Standing in Another Man's Grave (Inspector John Rebus Series #18)

Standing in Another Man's Grave (Inspector John Rebus Series #18)

4.0 34
by Ian Rankin

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"Thrilling...Rebus returns-and welcome." (Kirkus Reviews)

For more than ten years, Nina Hazlitt feared the worst about her daughter's disappearance. The police investigation ground to a halt long ago, and her pleas to the cold case department go unheard. Until she meets the newest member of the team: former Detective John Rebus.

Two more women

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"Thrilling...Rebus returns-and welcome." (Kirkus Reviews)

For more than ten years, Nina Hazlitt feared the worst about her daughter's disappearance. The police investigation ground to a halt long ago, and her pleas to the cold case department go unheard. Until she meets the newest member of the team: former Detective John Rebus.

Two more women have gone missing from the same road where Sally Hazlitt was last seen, and Rebus senses a connection. But pursuing it leads him into the crosshairs of adversaries both old and new.

Rebus may have missed the thrill of the hunt, but he's up against a powerful enemy who's got even less to lose. STANDING IN ANOTHER MAN'S GRAVE is the triumphant return of John Rebus and a riveting story of sin, redemption, and revenge.

Editorial Reviews

Edinburgh: rain, sleet, grayness; cigarettes and whiskey; cops and villains; the dead and the damaged. Ian Rankin did not invent this world (he acknowledges the influence of, among others, James Kelman), but he certainly immortalized it when he created Detective Inspector John Rebus, the investigator with the warhorse body and brooding mind who seemed to personify his city's toughness. Rebus first appeared in Knots and Crosses in 1987, and seventeen Rebus novels followed before Rankin retired the aging cop in 2005. Like Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander, Robert Wilson's Javier Falcon, and other noble loners, Rebus was dispatched to the shadows. But now he's back. And Rankin, following a detour into more sensationalist fiction, has also returned to the restrained style and quotidian pace that distinguished the finest Rebus novels.

The first sentence of Standing in Another Man's Grave is characteristically sly: "He'd made sure he wasn't standing too near the open grave." This is not Rebus the cop surveying a murder scene but Rebus the civilian attending the funeral of a former colleague. "[G]et the gold watch, and soon after they're on the slab," a fellow mourner cheerfully observes. Officially retired, Rebus inhabits a different kind of netherworld. Employed by the Cold Case Unit, he works "with the long dead, murder victims forgotten by the world at large." Rankin, at his best, is a master of economical description and laconic dialogue and in these early chapters he creates a pungent atmosphere of weariness, defeat, and nostalgia. "[S]omebody thinks they got away with it...knows they got away with it," Rebus is reminded each time he undoes the binding on an unsolved murder file.

Suddenly, the past looms into the present. Nina Hazlitt believes that her teenage daughter, who disappeared fourteen years earlier, was one of a series of victims whose bodies were never discovered — and whose murderer is at work again. Following news of a recent disappearance, Hazlitt revisits the police unit she once haunted. Rebus, by chance, takes her call and senses a connection. "Sally Hazlitt, Brigid Young, Zoe Beddows...1999, 2002, 2008," his erstwhile protégé DI Siobhan Clarke scoffs, "You know as well as I do it's thin stuff." But Annette McKie, the latest missing teenager, was last seen, like the others, near the A9 motorway.

When a photograph of a desolate road sent from Annette's cellphone matches one sent from Zoe Beddows's phone years earlier, Rebus (and more reluctantly Clarke) travel north. The repartee between the two — Clarke ascending in rank and Rebus, as always, flouting authority — is satisfyingly familiar, but Rankin wisely avoids fond reminisces that might soften the edges of either personality. Similarly, characters such as crime boss Ger Cafferty (perversely indebted now to Rebus for saving his life) are both recognizable and surprisingly fresh while the new generation of gangsters — and detectives — seem bloodless by comparison. "He's an office manager, Siobhan," Rebus observes of Clarke's boss, "...could be CID or a company selling fitted kitchens." While Rebus could only be a cop, with a cop's memory for faded details and distant connections that, in this case, link yesterday and today, the killer and the killed.

Anna Mundow, a longtime contributor to The Irish Times and The Boston Globe, has written for The Guardian, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, among other publications.

Reviewer: Anna Mundow

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Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Inspector John Rebus Series, #18
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.25(d)

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Standing in Another Man's Grave 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
Old soldiers may never die and John Rebus hopefully will never fade away. After a couple of years in retirement he’s back as a civilian consultant on cold cases (which seems to be becoming a trend in resurrecting protagonists in crime fiction). In the course of this work he is informed by the mother of a girl who disappeared many years before that her daughter may have been the first in a series of disappearances ( and presumably murders) along a northern highway (serial murders apparently are becoming de rigeur among retired detectives as well). And Rebus is off to the wars, albeit with no official standing. Rebus worms his way into an active investigation with the help of his old sidekick, Siobhan Clarke. And he uses all the old techniques frowned upon by his old nemesis, Malcolm Fox, of the Complaints, including consorting with the likes of gangsters such as Rafferty to gain information. While a massive police force goes about the investigation by the book, of course Rebus goes it alone. It’s good to have Rebus back, and hopefully more is in store because the rules have been changed and he has applied for reinstatement. All he has to do is pass the physical. Can he do so, despite all that hard liquor and cigarettes? And, of course, if successful, Fox is looking forward to Rebus making a colossal mistake on the job to justify his enmity. As with all the previous novels in the series, this one is highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr. Rankin is one of the best authors since he started writing. Can't wait for the next one. Bringing Malcolm Fox into a John Rebus book worked very well.
elizabeth39 More than 1 year ago
Please bring back Rebus again and again and again. The Rebus' personality is perfect for his ability to cross the line during investigations. In retirement, he has more opportunities to do things his way. This book is perfect for displaying his not always acceptable choices to solve a crime. I will miss picturing Rebus traveling the streets of Edinburgh. Rankin makes me see and feel the atmosphere of the city.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great, dark, mystery about the underbelly of Edinburgh and the detective who is at the end of his career. Rebus is rebellious to his chain of command. He has brilliant analytical powers and insight. He solves the crime, but never makes points with the top brass. This book is for the person who enjoys the dark mysteries that seem to come from the dismal Northern climes. Rebus is in the category of Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole and Wallender. The character has a deep relationship with alcohol and has strained family relationships.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John Rebus is the old-school detective who does things his own way, which is not always smiled upon by the his superiors. It is his character that really makes for the story. The plot is not one that I think you can really discover until the author reveals it. It is a bit of a "letdown" to not be able to confirm any suspicions as to who did it. Having said this, I still think it is a good read.
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One of the worse books I've ever read. If I got this book at the library I would of taken it back before finishing it. On that, the ending was awful. Save your money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tcasscros More than 1 year ago
I was very happy to find that Rankin had not completely given up on John Rebus. I thought it one of the best in the series. With Rebus' normal grousing and grumbling yet finding ways to get the job done. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
His best Rebus to date!! Very enjoyable ..... sad to finish!!
drayce More than 1 year ago
first time I have read a book by Ian Rankin and I put him up their with James Patterson.
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onecoat More than 1 year ago
A mature Rebus with depth and complexity from an accomplished writer. One of my favourites.
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cy-12_34 More than 1 year ago
I had high expectations for this book since I had never read anything by this author. However, the first 233 pages read more like a Fodor's Guide to Scotland. Every highway and city between Edinburgh and the northern tip was mentioned multiple times (along with every scotch distillery) with no action of any kind. And most of the names were unpronounceable. It took 233 pages before they finally found a body. I did enjoy the character of John Rebus: sarcastic, annoying to authorities, smart mouth, a smoker and drinker. Possibly some of his earlier books are better, but not this one.
youngfilly More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book. A typical Rebus story with the inclusion of Rankin's new series. If you like the Rebus series, you will enjoy this. The plot goes right to the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BDEldridge More than 1 year ago
I have waited in great anticipation to read every book in the Rebus series to date - and this one did not disappoint. Rankin does a magnificent job of guiding the reader through the peaty maze of John Rebus' psyche with a warmth and familiarity that belies the unpredictability of both the plot and our old friend John. The same can be said of Rankin - once again on top of his game, his love of Scotland and music played through the narrative as easily as a bagpiper on a leisurely stroll up the Royal Mile. The only thing that was off-putting about the whole affair was that John Rebus' story is shortly coming to an end. And no offence, Malcolm, but the middle is as high as you could ever reach. In my book :)