, I decided, would stick around. Meantime, I finished unviersity, moved to London for four years (where I worked first as a college secretary, later as a hi-fi/audio journalist), then rural France for six years. Both my sons were born in France. By the time the oldest had reached school age, we'd decided to move back to Scotland. I now live and work in Edinburgh, and the Rebus novels have gone from strength to strength in terms of sales and recognition."

Author biography courtesy of Little, Brown & Company

Good To Know

Before making it as an author Rankin held a wide variety of gigs, including working in a chicken factory, as a swineherd, a grape-picker, and a tax collector. He even performed as the frontman of the short-lived punk band, The Dancing Pigs.

He has broken Irvine Welsh and Iain Banks's records, with six titles in the Scottish top 10 bestseller list simultaneously.

His favorite/inspirational books include pretty much anything by James Ellroy, Ruth Rendell, and Raymond Chandler—plus classics of Scottish Literature such as Robert Louis Strevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, James Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner, and Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Other "desert island" titles include Martin Amis's Money, Anthony Burgess's Earthly Powers, Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time and Ian McEwan's First Love, Last Rites.

His favorite web site is http://www.oxfordbar.com — the official web site of Rebus's favourite Edinburgh tavern!

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    1. Also Known As:
      Jack Harvey
    2. Hometown:
      Edinburgh, London and France
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 28, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cardenden, Scotland
    1. Education:
      Edinburgh University
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Blood Hunt

A Novel
By Ian Rankin

Little, Brown

Copyright © 1995 John Rebus Limited
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-316-00911-3


Chapter One

HE STOOD ON THE EDGE of the abyss, staring down.

Not afraid, not feeling anything very much except the burning in his lungs, the damp ache behind his legs. He knew staring was never a one-way thing. It was reciprocal. Okay, he thought, get your staring finished, get it over and done with now. The fall, he thought-it isn't the fall that kills you, it's the ground at the end of it. It's gravity, the fatal pull of the planet. There was water at the bottom of the chasm, the tide rising, foam churning against the sheer sides. He could hear the water, but in what was left of the daylight he could barely see it.

He took a deep breath at last and drew back, stretching his spine. There was an hour left till dusk: not much time. They wouldn't find him now. He'd had one piece of luck about seventy-five minutes ago, but reckoned he was allowed one lucky break per mission.

At least they were quiet now, his pursuers. They weren't yelling ill-considered commands back and forth, their words carrying on the sweet, still air all the way to where he lay listening. And they'd split into two-man patrols: also well-learned. He wondered whose idea that had been. They would know by now that time was against them, know too that they were tired, cold, and hungry.They'd give up before he did.

That was the edge he had on them. Not a physical edge-some of them were younger, fitter, stronger than him-but a psychological one. The sharpest edge there was.

He looked up and listened, breathed in the wet bracken, the small dull buds, the charged air. There were thunderclouds in the distance, moving farther away. A torrent of rain had swept the land yet again. There was nothing worse for the spirits than a periodical drenching. Their spirits, not his. They weren't within a mile of him. They weren't anywhere close. None of them would be blooded today.

He checked himself. Overconfidence. It had to be avoided. The most dangerous part of a mission, any mission, was the last part-those final few hours, or minutes, or even seconds. Your brain starts winding down, your tired body doing the same. And you start to make mistakes. He shook his head roughly, feeling the pain across his shoulders. He was carrying seventy-five pounds, which would have been nothing five or ten years before-he'd carried double that in the Falklands; some Special Air Service missions in the Gulf War had carried even more-but now he'd been carrying the rucksack for thirty-six hours, and the pack was wet and heavy.

He set off again after checking his map, walking backwards through the mud, sometimes circling so he crossed over his own tracks. He took a pride in all this confusion-a confusion his pursuers probably wouldn't even notice. They had, perhaps, turned back already. But this wasn't about them at all. It was about him. He'd never doubted it for a moment.

He started to climb again, with his back to the ground, heels pushing into the soil, his rucksack transferred to his chest. Near the top of the ridge he paused, listened, and heard a sound he could identify all too easily: paper tearing, being crushed. The ball of silver foil bounced close to him and stopped. He could hear no footsteps, no advance, no retreat-and no conversation. A sentry, then; a lone lookout. Maybe part of an observation post, which would mean two men. They had, after all, split into two-man patrols. He heard a bar of chocolate being snapped in two. He became certain he was dealing with a stand-alone; the other man must be out on recce.

The close of daylight being so near, it was tempting to take a prisoner, a hostage. But he knew it was only tempting because he was tired. Overconfidence again. He was trying to evade the enemy, not engage it. But if feet shuffled towards the overhang, if toecaps sent crumpled earth showering down, if a pair of eyes wondered what was below ... The gun was ready.

He hugged the soil and grass, feeling the damp soaking into his back. To take his mind off it, he did a little mental check, ensuring he was ready for anything.

He was.

A sigh from above, barely ten feet away. Then: "Sod this for a lark," and the sound of feet shuffling away, a throat being cleared, phlegm hawked onto the ground. Minus points, he thought-traces left for any pursuer: a gob of spit, some silver foil. Plus speaking out loud. Very minus points.

One day, he thought, one day not so very long ago, I'd have crept up behind you and dug my knife into your throat. Not a slit-a throat was tougher than you thought; a slit often wouldn't be enough-you went for maximum damage in minimum time, and above all you wanted to get the voice box. So you stuffed the point of the dagger into the throat and poked around with it.

Jesus.

He had that nightmare sometimes. Not so often these days. It worried him that he didn't dream about Joan and Allan. He never dreamed about them at all, yet they were his whole life-they were his saving.

He was wondering where the other man was, the one the chocolate-eater had gone to find. Last thing he wanted was for the bastard to stumble on him lying here, exposed, with the rucksack on his chest getting in the way of his gun.

Go back down the slope, or head up over the rise? He gave it another minute, then wormed his way upwards, peering over the lip. Open countryside, a rounded dip to the land like a giant saucer; and a hundred yards away, stumbling along, the chocolate-eater. He recognized the young man, even from behind, even in this light and from this distance. He recognized his useful bulk, not too much of which was flab. A quick check of the map confirmed he was headed back to the enemy base. He wasn't looking for anyone. He just wanted to be indoors with a mug of something hot and wet. He'd had enough.

A final look at the map, committing it to memory. Soon it would be too dark to read, and the use of a torch, even the thinnest pencil-lead beam, was dangerous. So dangerous it was verboten during most active missions except in the direst emergency. There'd be no dire emergency this time.

He tracked the chocolate-eater, keeping a steady distance. After a while a tall, thin man joined up with the chocolate-eater and they had a muted discussion, pointing their arms in various directions like windblown weather vanes. Together they set off for camp, unaware that they were being watched by the very man they were supposed to capture at any cost.

Eventually, the "camp" itself came into view: two olive-green Land Rovers with roofs that had once been white. There were three men already there, hovering around a steaming kettle on a Campingaz stove. They were shuffling their feet and checking their watches.

He knew this land fairly well by now, and decided to get closer. It would mean a hike of a couple of miles, around to the other side of the encampment where the ground cover was thicker. He set off, crouching low, crawling on his belly when necessary. Another two-man patrol was coming home, and passed within a hundred yards of him. He made himself part of the scenery. They weren't really concentrating anymore-they were too close to home, not expecting anything. The most dangerous time.

At one point he heard a cry of "Come out, come out!" followed by laughter. The laughter had an embarrassed edge to it. They'd be even more embarrassed if he walked into their camp, his gun trained on them.

He was where he wanted to be now, separated by the vehicles from the campfire and the men. They hadn't set guards; they hadn't done anything. Overconfidence. He lay his rucksack on the ground and started to crawl in towards their position. He knew his target. He was going to crawl right under one of the Land Rovers and point his gun up at them as they drank their tea. Then he was going to say hello.

"Hello."

The voice behind him, over him. A woman's voice, sounding amused, as well she might. He rolled over onto his back and looked up at her, at the gun she was carrying. In her free hand, she held his rucksack. She was tutting now, shaking her head.

"Traces," she said. She meant the rucksack. He'd made no attempt to hide it. She glanced at her wristwatch. It was a man's chronometer with a time-lapse function.

"Thirty-six hours and three minutes," she said. "You almost didn't make it."

They were close enough to the Land Rovers for her voice to carry. The men in their camouflage uniforms came around to the back of the vehicles to see what was happening. He stood up and looked towards them, finding the chocolate-eater.

"Traces," he said, tossing the ball of silver paper. It landed in the young man's tin mug and floated in his tea.

They couldn't head back until everyone had returned to camp. Eventually, the last few stragglers came limping home. One of them, the car dealer, had twisted his ankle and was being supported by his two friends, one of whom-a school PE instructor-had badly blistered feet, the result of wearing the wrong kind of socks with nearly new boots.

"I think I've caught pneumonia," the man with the blisters said. He looked at the man they'd all been trying to catch for the past day and a half. Ten of them against one of him, within an area of six square miles outside which he was not allowed to operate. He was removing his belt-kit, always the last thing he shed. It comprised his survival kit, knife, compass, first-aid kit, water bottle, and chocolate bars. The PE instructor hobbled over and touched his arm, then his chest.

"How come you're not soaked like the rest of us?" He sounded aggrieved. "There's not a bit of shelter out there, hardly a bloody tree. You been cheating, Reeve?"

Gordon Reeve stared at the man. "I never need to cheat, Mr. Matthews." He looked at the other men. "Anyone know how I kept my clothes dry?" Nobody spoke up. "Try some lateral thinking. How can you keep your clothes dry if you've nothing to cover them with?" They still didn't answer. Reeve looked towards his wife. "Tell them, Joan."

She had placed his rucksack against a Land Rover and was using it as a seat. She smiled towards Reeve. "You take them off," she said.

Reeve nodded at the men. "You take them off and you stash them in your pack. You let the rain do its stuff, and when it stops you get dry again and you put your nice dry clothes back on. You've been cold and wet and miserable for a while, but you're dry afterwards. One final lesson learned, gentlemen." He took a mug from the ground and poured a brew into it. "And by the way, you were crap out there. You were absolute crap."

They drove back to the house for debriefing. The Reeves had turned the stables into an annex that included a shower room with a dozen spray nozzles; a changing room with metal lockers, so each man could store his civvy clothes and all the other paraphernalia of the life they were leaving behind for seventy-two hours; a well-equipped gym; and a small conference room.

The conference room was where Reeve did most of the initial teaching. Not the physical stuff-that was done in the gym, or outside in the courtyard and surrounding countryside-but the other lessons, the show-and-tell. There was a monitor and a video machine; a slide projector; various blackboards, wall maps, and diagrammatic charts; a big oval table and a dozen or so functional chairs. There were no ashtrays; no smoking was allowed indoors. Smoking, as Reeve reminded each new intake, is bad for your health. He wasn't talking about lung cancer; he was talking about traces.

After showering, the men dressed in their civvies and headed for the conference room. There was a bottle of whiskey on the table, but none of them would sniff a drop until the debriefing-and then there'd be just the single glass apiece, as most of them were driving home after dinner. Joan Reeve was in the kitchen, making sure the oven had done its work. Allan would have laid the table, then made a tactical retreat to his room to play another computer game.

When they were all seated, Gordon Reeve stood up and went to the blackboard. He wrote the letter P seven times with lime-green chalk. "The seven P's, gentlemen. Not the seven dwarves, not the Magnificent Seven, and not the seven moons of Jupiter. I couldn't name the seven dwarves, I couldn't name the Magnificent Seven, and sure as shit sticks to your arse I couldn't name the seven moons of Jupiter. But I can tell you the seven P's. Can you tell me?"

They shifted in their seats and offered up a few words. When they got a word right, Reeve chalked it on the board.

"Piss," he said, writing it down. "Planning ... Poor ... Proper ..." He saw they were struggling, so he turned away from the board. "Proper Planning and Preparation Prevent Piss-Poor Performance. I could add an eighth P today: Procedure. You were a shambles out there. A barefoot Cub Scout blind from birth could have avoided you these past thirty-six hours. An elephant looking for the graveyard could have avoided you. The British Ladies' fucking Equestrian Team and their horses could have given you a run for your money. So now it's time to evaluate exactly what went so bloody disastrously wrong."

They exchanged sad glances; his captives. It was going to be a long time till dinner.

After dinner and good-byes, after seeing them all off in their cars, waving them back to their real lives, Reeve went upstairs to try to convince Allan that it was bedtime.

Allan was eleven and "bookish"-except that in his case the adjective referred to computers, computer games, and videos. Reeve didn't mind in the least that his son wasn't the outdoor type. Friends thought maybe Reeve would have preferred a musclebound son who was good at football or rugby. Friends were wrong. Allan was a lovely-looking kid, too, with a strawberry-cream complexion and peach fuzz on his cheeks. He had short fair hair which curled at the nape of his neck, and deep blue eyes. He looked like his mother; everybody said so.

He was in bed, apparently asleep, when Reeve opened the door. The room was still warm from computer-use. Reeve went over and touched the top of the monitor-it was hot. He lifted the plastic cover off the hard drive and found it was still switched on. Smiling, Reeve nudged the mouse and the screen came to life. A game screen was held on pause.

He walked over to the bed, crunching magazines and comics underfoot. The boy didn't move when Reeve sat down on the bed. His breathing sounded deep and regular; too deep, too regular.

Reeve stood up again. "Okay, partner, but no more games, right?"

He'd opened the door before Allan sat bolt upright, grinning.

Reeve smiled back at him from the doorway. "Get some sleep ... or else."

"Yes, Dad."

"How are you getting on with that game?"

"I'll beat it, just you wait. Uncle James always sends me games that're too hard."

Uncle James was Reeve's brother, a journalist. He was working out in the States, and had sent Allan a couple of computer games as a very belated birthday-and-Christmas-combined present. That was typical of James; kids always forgave him his forgetfulness because he made it up to them once a year or so.

"Well, maybe I can help you with it."

"I'll do it myself," Allan said determinedly. "There's one screen I can't get past, but after that it'll be okay."

Reeve nodded. "What about homework, is it done?"

"Done. Mum checked it this afternoon."

"And do you still hate Billy?"

Allan wrinkled his face. "I loathe Billy."

Reeve nodded again. "So who's your best friend now?"

Allan shrugged.

"Go to sleep now," his father said, closing the door. He waited in the hall, listening for the crackle of footsteps on paper as Allan left the bed and headed for the computer. But he didn't hear anything. He stayed a little longer, staring along the passageway. He could hear Joan downstairs, watching television. The dishwasher was busy in the kitchen. This is home, he thought. This is my place. This is where I'm happy. But part of him was still crouching in the rain while a patrol passed nearby ...

Downstairs, he made a couple of mugs of instant coffee and headed for the living room. This had been a farmhouse once, just a couple of rooms and an attic reached by a ladder. Reeve imagined that in the winters the farmer brought his animals into the house, keeping them warm and using them as central heating. The place had been uninhabited for eight years when they bought it. Joan had seen potential in the house-and Reeve had seen potential in the seclusion. They were close enough to civilization, but they were on their own.

It had taken time to settle on this location. The Scottish Borders would have provided better communications; clients driving up from London could have done the trip in half a day. But Reeve had finally opted for South Uist. He'd been here on holiday once as a child and had never really forgotten it. When he persuaded Joan to come with him to see it again he pretended it was just a holiday, but really he'd been sizing up the place. There were a few villages nearby; but for the most part there was nothing at all. Reeve liked that. He liked the wilderness and the hills. He liked the isolation.

(Continues...)


Excerpted from Blood Hunt by Ian Rankin Copyright ©1995 by John Rebus Limited. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2008

    Blood Hunt by Ian Rankin

    Ian Rankin, in Blood Hunt, introduces Gordon Reeve, a former SAS soldier. When Reeve¿s journalist brother is found dead, Reeve doesn¿t accept the ruling of suicide. Believing he was murdered, Reeve sets out on a quest to find out why his brother was killed and by whom. Although Reeve is no longer a professional killer, he remembers his training and he¿ll have to put his body to its limits to exact revenge while keeping his family safe. He sets out on his hunt for the killer, only to find himself the hunted. Rankin is an award-winning author and Blood Hunt is fast-paced with interesting characters. Rankin clearly did his research for this book, weaving his knowledge seamlessly into the plot.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Gordon¿s lunacy makes for a delightful wild ride

    Former English Special Forces soldier Gordon Reeve is stunned to learn his brother Jim, a California freelance reporter, committed suicide. Gordon, who runs a survival course for weekend warriors on remote Skivald Island off South Uist, Scotland, has a problem with accepting his sibling killing himself though the two barely stayed in touch. Still he flies to San Diego to bring the body home and to learn what happened.----- SDPD Police Officer Mike McCluskey explains to Gordon why the department ruled his brother¿s death a suicide, but knowing Jim even if they were not close, his gut screams homicide. Deciding to follow his instincts and ignore the cops, Gordon begins to make inquiries into who would want his sibling dead by looking for why starting with Jim¿s work that reference Agrippa, which leads him to his siblings investigation into the illegal deadly activity of Co-World Chemicals. Fueled by rage, Gordon confronts his enemies leaving corpses in America and Scotland as he seeks the truth, which detours back to his days during the Falklands campaign.---- Don¿t mess with Gordon keeps the fast-paced plot moving at a frantic action-packed level that grips the audience from start to finish even as the story line switches gears from amateur sleuth to global conspiracy and finally to past military vengeance (against perhaps an even more crazed individual). Readers will realize how smooth Ian Rankin is as he shifts the gears effortlessly through his raging protagonist following one clue after another while leaving plenty of work for the undertakers. Though this is not a Scottish Inspector John Rebus novel, Gordon¿s lunacy makes for a delightful wild ride.----- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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