John Rebus is back. Old, fat, still surviving on booze and nicotine. This time he is back with some old fellows as DI Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox, and his old Dr. Hyde resembler, Big Ger Cafferty. With new villains and other fresh characters such as Daryl Christie and James Page, introduced only two novels back in Standing in Another Man’s Grave, Rankin has indulged us readers into a deeper mystery this time.
Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is investigating the death of a senior lawyer during a robbery. But the case becomes more complex when a note is discovered, indicating that this may have been no random attack, and when local gangster Big Ger Cafferty receives an identical message, Clarke decides that the recently retired John Rebus may be able to help. He’s the only man Cafferty will open up to, and together the two old adversaries might just stand a chance of saving Cafferty’s skin.
Meanwhile a team from Glasgow has arrived and they will leave no stone unturned for what they want before the leave Edinburgh in its own hands. DI Malcolm Fox is assigned a simple looking yet harsh task of providing local expertise to the undercover squad but he is soon drawn in too deep as everything collides. This time the city of Edinburgh has gone wild and it’s a dog eat dog situation. Looks like Edinburgh CID cannot thrive without John Rebus as usual since he is the string attached with multiple ends.
Overall, I am glad Rankin has got Rebus back. The world of crime fiction feels lonely without reading a Rebus novel once in a while. The book starts at a gripping high node and ends surrounded by clouds and graves. The characters are once again realistic but Rankin has given a fair chance to Rebus this time in solving cases and then preferring Malcolm Fox over Siobhan Clarke since he has brought Rebus back from retirement two novels ago for the first time. The plot is tangled, twisted in between gangsters and their gangs and old skeletons are found this time in the closet of Big Ger Cafferty.
3 out 5!