Ian Rankin's brilliant series featuring Detective John Rebus is the kind of blistering police procedural that gives the genre a good name.
NY Times Book Review
A technically exacting series...intricately knotted.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
At the start of Rankin's powerful and absorbing latest tale, Edinburgh Detective Inspector John Rebus (Mortal Causes, etc.) looks on helplessly as two young kidnapping suspects avoid capture by diving to their deaths from the icy Forth Road Bridge. Unable to drink away that image, Rebus must investigate another suicide. Ex-con "Wee Shug" McAnally shotgunned himself as local government councilor Tom Gillespie watched in horror. Rebus believes that McAnally chose his witness carefully, but when political higher-ups pressure the police brass, Rebus is forced off the inquiry. Pursuing his hunches with covert help from sympathetic colleagues, Rebus tries to decipher a document that might connect the suicides to development plans for "Silicon Glen," home of Edinburgh's computer industry. His suspicions increase when influential Scots hint at rewards if he'll let the case slide. Rebus sorts out these machinations while battling loneliness, toothache (it figures in the solution), alienation from his daughter and the tense reappearance of a former lover, Gill Templer, as his new boss. Rankin portrays an intriguingly complex Scotland, where a good copper, battling frigid winds and cruel manipulators, needs plenty of warming whiskey and selfless friends. (Dec.)
First, Edinburgh's Detective Inspector John Rebus (see The Black Book, Penzler: Macmillian, 1994) witnesses the suicide of two teenagers who falsely claimed to have abducted a runaway girl. Next, a recently released rapist kills himself in a councilman's presence. When Rebus starts pushing, certain that something sinister links the three deaths, political enemies push back, forcing him temporarily out of the game. As usual, Rankin's complex protagonist is assailed by problems with daughter, drink, and department. Recommended.
Who ever heard of serial suicide? Yet that's exactly what Edinburgh's Inspector John Rebus seems to have on his hands. First, the two kids who claim to have kidnapped Kirstie Kennedy, the Lord Provost's daughter, evade a roadblock by gently tipping themselves over the edge of a bridge into the Firth of Forth; then Hugh McAnally, just released from prison after serving four years for rape, blows his head off in front of his handpicked witness, District Councillor Tom Gillespie (who insists that McAnally's not even in his ward). There's no question that all three deaths were suicides, but what's behind them, and what ties them together? It doesn't look as if Rebus (Mortal Causes, not reviewed; The Black Book, 1994, etc.) is going to find out, since shortly after he confiscates the documents Gillespie's been shredding into his trashdocuments implicating a Scottish-hope computer firm and the Scottish Development Agency in a nasty coverup that reaches as high as an elephant's eyehe's packed off on an unwilling leave, preparatory to being threatened (not only by his hated rival Alister Flower and his lover-turned-chief Gill Templer, but by empyrean higher-ups with sharp teeth) with the ruin of his career; meanwhile, the Gillespie documents are spirited off by the treacherous District Chief Constable as Gillespie himself lies stabbed to death in an alley. Not a good omen for the redoubtable Rebus.
It takes every bit of Rankin's finesse, and every bit of Rebus's nerve, to unravel the complex plot. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy this author's boldest, most ambitious novel yet.
From the Publisher
“Brilliant.” Jonathan Kellerman
“In Rankin you cannot go wrong.” The Boston Globe
“The progenitor--and king--of tartan noir.” James Ellroy