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Set in Darkness (Inspector Rebus #11) [Mass Market Paperback]

Ian Rankin
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book by Rankin, Ian

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
By and large, fictional detectives aren't a cheery lot. Kay Scarpetta spends her time contemplating the ugliness of humanity, surrounded by corpses which illustrate man's inhumanity to man. The brilliant Adam Dalgliesh isn't exactly the life of the party, though he's an extremely sensitive soul who writes poetry - an intriguing character facet.
But Ian Rankin's Edinburgh police inspector John Rebus is a breed unto himself. He loves the Rolling Stones and rock music in general. He has terrible luck with women and drinks far too much for his own good. He's stubborn, often rude and causes his superiors a great deal of worry. How many of us can identify with us on one level or another?
Yet I'm always glad to see him in any new novel by Mr. Rankin and "Set In Darkness" does not disappoint. Rankin's Rebus is one of the most memorable characters in 20th century crime fiction. Though his is a morose personality, his dark sides never eclipse his basic humanity. He makes mistakes and bad choices in his personal life, but when it comes to solving a crime he's dead on and often at odds with his long-suffering co-workers.
This time, Rebus must solve the mystery of the death of Roddy Grieve, an up-and-coming member of the Scottish Parliment who possesses a surname I found rather interesting, given his tragic fate. Grieve turns up dead on the same piece of land where a new Scottish Parliment building is going to be built. But he's not the first body to turn up in the ruins of the building on this property which is being demolished - an unknown skeleton has preceeded Grieve in death and has been walled up in the old building. Who put it there? Who is it? And what's being covered up?
Rankin sprinkles his main story with well-constructed subplots.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! Another hit! Nov. 30 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the most satisfying series I have ever read and this one is a gem. The story about Scotland regaining its parliament and the history of Edinburgh are a superb backdrop to this dark chapter in the life and times of John Rebus. Rankin has really set up a puzzler this time--three murders (one old, new two) with no apparent ties. But as Rebus begins the hunt, the pieces start coming together into an extremely satisfying and well-constructed conclusion. As always, the supporting characters and subplots are as intricate and vital to the overall story as is Rebus and the initial crime.I finish each book and it takes awhile to come back to the real world. Rebus' ongoing personal and professional problems are beautifully woven into the story. His is so complex a character that I would suggest that, if you are thinking about reading the series, you start at the beginning. READ THESE BOOKS! You will not be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid Police Procedural Jan. 4 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a well written police procedural/hard boiled detective novel. Part of a popular series set in Edinburgh and featuring the distinctly hard boiled Detective Inspector Rebus. As with many novels in this genre, Rebus is flawed human being redeemed by his obsessive interest in pursuing the truth and establishing justice, features often unappreciated by his superiors. While hardly at the level of Raymond Chandler, these books are solid examples of the genre, written well with good plotting and creditable characters. Good entertainment reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The problem with Ian Rankin Feb. 9 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The problem with Ian Rankin is that he makes all the other mystery writers I read (and I read plenty) look second rate. I believe he is the best writer active in this genre today, surpassing even Robert Barnard, Reginald Hill and Ruth Rendell.
Inspector Rebus is brilliant and flawed. The story is as close to perfect as a mystery gets. The dialog is unforced and natural. The description is mood-setting without being distracting. If you haven't read any Rankin, do yourself a favor by going back and reading them all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and complex, but not his best March 14 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Ian Rankin has been my favorite author ever since I discovered a remainder copy of "Strip Jack" at a bookstore four years ago; after reading that I found everything I could that he had written, and I have snapped up each new book. I hate to say I am a little disappointed with this one. The intricacies of the plot and spare, terse writing style are equal to Rankin's previous Inspector Rebus books, as are all the characterizations but for one: John Rebus himself. I couldn't help but feel that DI Rebus got relegated to being an almost secondary character alongside the other detectives, suspects, and criminals peopling the book, and worse yet, he didn't put up much of a fight about it. I've read every Rebus book and if there's one thing the guy doesn't do naturally, it's "subdued." His interrogation of a heart-attack victim near the close of "Set in Darkness" was, I felt, the first time I really recognized him in this book. Also good: the thread involving Rebus's dogged pursuit of an underworld boss who's probably the closest thing to a friend Rebus has. But if you haven't read a John Rebus mystery, I would recommend trying "Knots and Crosses" or "Tooth and Nail" first if you want to see Rebus at his flawed, fascinating and incredibly capable best.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Where snakes in the ground go absolutely free Feb. 10 2001
Format:Hardcover
Farmer Watson has decided to keep Detective Inspector John Rebus out of trouble by assigning him to a committee concerned with the new Scottish Parliament's security. Rebus inspects the building work at Queensbury House with his colleagues, including fast-tracker Derek Linford. However, Rebus seems to attract trouble, and it's not long before a body is discovered...
I've only read the one Rebus novel before, The Hanging Garden, and in that earlier composition, Rebus seemed to work much more on his own. Set in Darkness is a more of an ensemble piece, and seems to hail from the tradition of the police procedural. Rebus's colleagues are very much in the limelight, featuring Linford's flirtation with Siobhan Clarke, and the 'Time Team' of Wylie and Hood. There are just as many coincidences as you'd find in three editions of TV's 'The Bill' (where the two crimes per episode are always inextricably linked). This is probably related to the Kevin Bacon game, the 'six degrees of separation' (where everyone on the planet has links with everyone else), mentioned in the novel. Rankin concentrates on the smaller universe that consists of Edinburgh, and this is more than enough. Indeed, so flourished is this novel with characters, that if you put the narrative down, you're bound to be really confused when you come back to it.
Not long after 'Skelly' is discovered in Queensbury House, the corpse of the prospective MSP Roddy Grieve is also found there. Siobhan Clarke witnesses the suicide of a tramp who had half a million in the bank. Meanwhile, two men are assaulting women from singles' clubs.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I love Ian Rankin & Inspector Rebus & this book doesn't disappoint. The used condition of the book was OK & the book was actually cheaper with shipping & all than a similar used... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Susan Schell
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, and at times great, author
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 11 months ago by Geordie A.
4.0 out of 5 stars You have to like dark mysteries...
Ian Rankin's "Set in Darkness" is actually a reprint of a book he originally wrote and published in the late 1990's. Read more
Published on July 6 2010 by Jill Meyer
2.0 out of 5 stars The Voice of Dissent
After reading the other reviews, I wondered if I read the same book. Slow, complex, convoluted. Honestly, Edinburgh does not present the alure that it apparently does to... Read more
Published on Dec 18 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Book- What a Series!!!
I heard that Ian Rankin was a very good writer, but I never picked up any of his books to read. That was my mistake. Read more
Published on Nov. 15 2001 by Joseph A. Hines
5.0 out of 5 stars Rankin Does It Again
Ian Rankin just gets better and better. His (anti-)hero John Rebus, an Edinburgh cop, never fails to fascinate. Read more
Published on Oct. 3 2001 by incurable_bibliophile
5.0 out of 5 stars Rebus personifies gritty Edinburgh
Dreary winter is settling over Edinburgh but the building boom bustles on and Inspector John Rebus, for his sins, finds himself assigned to security at Queensbury House, the... Read more
Published on Dec 11 2000 by Lynn Harnett
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