A Question of Blood Paperback – Oct 13 2010
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Sometimes crime affects you directly; in A Question of Blood Inspector John Rebus is caught up in two cases that are closer to home than he would like. He is under investigation for the burning alive of a minor psychopath who threatened his attractive young sergeant Siobhan Clarke.
As always in Rankin's novels, Rebus's bad attitude to his superiors comes back to bite him--even though doctors testify that damage to his hands is a scalding from trying drunkenly to get into an over-hot bath, it is regarded as circumstantial evidence of his possible guilt. The high-school shooting looks at first like another ex-SAS crazy going wild--and here Rebus's own past as an SAS washout comes to haunt him--and the constant meddling of army investigators screams cover-up. In fact, though, this is one of those occasions on which Rebus' slightly paranoid preparedness to see connections everywhere pays off and he manages to solve both crimes and a lot of other unsuspected pieces of mayhem besides.
Along the way, the book offers Rankin's usual intense commentary on embattled masculinity and what it means to be a Scot, and this excellent sequence's usual portrayal of an Edinburgh where modernity rubs up against time-worn slums and ancient privilege. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
The 14th novel to feature the always compelling (and, as his name suggests, perpetually puzzling) John Rebus begins with what seems to be a uniquely American crime: a madman enters a school and starts shooting, killing two students and wounding a third before turning the gun on himself. But we're in Rankin country-a perpetually damp and morally bankrupt Edinburgh-with Rebus and Siobhan Clarke searching for the real story behind what seems an act of sheer madness. This immensely satisfying police procedural has plenty of forensic science, but Rebus knows that "none of it might make them any the wiser about the only question that mattered....The why." Why did Lee Herdman, a drop-out of the U.K. version of the Special Forces, go on a rampage? Why was James Bell, the son of a self-righteous Scottish M.P., merely wounded? And why are two Army investigators sniffing around the case? A subplot has Rebus himself under suspicion of murder: a minor criminal is found dead, burned in an apartment fire, and Rebus shows up with heavily bandaged hands the next morning. The detectives encounter every stratum of contemporary Scottish society, from angry teenage toughs and petty criminals to the privileged and the powerful. It's a complex narrative, perhaps too much so at times, but the plot is less important than Rebus himself, a brilliantly conceived hero who is all too aware of his own shortcomings. In an essentially amoral society, his moral compass is always pointed steadily towards the truth.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book opens with Rebus in hospital nursing two very badly scalded hands. Apart from raising the question as to how he came to scald his hands, which remains a secret for the majority of the book, it also makes him dependent on others for just about every simple function, such as the important ones like drinking a beer or lighting a cigarette to driving a car. The result is some interesting working interactions between Rebus and his fellow detectives which makes a very refreshing change.
Soon after leaving hospital, Rebus is called in to assist on what appears to be a tragic but straightforward schoolyard murder / suicide shooting. His experience is requested because the murderer is an ex-SAS soldier, a branch of the army that Rebus had trained with before quitting and joining the police. The idea is that Rebus might be able to add some unique insights due to this previous experience, but it also opens the door to a look at John's own past and a part of it that we the reader have rarely been able to look at. It was nice to finally get a bit of an insight into his life before the police, which was always mentioned in passing, but never expanded on satisfactorily.Read more ›
Often the hardest thing for a writer in the detective story genre to accomplish is to maintain a high standard of writing, as well as a completely new plot each and every time, but Ian Rankin has done this very well with his Inspector Rebus series; which he started in 1987 when he was meant to be finishing a PhD in English Literature.
Detective Inspector John Rebus is in hospital, hands heavily bandaged after he put them into a hot bath by mistake, or so he says. Visiting him is his friend and colleague DC Siobhan Clarke. She's telling him all about the shooting that occurred in a private school just North of Edinburgh. A man named Lee Herdman walked into a common room shooting three kids, leaving two dead and one injured, after which he turned the weapon on himself. But that is not the only news; Martin Fairstone, the man who had taken to stalking and harassing Siobhan, has been found burnt to death in his own home under suspicious circumstances. Rebus' bandaged hands don't look too good for him, especially since he was seen leaving the house shortly before it went up in flames.
Once out of hospital Rebus is assigned the task of finding Lee Herdman's motive. It doesn't take him long before he discovers that his cousin lost his son on that day and he is reunited with a sense of family that has been dead a long time. However all is not well as old memories haunt his relationship with his cousin. Rebus must evaluate himself and he is scared by what he finds.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I was on a Rankin kick when I bought this book. Got through about half of his catalog and moved on. I think it's time to finish off the rest of his books.Published on Sept. 28 2013 by Geordie A.
Got this for my Kindle, an excellent read. I have become a big fan of Rankin over the years and find his methodology to be accurate and realistic.Published on Aug. 8 2013 by D. Keagan
Meaty. Lots to like here. It's complicated and keeps you interested in trying to solve the mystery thanks to all the detail.Published on June 24 2013 by Alice Richards