A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.
Standing in Another Man’s Grave, by Ian Rankin (Orion
Scottish author Ian Rankin sent his long-running and persistently rebellious Edinburgh copper, Detective Inspector John Rebus, off into an unwelcome retirement in Exit Music (2007). Or at least, that’s what his many
fans thought. But suddenly, Rebus back. He’s a civilian consultant, hired to
look into the very cold cases of five young women who disappeared over a
decade-long period. Nobody on the force who’s worked with Rebus before much
looks forward to assisting him in his latest pursuit of odd hunches, including his younger ex-partner, Siobhan Clarke, whose career might be endangered by Rebus’ antics. Rebus’ familiar nemesis, mob boss Big Ger Cafferty, shows up in these pages to nettle and threaten the retired detective. So, too, does internal affairs investigator Malcolm Fox, about whom Rankin has already penned two post-Rebus novels, The Complaints and The Impossible Dead. Fox is hoping, it seems, to protect Siobhan from her old associate, a man he deems “the loosest of canons.” Yet the scenes in which Fox and Rebus appear together--damning each other the whole time--are some of the most entertaining, and they suggest just how much those two characters are flip sides of the same coin. Scottish politics and the country’s current independence movement figure into this novel’s story line, and as Rebus wheels about the countryside in his familiar Saab--a vehicle nearly as geriatric and wounded as the retired sleuth himself--the author muses pleasantly on Scotland’s past and present. The plot here isn’t as complicated as you’ll find in some of this author’s previous works, but its mounting drama, character explorations, and humor make Standing in Another Man’s Grave well worth the reading time. Although Rankin’s book is new this week in Britain, it won’t be released in the States until January 2013.