Resurrection Men (Inspector John Rebus Series #13)

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While in a reform school for cops, Inspector John Rebus joins a covert mission to gain evidence of a drug heist orchestrated by some of his classmates known as "Resurrection Men."

Winner of the 2004 Edgar Award for Best Novel

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While in a reform school for cops, Inspector John Rebus joins a covert mission to gain evidence of a drug heist orchestrated by some of his classmates known as "Resurrection Men."

Winner of the 2004 Edgar Award for Best Novel

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus books have brought him worldwide acclaim for their vividly drawn characterizations and intricate, compelling plots. In this installment, the rebellious Rebus has gone too far -- flinging a mug of tea at a superior's head lands him in Tulliallan, a police college, for retraining. There he's assigned to a group of "resurrection men" -- officers with a history of problems with authority -- who have one last chance to become team players again. At least, that's the official line. Unofficially, Rebus soon suspects there's something shady going on: Some of his classmates are clearly not strangers to one another, even though they pretend to be. And the unsolved case they've been given to rework has developed some disturbing twists. When Rebus begins to notice connections between the unsolved case and the murder investigation he was pursuing when sent away, he knows he must pick his allies with care. With no way to know which superiors or colleagues can be trusted, Rebus and his newly promoted protégée, Siobhan Clarke, turn to the only people who might have the information they need: dark and dangerous figures from Scotland's criminal underworld. Resurrection Men is a gritty, edgy, suspenseful story in which loyalties aren't always what they seem…and death is often very, very close. Sue Stone
The New York Times
Although a reader could get dizzy trying to follow all the permutations of the three multilayered cases, Rebus not only finds the hidden connections but also manages to keep his footing in the shifting moral landscape. That, they don't teach in cop school. — Marilyn Stasio
Publishers Weekly
Rankin's moody Inspector John Rebus, unorthodox pride of the Edinburgh police, begins this latest installment in hot water. He's been sent back to the police college for "retraining," with a group of other "resurrection men," for throwing a cup of coffee at a superior in a moment of frustration. It soon becomes clear, however, that the police brass have their own agenda for Rebus. Some of his fellow officers are suspected of being on the take, and it's his mission-should he accept it-to try to infiltrate their schemes, perhaps even encourage them. Meanwhile, a murder he and the edgy Det. Sergeant Siobhan Clarke have been investigating has turned up some curious links with an apparently Teflon crime boss Rebus has been after for years. The two cases gradually come together in Rankin's skillfully woven plotting, full of his trademark tough, oblique dialogue and sudden moments of touching warmth. The book's only drawbacks are that it seems a little overextended, and that the final bloody climax lacks something in conviction, if not in tension. This isn't one of Rankin's top efforts, but even coasting, he leaves most police procedurals at the gate. (Feb. 3) Forecast: This is the first book in a new contract with a new publisher, and Little, Brown can be expected to give it an extra push, starting with a six-city author tour. Rankin has never been the top seller here that he is at home (and in Canada), but wider attention should bring sales dividends.
Library Journal
Detective inspector John Rebus of the Edinburgh CID is pulled from regular police work to infiltrate a group of possibly corrupt police officers. John is not above suspicion himself, and he worries that the others may learn about his secret past. Meanwhile, his colleague Siobhan Clarke is left to solve the murder of an art dealer. The two parallel and slowly entwining stories are adeptly read by Joe Dunlop, who meets the challenge of numerous characters, complex plotting, and gray moodiness. He incorporates all these elements in an understated reading that clearly defines each person and the (usually) terrible circumstances in which they find themselves. This dark tale of murder, theft, and greed offers little joy. This ambitious audio production is generally successful and will be enjoyed by listeners of the Rebus series, of which this is the 14th installment.-Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Lib., Colonial Williamsburg Fdn., VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Finally, iconoclastic DI John Rebus has gone too far, heaving crockery at DCI Gill Templer, and he's been remanded to Tulliallan, the Scottish Police College midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow, for a course on appropriate team behavior led by retired DCI Tennant, who assigns Rebus and five other anti-authority types-officers Francis Gray, Stu Sutherland, Tam Barclay, Allan Ward, Jazz McCullough-to work, together, in harmony, on the long unresolved murder of Eric Lomax. Meanwhile, back in Edinburgh, DS Siobhan Clarke and new laddie DC Davie Hynds have their hands full with the murder of bludgeoned art dealer Edward Marber, the case Rebus was investigating before being sent down to Tulliallan and confronted with the Lomax killing, another former case of his. Yet a third job for Rebus hinges on the real reason (no, not his insubordination) he's been sent to Tulliallan: to get the goods on three dirty cops. Unfortunately, his plan to lure them into capture during a police warehouse drug heist goes awry when the drugs disappear. The political infighting this debacle causes among Rebus's superiors is only partially resolved when he manages to implicate the tainted coppers by tying their earlier ill-gotten windfalls into Marber's death and barely escapes death himself when one of his targets switches sides. Rankin keeps topping his own best work (A Good Hanging, 2002, etc.), this time by juicing up the plot with more twists than the Amalfi Drive, giving Siobhan more to do, and having Rebus revisit old graves and overlooked mistakes en route to a kind of resurrection. Author tour
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316608497
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 1/28/2004
  • Series: Inspector John Rebus Series, #13
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Rankin
Ian Rankin is an Edgar Award nominee and the recipient of the Gold Dagger Award for Fiction and the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with his wife and their two sons.


"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 — 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

Resurrection Men

By Ian Rankin

Little, Brown

Copyright © 2002

John Rebus Limited
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-316-60849-1

Chapter One

"Then why are you here?"

"Depends what you mean," Rebus said.

"Mean?" The woman frowned behind her glasses.

"Mean by 'here,' " he explained. "Here in this room? Here in this
career? Here on the planet?"

She smiled. Her name was Andrea Thomson. She wasn't a doctor - she'd
made that clear at their first meeting. Nor was she a "shrink" or a
"therapist." "Career Analysis" was what it had said on Rebus's daily

2:30-3:15: Career Analysis, Rm 3.16.

With Ms. Thomson. Which had become Andrea at the moment of
introduction. Which was yesterday, Tuesday. A "get to know" session,
she'd called it.

She was in her late thirties, short and large-hipped. Her hair was a
thick mop of blond with some darker streaks showing through. Her
teeth were slightly oversized. She was self-employed, didn't work
for the police full-time.

"Do any of us?" Rebus had asked yesterday. She'd looked a bit
puzzled. "I mean, do any of us work full-time ... that's why we're
here, isn't it?" He'd waved a hand in the direction of the closed
door. "We're not pulling our weight. We need a smack on the wrists."

"Is that what you think you need, Detective Inspector?"

He'd wagged a finger. "Keep calling me that andI'll keep calling
you 'Doc.' "

"I'm not a doctor," she'd said. "Nor am I a shrink, a therapist, or
any other word you've probably been thinking in connection with me."

"Then what are you?"

"I deal with Career Analysis."

Rebus had snorted. "Then you should be wearing a seat belt."

She'd stared at him. "Am I in for a bumpy ride?"

"You could say that, seeing how my career, as you call it, has just
careered out of control."

So much for yesterday.

Now she wanted to know about his feelings. How did he feel about
being a detective?

"I like it."

"Which parts?"

"All of me." Fixing her with a smile.

She smiled back. "I meant -"

"I know what you meant." He looked around the room. It was small,
utilitarian. Two chrome-framed chairs either side of a teak-veneered
desk. The chairs were covered in some lime-colored material. Nothing
on the desk itself but her legal-sized lined pad and her pen. There
was a heavy-looking satchel in the corner; Rebus wondered if his
file was in there. A clock on the wall, calendar below it. The
calendar had come from the local firehouse. A length of net
curtaining across the window.

It wasn't her room. It was a room she could use on those occasions
when her services were required. Not quite the same thing.

"I like my job," he said at last, folding his arms. Then, wondering
if she'd read anything into the action -defensiveness, say -he
unfolded them again. Couldn't seem to find anything to do with them
except bunch his fists into his jacket pockets. "I like every aspect
of it, right down to the added paperwork each time the office runs
out of staples for the staple gun."

"Then why did you blow up at Detective Chief Superintendent

"I don't know."

"She thinks maybe it has something to do with professional

The laugh burst from him. "She said that?"

"You don't agree?"

"Of course not."

"You've known her some years, haven't you?"

"More than I care to count."

"And she's always been senior to you?"

"It's never bothered me, if that's what you're thinking."

"It's only recently that she's become your commanding officer."


"You've been at DI level for quite some time. No thoughts of
improvement?" She caught his look. "Maybe 'improvement' is the wrong
word. You've not wanted promotion?"


"Why not?"

"Might be I'm afraid of responsibility."

She stared at him. "That smacks of a prepared answer."

"Be prepared, that's my motto."

"Oh, you were a Boy Scout?"

"No," he said. She stayed quiet, picking up her pen and studying it.
It was one of those cheap yellow Bics. "Look," he said into the
silence, "I've got no quarrel with Gill Templer. Good luck to her as
a DCS. It's not a job I could do. I like being where I am." He
glanced up. "Which doesn't mean here in this room, it means out on
the street, solving crimes. The reason I lost it is ... well, the way
the whole inquiry's being handled."

"You must have had similar feelings before in the middle of a case?"
She had taken her glasses off so she could rub the reddened skin on
either side of her nose.

"Many a time," he admitted.

She slid the glasses back on. "But this is the first time you've
thrown a mug?"

"I wasn't aiming for her."

"She had to duck. A full mug, too."

"Ever tasted cop-shop tea?"

She smiled again. "So you've no problem then?"

"None." He folded his arms in what he hoped was a sign of

"Then why are you here?"

Time up, Rebus walked back along the corridor and straight into the
men's toilets, where he splashed water on his face, dried off with a
paper towel. Watched himself in the mirror above the sink as he
pulled a cigarette from his packet and lit it, blowing the smoke

One of the lavatories flushed; a door clicked its lock off. Jazz
McCullough came out.

"Thought that might be you," he said, turning on the tap.

"How could you tell?"

"One long sigh followed by the lighting of a cigarette. Had to be a
shrink session finishing."

"She's not a shrink."

"Size of her, she looks like she's shrunk." McCullough reached for a
towel. Tossed it in the bin when he'd finished. Straightened his
tie. His real name was James, but those who knew him seemed never to
call him that. He was Jamesy, or more often Jazz. Tall, mid-forties,
cropped black hair with just a few touches of gray at the temples.
He was thin. Patted his stomach now, just above the belt, as if to
emphasize his lack of a gut. Rebus could barely see his own belt,
even in the mirror.

Jazz didn't smoke. Had a family back home in Broughty Ferry: wife
and two sons about his only topic of conversation. Examining himself
in the mirror, he tucked a stray hair back behind one ear.

"What the hell are we doing here, John?"

"Andrea was just asking me the same thing."

"That's because she knows it's a waste of time. Thing is, we're
paying her wages."

"We're doing some good then."

Jazz glanced at him. "You dog! You think you're in there!"

Rebus winced. "Give me a break. All I meant was ..." But what was
the point? Jazz was already laughing. He slapped Rebus on the

"Back into the fray," he said, pulling open the door. "Three-thirty,
'Dealing with the Public.'"

It was their third day at Tulliallan: the Scottish Police College.
The place was mostly full of recent recruits, learning their lessons
before being allowed out onto public streets. But there were other
officers there, older and wiser. They were on refresher courses, or
learning new skills.

And then there were the Resurrection Men.

The college was based at Tulliallan Castle, not in itself a castle
but a mock-baronial home to which had been added a series of modern
buildings, connected by corridors. The whole edifice sat in huge
leafy grounds on the outskirts of the village of Kincardine, to the
northern side of the Firth of Forth, almost equidistant between
Glasgow and Edinburgh. It could have been mistaken for a university
campus, and to some extent that was its function. You came here to

Or, in Rebus's case, as punishment.

There were four other officers in the seminar room when Rebus and
McCullough arrived. "The Wild Bunch," DI Francis Gray had called
them, first time they'd been gathered together. A couple of faces
Rebus knew -DS Stu Sutherland from Livingston; DI Tam Barclay from
Falkirk. Gray himself was from Glasgow, and Jazz worked out of
Dundee, while the final member of the party, DC Allan Ward, was
based in Dumfries. "A gathering of nations," as Gray had put it. But
to Rebus they acted more like spokesmen for their tribes, sharing
the same language but with different outlooks. They were wary of
each other. It was especially awkward with officers from the same
region. Rebus and Sutherland were both Lothian and Borders, but the
town of Livingston was F Division, known to anyone in Edinburgh as
"F Troop." Sutherland was just waiting for Rebus to say something to
the others, something disparaging. He had the look of a haunted man.

The six men shared only one characteristic: they were at Tulliallan
because they'd failed in some way. Mostly it was an issue with
authority. Much of their free time the previous two days had been
spent sharing war stories. Rebus's tale was milder than most. If a
young officer, fresh out of uniform, had made the mistakes they had
made, he or she would probably not have been given the Tulliallan
lifeline. But these were lifers, men who'd been in the force an
average of twenty years. Most were nearing the point where they
could leave on full pension. Tulliallan was their last-chance
saloon. They were here to atone, to be resurrected.

As Rebus and McCullough took their seats, a uniformed officer walked
in and marched briskly to the head of the oval table where his chair
was waiting. He was in his mid-fifties and was here to remind them
of their obligation to the public at large. He was here to train
them to mind their p's and q's.

Five minutes into the lecture, Rebus let his eyes and mind drift out
of focus. He was back on the Marber case ...

Edward Marber had been an Edinburgh art and antiques dealer. Past
tense, because Marber was now dead, bludgeoned outside his home by
assailant or assailants unknown. The weapon had not yet been found.
A brick or rock was the best guess offered by the city pathologist,
Professor Gates, who had been called to the scene for a PLE:
Pronouncement of Life Extinct. Brain hemorrhage brought on by the
blow. Marber had died on the steps of his Duddingston Village home,
front-door keys in his hand. He had been dropped off by taxi after
the private viewing night of his latest exhibition: New Scottish
Colorists. Marber owned two small, exclusive galleries in the New
Town, plus antiques shops in Dundas Street, Glasgow, and Perth.
Rebus had asked someone why Perth, rather than oil-rich Aberdeen.

"Because Perthshire's where the wealth goes to play."

The taxi driver had been interviewed. Marber didn't drive, but his
house was at the end of an eighty-meter driveway, the gates to which
had been open. The taxi had pulled up at the door, activating a
halogen light to one side of the steps. Marber had paid and tipped,
asking for a receipt, and the taxi driver had U-turned away, not
bothering to look in his mirror.

"I didn't see a thing," he'd told the police.

The taxi receipt had been found in Marber's pocket, along with a
list of the sales he'd made that evening, totaling just over
£16,000. His cut, Rebus learned, would have been twenty percent,
£3,200. Not a bad night's work.

It was morning before the body was found by the postman. Professor
Gates had given an estimated time of death of between nine and
eleven the previous evening. The taxi had picked Marber up from his
gallery at eight-thirty, so must have dropped him home around eight
forty-five, a time the driver accepted with a shrug.

The immediate police instinct had screamed robbery, but problems and
niggles soon became apparent. Would someone have clobbered the
victim with the taxi still in sight, the scene lit by halogen? It
seemed unlikely, and yet by the time the taxi turned out of the
driveway, Marber should have been safely on the other side of his
door. And though Marber's pockets had been turned out, cash and
credit cards evidently taken, the attacker had failed to use the
keys to unlock the front door and trawl the house itself. Scared off
perhaps, but it still didn't make sense.

Muggings tended to be spontaneous. You were attacked on the street,
maybe just after using a cash machine. The mugger didn't hang around
your door waiting for you to come home. Marber's house was
relatively isolated: Duddingston Village was a wealthy enclave on
the edge of Edinburgh, semi-rural, with the mass of Arthur's Seat as
its neighbor. The houses hid behind walls, quiet and secure. Anyone
approaching Marber's home on foot would have triggered the same
halogen security light. They would then have had to hide -in the
undergrowth, say, or behind one of the trees. After a couple of
minutes, the lamp's timer would finish its cycle and go off. But any
movement would trigger the sensor once again.

The Scene of Crime officers had looked for possible hiding places,
finding several. But no traces of anyone, no footprints or fibers.

Another scenario, proposed by DCS Gill Templer:

"Say the assailant was already inside the house. Heard the door
being unlocked and ran towards it. Smashed the victim on the head
and ran."

But the house was high-tech: alarms and sensors everywhere. There
was no sign of a break-in, no indication that anything was missing.
Marber's best friend, another art dealer called Cynthia Bessant, had
toured the house and pronounced that she could see nothing missing
or out of place, except that much of the deceased's art collection
had been removed from the walls and, each painting neatly packaged
in bubble wrap, was stacked against the wall in the dining room.
Bessant had been unable to offer an explanation.

"Perhaps he was about to reframe them, or move them to different
rooms. One does get tired of the same paintings in the same spots ..."

She'd toured every room, paying particular attention to Marber's
bedroom, not having seen inside it before. She called it his "inner

The victim himself had never been married, and was quickly assumed
by the investigating officers to have been gay.

"Eddie's sexuality," Cynthia Bessant had said, "can have no bearing
on this case."

But that would be something for the inquiry to decide.

Rebus had felt himself sidelined in the investigation, working the
telephones mostly. Cold calls to friends and associates. The same
questions eliciting almost identical responses. The bubble-wrapped
paintings had been checked for fingerprints, from which it became
apparent that Marber himself had packaged them up. Still no one -
neither his secretary nor his friends -could give an explanation.
Then, towards the end of one briefing, Rebus had picked up a mug of
tea -someone else's tea, milky gray -and hurled it in the general
direction of Gill Templer.

The briefing had started much as any other, Rebus washing down three
aspirin caplets with his morning latte. The coffee came in a paper
cup. It was from a concession on the corner of the Meadows. Usually
his first and last decent cup of the day.

"Bit too much to drink last night?" DS Siobhan Clarke had asked.
She'd run her eyes over him: same suit, shirt and tie as the day
before. Probably wondering if he'd bothered to take any of it off
between-times. The morning shave erratic, a lazy runover with an
electric. Hair that needed washing and cutting.

She'd seen just what Rebus had wanted her to see.

"And a good morning to you too, Siobhan," he'd muttered to himself,
crushing the empty beaker.


Excerpted from Resurrection Men
by Ian Rankin
Copyright © 2002 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    This one was a little different from some of the other Rebus boo

    This one was a little different from some of the other Rebus books in that Rebus gets himself into trouble early on and is sent  to Tulliallan, a police college, for retraining. This is one of my favorite Rebus books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2011

    very interesting and attention keeping

    a new author for me and one I will check out other titles for.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer


    13 isn't an unlucky number for Ian Rankin. Resurrection Men, the 13th John Rebus novel, is one of his best. Sad for me now, as I have read all of the series, and I hate to say good-bye. Perhaps Exit Music is not the last. There are so many good characters in the Rebus series that surely one of them (Siobhan?) can carry on, with Rebus making some appearances.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    entertainingly vigorous investigative novel

    Though he knows he should never have displayed his anger by tossing the coffee cup in front of his boss DCS Gill Templar, Edinburgh Inspector John Rebus finds the remedy for his short temper quite embarrassing. Gill has enrolled John in the Scottish Police College along side several other RESURRECTION MEN. The superiors of those attending this syllabus hope that some of these rogue officers learn teamwork. However, the assignment that the class works on together leaves John wondering if he is set up to take a hit or is he really to go undercover and find out whether his fellow disgraced pupils are on the take. Meanwhile Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke discovers that her investigation of the art dealer's murder that led to the coffee cup incident is tied to Rebus's investigation as well as a strange connection to a crime boss. John and Siobhan soon see their cases merging and join the ranks to solve both of them. It is ionic that this solid Rebus police procedural is well written but not quite at the great level of most of the previous novels in the series, yet is one of the better sub-genre entries. RESURRECTION MEN proves how talented Ian Rankin is as Rebus fans will appreciate the effort and newcomers will search for other novels by the author. Rebus remains an ornery delight as his regret for tossing the mug is not having done it in private. Though the second half of the story line seems wordy, the rank and file will relish an entertainingly vigorous investigative novel. Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    You have to root for Rebus.

    Always a good read for both men and women.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    A good Rebus

    Although Siobhan gets equal time much will be learned about both Don't let the large cast of characters put you off, this Edgar Winner is masterly written - enjoy!

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    Posted October 25, 2008

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