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.