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Black and Blue [Paperback]

Ian Rankin
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointment June 29 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the second Rebus book I've read. If I had not read Tooth and Nail before, I would not pick up another.
The first hundred pages were completely muddled. The book finally got on path, only to lose it again in the last hundred pages.
Rebus - a loveable rebel cop in Tooth and Nail came off as a depressed and depressing malcontent and know-it-all.
The central plot is a very good one - a serial killer is emulating a serial killer from years before. The first, Bible John, returns to stalk the second, Johnny Bible. The first (potential) murder is also a good hook. But then, so much is added. At the same time Rebus is working on this (potential) murder he is still obsessing about the Bibles. During this time he is also being investigated for a murder investigation he did a decade before. The investigation runs among four locales. It is no wonder much of the book is confused. There are too many plot lines Rankin has difficulty bringing them together.
I intend to go on with the Rebus series since the reviews are so good. I doubt this one is necessary to understand the series. I wish I had skipped it and gone on to #3.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The plot thickens...and thickens and thickens July 21 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Let me say at the outset that I am a Rankin fan. Police Detective John Rebus is a real human character, and Edinburgh makes a fascinating background to his stories, which are generally well plotted. However, "In Black and Blue," Rankin was just a little too ambitious. There are enough plots and subplots for five books, and he isn't always deft at juggling them. I often found myself scratching my head and flipping back pages to remember who a particular character was (there are a dozen major police characters alone). This is a major distraction in a mystery novel, which should be read full steam ahead. The plot strands involve gangsters, drug dealers, rogue cops, the oil trade, and two (count them two) serial killers. The denouement of all this is far from satisfying: the strands don't come together as neatly as a reader would have wished.
I'm still high on Rankin, but I wish he had turned this one into two separate novels (perhaps "Black" and "Blue").
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Discovery Feb. 11 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Some friends gave me this as a Christmas 2002 gift. They knew I liked mysteries/thrillers as I am a close follower of Michael Connelly, Jeffrey Deaver, Ridley Pearson, James Patterson, Robert Crais, and many others. I found this book to be amazing. So much so that I have already read the first four books in the Rebus series and am reading them in sequence. Rankin's detective Rebus is the Scottish version of Connelly's Harry Bosch -- only more extreme and maybe more interesting. Certainly more gritty. And he loves the Rolling Stones! Rankin is a highly intelligent writer and you can see his skills develop from the early books with "Srip Jack" being a turning point of sophistication. I've read that Rankin writes "Tartan Noir." That's a good way to put it. The novels remind me of the best film noir where the cigarette smoke is thick and the booze runs like a river. Being in Scotland also is a real treat, adding a new element of continual interest verus the usual beats of Los Angeles or New York. The layers of intelligence and plot development are lovely. Rankin has an uncanny ability to interweave plot, keep us guesing, and is always surprising us. Keep up the great work Ian. I plan to slow down as I hit the second half of the series as I want to keep Rebus fresh for as long as I can.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Rebus Nov. 3 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Rebus really outdoes himself in this book. He manages to get himself into serious trouble by annoying superior officers in three different cities at the same time...and I don't think he was even trying all that hard. Part of the trouble even goes as far as becoming a suspect in his own investigation, earning Rebus a fellow detective to watch over him to ensure he stays out of mischief - much to his extreme chagrin.
The result of ticking his superiors off in Edinburgh was his transfer to what is acknowledged as the worst police station in the city. It's good to see that nothing has changed and Rebus is prepared to attack his cases with the usual mule-headed stubbornness.
Two cases head Rebus' consciousness in this book. The first case sees him teetering on the brink of obsession over a serial killer who is on the loose around the country. The unusual and intriguing part is that the M.O. and the killer's nickname are very similar to that of a killer who operated 25 years ago, but was never caught. The second case seems to be a more straightforward murder investigation, but this too is proving a difficult one to follow and leads Rebus a merry dance around Scotland.
John Rebus fans will be satisfied with Black and Blue, as everything we've come to love about him is here in spades. He flaunts the rules with abandon in his dogged pursuit of his quarry, he works quite comfortably alone, yet he still enjoys the assistance of Holmes and Clarke. One watershed moment is his passing dalliance with sobriety, as an old partner, Jack Morrow, exerts his reformed alcoholic influence on him.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I expected more Aug. 1 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I just finished reading this, my first, Rankin book. I wasn't overly impressed with it. The writing style was OK but nothing special and the famous dialogue everyone is so fond of seemed very stilted to me. Witty? Not really. Quite contrived and sometimes embarrassing. Maybe I chose the wrong Rebus book to begin with, but I was not gripped enough with the plot. There were occasions where I thought things were about to get moving and I'd become engrossed in a scene, but then things would move back into their normal groove. Like other reviewers, I also found this book confusing. Characters were referred to but I couldn't remember who they were. I won't criticise this book for being too long, because there's nothing wrong with that, however, a book of this length could have developed the characters so much better. Apart from Rebus, none of the characters are developed and I think this is why I found it so hard to put names to characters. And Rebus for me doesn't work. He's a tough experienced cop with an over-reliance on alcohol. I can't picture him as an ex-SAS man. And he's middled aged yet his obsession with music makes him sound like an indie kid! When the main character doesn't work for you, the book will suffer. No real suspense either. On the other hand, this book wasn't totally devoid of entertainment. I didn't hate it, and I could possibly return to the author for a second bite, but I remain slightly unsatisfied and disappointed with the hype surrounding this author.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Overley complicated, disjointed
I read the rave reviews before buying this book (my first Ian Rankin novel) and was very disappointed. I am currently forcing myself to complete it. Read more
Published on Nov. 12 2005 by Nicky Jameson
5.0 out of 5 stars Biscuit-Tins and Wooly Suits galore!
My first Rankin book (of many more to come). Loved the challenge!! Not only is there a labyrinth of plots and interesting characters, but the setting of Scotland opens up a whole... Read more
Published on June 7 2003 by Suzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Made My Kilt Curl
I was just introduced to Ian Rankin with this book. I loved it. Love Rebus. Rankin has a great knack for character and how to intertwine plots. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2003 by Jim McCullaugh
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Read Although Not Super
There were a few cases in the 400 pages case: a new and an old serial killer, a man jumped to his death, a drug-connected death, a convicted prisoner committed suicide. Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2002 by Desmond Chow
2.0 out of 5 stars A struggle to read
Everything seemed to be going wrong for Inspector John Rebus. Tracking murderers, serial killers, with the mafia, press and his supervisors breathing down his neck, a wrong move... Read more
Published on June 25 2001 by "fearlessfosdick"
5.0 out of 5 stars hard boiled
In recent months, word has come that authors of several of the very best police procedural series have decided to put an end to their heroes adventures. Read more
Published on Oct. 13 2000 by Orrin C. Judd
5.0 out of 5 stars Rankin's finest
Ian Rankin is described as the father of tartan noir, and Scotland's answer to James Ellroy. I would disagree with the latter description - Ellroy being a great prose stylist,... Read more
Published on Oct. 9 2000 by "scottish_lawyer"
2.0 out of 5 stars Too confusing to enjoy fully
I got about a third to a half way through this book and decided that I should start over again from the beginning! Yip... its that confusing! Read more
Published on Aug. 13 2000 by webipeb
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