The Hanging Garden by Ian Rankin is the ninth novel in John Rebus series. I have never felt that I should read Rankin’s Rebus series in chronological order. I feel, by starting in the middle, going straight back to the first of books and then steadily moving forward, is what works for both John Rebus and me.
The novel opens on Guy Fawkes night as DI Rebus meets his daughter for a meal. As usual, Rebus is involved in the case of the alleged war criminal and lean about the crimes he may have committed. As Rebus investigates he researches the past and wonders about how it could have happened.
There is never a doubt for me on picking a Rankin’s novel and worrying about the plot(s). The way he does mesh-plotting, keeping his characters as real as possible. The setting in Edinburg with glimpses of it’s darkest side. I guess, you can rely on him enough. Then things take a turn. His daughter gets hit buy a car. He rescues a young Bosnian girl forced into prostitution and other less him to break the policeman’s golden rule to never get personally involved in a case.
I remember saying in an essay on John Rebus that he is one of the best companion in one’s darkest times. The question is not that you like Rebus, or you hate him. It’s all about understanding. Understanding the depth, Rankin has put in this character. Rebus, is like anybody, whose life is full of turns, juggling multiple matters at a time, just like anyone of us. I like to imagine this, that who ever out there read Rankin’s novels, they might be having their own level of understanding with John Rebus. If you understand John Rebus, he will understand you back. That’s how it works.
Through ongoing twists, turns and dirty business, Rebus wonders just how evil humans can be as the classic rock songs are sprinkled in between. It’s a thrilling mystery novel at its best. There is not a minute you will get to when you feel that would want to put this book down. Put a bookmark in between, and do something you usually do. No, that won’t happen this time.
5 out of 5!