Naming of the Dead Paperback – Jul 26 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
James Gale proves an excellent choice to narrate this latest entry to the long-running Inspector Rebus series. It's 2005 and Rebus is mourning the unexpected death of his brother. It is a death that will cause a lot of introspective musings for the detective as he sees his retirement edging over the horizon. But soon Rebus and his partner are after a possible serial killer who is doing in former sex offenders. Add to that the apparent suicide of an MP and the horror of the London subway bombings, and you have another first-rate Scottish mystery, that is only enhanced by Gale's performance. Gale's gruff, gravelly delivery brings just the right amount of world weariness to his characterization of Rebus. With the rich array of accents at his disposal, Gale is equally effective in his portrayal of Rankin's supporting characters, especially the smug amoral crime boss Cafferty, who comes across as a smirking, self-satisfied alley cat with fresh bird feathers in his whiskers.
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.
Rankin's U.S. publishers have been cashing in on the author's celebrity lately by reissuing his early work, originally published in the UK under a pseudonym, but now Rankin fans can get back to the really good stuff: a new John Rebus novel. Coming off what is arguably the best Rebus of all, Fleshmarket Alley (2005), Rankin faces a stern challenge, and while the new offering isn't quite among the series' elite, it's still a damn good book. It's July 2005, and Bush, Blair, and other international leaders are coming to Scotland for the G8 conference to be held outside Edinburgh. Anything but a company man, Detective Inspector Rebus finds himself relegated to the sidelines until he takes a call that lands him smack where he's not supposed to be: butting heads with conference organizers in an attempt to make sense of the apparent suicide of an attendee at a preconference dinner. The plot mushrooms out from there, of course, encompassing an ongoing serial-killer investigation and personal crises in the lives of both Rebus and his partner and protege, Siobhan Clarke. The focus on international events (including the London subway bombing) adds thematic heft to the novel but takes away a bit from the always-fascinating exploration of Rebus' melancholic heart of darkness. Still, Rankin continues to juggle his plot strains superbly and to add depth to the characterization of Clarke, whose multidimensionality nearly equals that of Rebus himself. Required reading for crime-fiction followers. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Rebus and Bosch have a lot in common. Both are usually a pain in the neck to their superiors. Both are near retirement (Bosch actually was already retired but could not bear it and came back), both were married and are fathers, but live alone. Both are boozers, but not druggies, both music addicts, though one more in rock, one in jazz.
This sequel is set in the surroundings of the G8 summit in Scotland in 2005. Rebus is being sidelined by his superiors, i.e. assigned to side shows and not the main event, so as to minimize embarrassments for his bosses, but of course that idea fails.
Rebus' protege Siobhan Clarke is involved in the protest demo against the summit. This is part of her family background. She became a cop out of contrariness against her parents, who are aging hippies and beacons of righteousness, with a long track record of political lecturing back into the good old 60s.
Security forces try to keep the summit trouble free, which is upset by an apparent suicide and an emerging serial killer, not to mention the usual anarchists' and neo-nazis' attempt to surf the good people's demo. Not to mention either the bickering among the services and their pecking order fights.
Though the whole is a trifle over the top in political patronizing, it is solid cop fare.
Detective Inspector Rebus has been sidelined, until an MP's apparent suicide coincides with clues that a serial killer may be on the loose. The powers that be are keen to keep the lid on both the suicide and the possibility of a killer on the loose. They would not make good headline reading while such important people are around and the possibility of overshadowing such an important meeting does not bear thinking about. But they have not taken into account the fact that Rebus has never been one to stick too closely to the rule book.
When a colleague of Rebus, Siobhan Clarke becomes involved in finding the identity of the riot policeman who assaulted her mother, it looks as though both of them may be involved against both sides in the conflict.
Rebus and his partner Clarke are on the case and due to the clues they are turning up believe they may have a serial killer. All the while tensions are running high between Rebus and Special Branch Commander Steelforth. The investigation leads to many questions of suicide or murder. Crime fiction enthusiasts will not want to miss this one. This is an astounding 5 stars!
Ian Rankin was born in the Kingdom of Fife and graduated from the University of Edinburg. The first of his Rebus novels, "Knots & Crosses" was published in 1987. Rankin is the UK's number one best-selling crime writer and lives in Edinburg with his wife and their two sons.
Naming of The Dead won the Worldbooks Crime Thriller of the Year Award. Ian Rankin has developed an intriguing plot that is loaded with twists and turns, and has created some very witty and memorable characters. Looking for a great read that holds your attention through to the end, that is difficult to put down and is a real page turner, then this is a must read, especially for the crime fiction enthusiasts every where.
Rebus and Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke become embroiled in what appears to be the murder of three sex offenders by a serial killer. Their investigation takes place against the backdrop of the G8 summit in Scotland, a conclave that is threatened by waves of protestors who have vowed to make their voices heard. Suddenly, one of the delegates, a Labor MP who was staying in Edinburgh Castle, falls or is pushed to his death. Although this is not, strictly speaking, John's case, he soon starts digging for evidence, and before long the cynical and sarcastic Rebus manages to get himself and Siobhan into a great deal of hot water.
"The Naming of the Dead," at four hundred and fifty pages, could have been trimmed quite a bit. The plot is extremely busy, there are too many secondary characters, and the narrative quickly loses steam. John's penchant for trouble leads him to confrontations with some thugs working for Special Branch as well as with James Corbyn, Edinburgh's chief constable, Morris Gerald Cafferty, known as Big Ger, "a villain of long standing" who has "fingers in every imaginable criminal pie," and a lay preacher, Councilman Gareth Tench, an unctuous politician with a thirst for power. Cafferty may know something about the killings that John is investigating, but Big Ger wants something in return for his cooperation. Rankin introduces a host of red herrings that keep the detectives busy chasing down leads before they finally learn the horrifying truth.
Rankin relies far too much on coincidences and far-fetched connections to tie up his loose ends, and the story's sluggish pacing makes reading "The Naming of the Dead" more of a chore than a pleasure. Still, John Rebus is a delightfully irreverent and sharp character who seeks justice even for victims whom most people would consider better off dead. Siobhan Clarke, a promising detective on her way up the ladder, is torn between loyalty to John and a desire to please her superiors. She knows that her friendship with Rebus is becoming a distinct liability. Until the last page, John frantically tries to even every score, regardless of the enemies that he makes in the process. Alas, even Rebus and Clarke cannot carry this book all by themselves and, like John's career, this series may at last be winding down.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown, the dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.' Pink Floyd
My favorite nonconformist Detective Inspector Rebus infuriates everyone including his bosses. He is based in Edinburgh, and this is 2005 the week of the G8 summit
Ian Rankin was in Edinburg during the G8 and he conveys the atmosphere to perfection, from the people with ideals, wanting to make a difference for the poorest people in the world through to the disaffected people of the poorest parts of Edinburgh who'd like to make a difference to their own lives. Rankin catches the protestors, the gung-ho attitude of some of the police and the edginess of the crowds. I felt I was there: On occasions I could feel the anxiety. There are contrasts with the situation at Gleneagles, where no expense or detail is spared to protect the leaders and to provide facilities for their staff. The futility of the summit against the backdrop of what was happening in the real world is real and palpable.
The 16th Inspector Rebus novel is a big read set against the backdrop of one of the most tumultuous weeks in recent Scottish history: the G8. Rankin digs deeper into Rebus's psyche and continues to explore themes of justice and retribution, impermanence, loss and regret. Rebus is the same truculent character he has always been and impending old age - his 60th birthday and consequent retirement - is preying on his mind.
The Naming of The Dead which Rankin took from a ceremony to honour those who had died in Iraq which took place in Edinburgh in 2005. While every cop and his dog is pulling overtime to cope with the daily marches and demonstrations surrounding the summit, Rebus has been sidelined. Who wants him getting close to world leaders? But when a body is discovered in a glade in Auchterarder, Rebus, as the only person left in the office and he is assigned the case and finds himself visiting the G8 after all.
Almost immediately, he clashes with the English police commander in charge of G8 security. Before long, he has everybody's backs up as he explores the possibility that an MP's drop off Edinburgh Castle's ramparts was murder, not suicide, and that a serial killer is preying on convicted rapists harvested from a vigilante website. Rebus' s close friend - Siobhan Clarke - is also at odds with her superiors as she attempts to find the riot cop who clobbered her mother during one of the many demonstrations. She's also getting entangled with Rebus's nemesis, thuggish crime boss Big Ger Cafferty, who is showing an unhealthy interest in her while getting in the way of Rebus's investigations.
The strength of this novel lies in the way that Ian Rankin places the murders and the G8 to his exploration of character: We get more insight into Siobhan Clarke as she struggles with her parental relationships. Rebus is brooding on his age and increasing isolation, thinking about the unexpected death of his brother and the way he has messed up with the rest of his family. And, Rebus, has his love of rock music, Pink Floyd, The Who, U2, the Stones-he has every record and Cd and knows every verse and lyric. He often ties the crime to a lyric of a song. Some have mentioned the length of this novel. It may be overly long, but Ian Rankin was able to keep my attention with the depth of his characterization, and he has tied the plot lines together with a twist. There may be but one Rebus novel left. Policeman in Scotland must retire when they reach age 60. Ian Rankin's almost certainly the best crime novelist writing at the moment and there are few to beat him in any other genre
Rebus, as usual battles with a local crime boss, apolitical boss, his police bosses, a corrupt arms dealer and an arrogant Special Branch official from London. He's formed alliances with a reporter, a computer whiz and several police colleagues who can gather data that he cannot. Technology has become of Rebus's 'life and a web site plays heavily into the three murders. He is technically quite proficient as a detective and Rebus is someone I want on my side. Not much escapes him. Rebus and Siobhan are becoming closer and we can see the emotions in Rebus come to the fore. There is respect and love, but unmentioned as of yet.
Ian Rankin has said in an interview , "At the core of The Naming of the Dead is a pretty basic question: What difference do we make in the world? Rebus is cast as the aging cynic, while his colleague Siobhan is younger and more idealistic. So while Rebus is dismissive of the power of rock stars to change the situation in Africa, Siobhan is hopeful. Can concerts alter world events? Can marches and protests change politicians' minds? Can the individual make a difference? Rebus is beginning to realise that during all the years he's been a cop, and for all the bad people he's put behind bars... crime is always with us. As for my own view on all the above... it's somewhere between Rebus and Siobhan!"
Highly Recommended, Comfortably Numb or Not. prisrob 5-27-07
Fleshmarket Alley: An Inspector Rebus Novel