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Fleshmarket Alley Paperback – Nov 15 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (Nov. 15 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316099252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316099257
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.2 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,456,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This abridgement of Rankin's 15th novel about Edinburgh police investigator John Rebus ends with an interview in which the author says he prefers to ignore abridgments. He should make an exception in this case. It's a particularly well-conceived adaptation that discards many of the book's more verbose passages and moves Rebus and his associate investigator Siobhan Clarke quickly into action. It also clarifies an overly complex plot that interweaves the possibly racist murder of an asylum-seeking Kurd; the disappearance of a young woman into the city's red light district; and the appearance of two skeletons uncovered during a pub renovation. Crucial series elements are not only retained but highlighted, such as Rebus's realization that, with his forced retirement approaching, his feeling for Clarke is taking a less platonic turn. Adding to the production's overall appeal is reader MacPherson, whose Scottish burr, though pronounced enough to make Sean Connery sound like a pommy Brit, complements Rankin's well-etched cast of Edinburgh denizens. In a display of vocal versatility, he easily segues from male to female, from members of the upper crust to bottom feeders, from guttural Kurds of varying ages to an Asian lawyer with a Far Eastern lilt. His bravura performance, added to the canny editing, results in satisfying proof that less can be more. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Forecasts, Jan. 10). (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Edinburgh copper John Rebus has spent his life mucking about among the city's lowlifes, so much so that he often feels more kinship with the crooks he chases than he does with the new generation of cookie-cutter organization men and women who inhabit the more respectable tiers of Scottish society. His hard-won assumptions about the world are transformed, however, by his latest case, forcing Rebus, the hardest of hardened cynics, to exclaim in horror, "What in Christ's name is happening here?" It starts with the murder of an "asylum-seeker"--an illegal immigrant hoping to be granted political asylum but forced to live in a virtual prison while the lumbering Scottish bureaucracy determines his fate. As Rebus begins to dig into the murder, he is confronted by the new face of racism, twenty-first-century style: a government, unwilling to deal with the immigration problem, outsourcing "detention housing" to American prison-for-profit companies; a citizenry determined "to alienate what they cannot understand"; and a criminal underworld quick to capitalize on opportunity by entering the booming business of "people smuggling." All of these forces come together in an Edinburgh public-housing project, where racial tensions are at the breaking point, and where the people-smuggling industry thrives. Rankin, who has spent years developing Rebus' hard-bitten character, now brilliantly portrays the man forced to confront his own sensitivity. This is a superb crime novel, a pivotal entry in a uniformly fascinating series, and a remarkably perceptive analysis of the contemporary immigration dilemma at its most achingly human level. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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By reviewer13 on Sept. 16 2010
Format: Audio CD
This book is a struggle to get through and nothing really happens throughout the pages or at the end. Save yourself the time and avoid this one.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 61 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Gail Cooke - Published on
Format: Audio Cassette
Inspector John Rebus, created by Edgar-Award winning author Ian Rankin, has won a legion of followers who cannot wait for the next Scotland based mystery involving the hardened, perspicacious detective. He's known for a bit of sardonic wit and a sleeve full of surprises.

Michael Page reads this, the 15th Rebus novel, with thorough understanding of the pivotal character, and segues nicely into the voice of his colleague Siobhan Clarke.

One would think that after years of covering city streets infested with crime and scoundrels there would be little to cause the flicker of an eyelash from Rebus. Not so. The murder of a refugee in a seedy building precedes a scenario more frightening than the battle scarred detective could ever have imagined. That building is only one in an area that holds more than dens of prostitution but has become a hub for the slave trade, which the government often chooses to ignore. Those seeking sanctuary are sold to the highest bidder for cheap labor.

While Rebus is confronted with a tangled web of killings, listeners are confronted with a reminder of man's inhumanity to man.

As often is the case, Rankin and Rebus present a thinking man's thriller ably read by Michael Page.

- Gail Cooke
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A look at the seamier side of Scotland. March 19 2005
By E. Bukowsky - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In "Fleshmarket Alley," by Ian Rankin, Detective Inspector John Rebus and Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke join forces to find the killer of a recent immigrant, the whereabouts of a missing young woman, and the origin of two skeletons found under a cement floor. Does Scotland bring to mind kilts, bagpipes, and bonnie lassies? Well, think again. According to Rankin, Glasgow is one of the murder capitals of the world. "Fleshmarket Alley" is filled with gangsters, racists, sexual predators, and more than a few common criminals.

John Rebus is close to being put out to pasture. Since his bosses have no use for him, he finds himself in Knoxland, a run-down, fetid, and crime-ridden housing development in Edinburgh. Knoxland has become a dumping ground for desperate refugees seeking asylum in Scotland; it is now a crime scene where an unidentified man was brutally stabbed to death. Meanwhile, a desperate couple has enlisted Siobhan to find their eighteen-year-old daughter, Ishbel, who packed a bag a week earlier and disappeared without a word.

Rebus is an inspector of the old school. He has a wide range of contacts, both legitimate and shady, whom he calls upon for inside information. It is amazing that Rebus can take a breath or stand up, since he seems to smoke and drink constantly. However, he is as sharp as ever, and what he lacks in youth, he makes up for in instinct, experience, and dogged persistence.

"Fleshmarket Alley" is a frank and disturbing look at the seamier side of Scotland. Rankin's characters range from racists who want all immigrants to go back "where they came from" to greedy opportunists who enrich themselves at the refugees' expense. As Rebus and Clarke work on their cases, they interview potential eyewitnesses as well as wealthy flesh peddlers and street thugs. However, the two detectives both find that their investigations are too complex to yield quick and simple solutions.

Rankin's dialogue in this novel is hard-edged and laced with dark humor; his plotting is intricate and involving. He skillfully and compassionately explores the problems of immigrants who seek refuge in a country where they are unwanted. As always, Rankin writes credibly about the politics, tedium, and often frustrating futility of police work. Rebus makes for a terrific anti-hero, and Siobhan Clarke is an excellent foil for him. "Fleshmarket Alley" is uncompromising and sometimes unpleasant to read, but it paints a realistic picture of the criminal activity that accompanies the troubling social problems plaguing Scotland today.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
What a Find in Ian Rankin! Feb. 14 2005
By B. Merritt - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is the first time I've read anything by Ian Rankin, and based on this book I'd rate him right up there with my three other favorite British mystery writers: P.D. James, Elizabeth George, and, of course, Agatha Christie.

And I needed a new mystery writer! Agatha hasn't written anything for quite some time (could be because she's dead), P.D. James hasn't had anything new (is she still writing?), and Elizabeth George is still working but I just couldn't wait any longer for her next book.

So it was with a great deal of pleasure that I was given an advanced reading copy of Fleshmarket Alley to review.

Why do I find British mystery writers so much better than their American counterparts? I know that a lot of people will take umbrage with this comment, but I always enjoy the British authors' writing styles compared to those in the States (if you agree with this sentiment, I have no doubt you'll enjoy this novel).

I found the story's complexity, depth, and length (a comfortable 420 pages) a very satisfying read. I don't know much about detective Rebus, but this book makes me want to read all of Mr. Rankin's earlier novels based on this character (starting with Knots and Crosses). This is my favorite type of murder mystery; it's not important who did the dastardly deed, it's the road to discovery as to why the murder(s) took place that make it a rich reading experience.

I also found this novel especially intriguing because of the political and sociological atmosphere (in Scotland) that surrounds the action and investigation-which gives you a lot to ponder, besides just the murders. I learned a great deal about the Scottish immigration and refugee problem, which made me more aware of issues outside of my own little world; it left me thinking about the book long after I'd finished reading. Isn't that what reading is all about?

I hope his other books are as satisfying as this one-I plan to read more about detective Rebus. My only complaint is that I wish they'd included a glossary of British/Scottish slang terms. I was a little lost when phrases like "no cheap plonk" and others suddenly appeared. I was able to figure it out in context, but for the average American reader, I'm sure a glossary would be much appreciated. Even so, it added to the flavor of this author's British roots and his style of writing.

Getting back to my earlier comment about British mystery writers over American mystery writers, the British authors don't seem to dumb-down their writing to appeal to the masses, while their American counterparts (you know . . . those "A", "B", "C", etc. murder mysteries) tend to be formulaic and repetitious after the third or fourth (or tenth!) book.

If you want a satisfying read and you've run out of British authors (like I have), try discovering Ian Rankin. You won't be disappointed.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Fleshmarket Close--Fleshmarket Alley in US Feb. 25 2005
By Flora McDonald - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have been reading Ian Rankin's books since his first Rebus book was published.However, I visit Edinburgh every year and purchase his books there. "Fleshmarket Alley" is "Fleshmarket Close" in the books published in the UK and somehow the US versions lose something (at least to me). It is great to be able to relate to the places that are mentioned in the books.Edinburgh is a beautiful city and Rankin brings both the good and the not so good to life. I was lucky enough to purchase Fleshmarket Close when it hit Waterstone's books in Edinburgh. It is another great Rebus saga and Ian Rankin's fans in the US won't be disappointed---even though some words have been changed for the US.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Rebus Redux Nov. 30 2005
By Laurie Fletcher - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Ian Rankin isn't the bestselling mystery writer in the UK for nothing. His main man (alter ego?) Inspector John Rebus is a living, breathing anachronism in a jaded world and it is a pleasure to travel in his orbit, even if it means being drunk an awful lot of the time, or so it seems. Rebus is one of those people who has apparently reached an equilibrium with his booze and has achieved a certain ability to operate where most of us would be on our faces. This book could drive you to join Rebus with its unstinting look at the treatment of immigrants and refugees in Scotland and elsewhere in the world and the vulnerability at the hands of a system where they are easily prey to fleshmongers and slave traders. It isn't a pretty picture and it isn't a pretty book, but the story is clean and solid and the story is one that absolutely needs to be told.

The murder that starts this book is almost incidental to the journey of discover that it causes for Rebus and his compatriots. There is a subordinate story that may or may not hook into the primary murder involving the search for a missing girl. It is a heartbreaking development following the suicide of her sister, who was raped and never mentally recovered from the ordeal. The rapist is now out of prison and we don't know what to make of this information. Did he nab her as well? When he turns up dead, she moves from potential hostage to potential murderer...but nobody can find her.

This is more quickly paced than most Rebus books and with denser plotting. You don't need to know Scotland to read this effectively, but it is a good idea to keep track of the story locations in your mind. It might tend to get a little confusing, and "place" means everything to the effectiveness of this story. As if that weren't enough, there is also a very unusual potential romance for Rebus in this book that will have you scratching your head right along with him!