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Death Is Not the End: An Inspector Rebus Novella [Hardcover]

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

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Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars
2.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed Reader May 29 2000
I have read all of Rankin's novels and eagerly anticipated his latest. I was therefore doubly disappointed to receive a slight 70 page novella in the mail and then to discover that most of it was lifted from his last novel. Yes, a few pages are brand new, but that is hardly the point. I expected a new story and this was a rehash that appeared to have been hastily scribbled and patched together. For those who like Rankin, I'd give this one a miss and wait till he writes a real novel again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Novella retells novel subplot July 13 2000
Ian Rankin writes crisp, dark, atmospheric police procedurals set in Edinburgh featuring Inspector John Rebus, a brooding loner with occasional regrets, given to bottling his strong feelings. Rankin's unadorned, complexly nuanced writing, his ability to breathe life into characters as much with what is not said as what is, makes the series a particular stand-out.
Since his novella "Death Is Not the End," focuses on a subplot in Rankin's 1999 novel "Dead Souls," I expected a sequel. But as Rankin explains in a note at the end, the novella was written first. The story concerns a missing young man, 23 years old, the son of an old highschool girlfriend. The narrative follows Rebus' investigation over much the same time period as "Dead Souls," though Rankin extended his investigation in the novel. And there is a different subplot featuring crooked casino operators.
New readers, or those who missed "Dead Souls" will enjoy the journey into Edinburgh's seamy side - the grim amorality of those who make their living from "punters" - and Rebus' exploration of his own past and the choices that have made him who he is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible! May 27 2000
By A Customer
Ripoff! Seventy-three pages, at least forty of which are a direct lift from his last book. If you like Ian Rankin or have read his books in the past, don't waste your money on this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Novella-length entry in a great crime series May 24 2000
If you've never read one of Ian Rankin's extraordinary John Rebus mysteries, "Death is Not the End" is a great introduction to the troubled Edinburgh detective and his dark world. On the surface, it's a police procedural (the Rebus books remind me of the also-excellent Bill James "Harpur and Iles" British police procedurals), but Rebus is such a loner, breaking out into his own investigations, that it's virtually a private detective novel as well. This imagery fits "Death is Not the End" especially well as the (intentional) echoes of Raymond Chandler and the theme of "vanishing"--from missing persons to long-lost youthful innocence--permeate Rankin's alcoholic, cigarette-addicted hero's search for the son of an old girlfriend. It's a quick read, but layered with such detail that this would make me want to read more Rebus mysteries even if I wasn't already a fan. I agree in part with the Kirkus Review above: this is pricey for a 74-page book, even a hardcover (this novella might have been better served by publishing it as trade paperback original). Rankin also re-used part of this plot for a recent novel ("Dead Souls"). Some may see this as a cheap excuse to get you to buy the same plot twice; I prefer to look at it as an interesting exercise in covering the same themes in a different manner and from different angles. It is by no means the best or definitive Rebus--one of the full-length novels must surely fill that role. Still, if you're a Rankin fan and completist you'll definitely want this one, and it makes a great introduction to suggest to your friends searching for a captivating crime series and a brilliant author.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling dark police drama May 13 2000
Scotland-based Detective Inspector John Rebus works two cases. One involves the disappearance of the twenty-three year old son of a woman John once loved. John's boss Chief Superintendent Watson assigns him the task of providing a special birthday present: evidence to send Topper Hamilton to jail. John considers both cases personal for different reasons.

DEATH IS NOT THE END is a compelling dark police drama that keeps reader interest from the first page to the last. The story line contains a complex plot and deep characterizations than normally found in a novella, but not at the level found in Ian Rankin's novels. Although a short work, it retains a powerful punch, leaving fans with the dilemma of considering the price tag.

Harriet Klausner
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