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The Falls Mass Market Paperback – Feb 8 2003


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reissue edition (Feb. 8 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312982402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312982409
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.8 x 16.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,387,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Success has a price, and the remarkable acclaim (both critical and commercial) that greeted the gritty Edinburgh-set crime novels of Ian Rankin has set the author a considerable problem. How does he maintain the freshness of detail and atmosphere that have made his books such riveting reading? And how does he keep his tough detective DI John Rebus from degenerating into a series of mannerisms? If Raymond Chandler grew tired of Philip Marlowe and Conan Doyle of Holmes, Rankin would have been in good company if he gave up on Rebus. Fortunately, his belief in the character clearly remains as powerful as ever, and The Falls is the most impressive Rebus novel in many a moon. The detective's personal problems--overused of late--are wisely sidelined in order to concentrate on a highly intriguing (and topical) plot.

When a student vanishes in Edinburgh, there is pressure on Rebus to find her, particularly as she is the scion of a family of extremely rich bankers. Needless to say, this is more than just the case of a spoilt rich girl breaking out of the cage of family responsibilities, and a carved wooden doll in a coffin found in her home village leads Rebus to the Internet role-playing game that she was involved in. And when DC Siobhan Clarke, a key member of Rebus' team, tackles the Virtual Quizmaster, Rankin finds himself struggling to save her from the same fate as the missing girl.

Consummate plotting has always been Rankin's trademark, and that skill is put to maximum use here. The balance between developing the characterisation of the ill-assorted team of coppers that Rebus assembles and the labyrinthine twists of the plot is maintained with an iron hand, and Rankin's mordant eye remains as keen as ever:

"You okay, John?" Curt reached out a hand and touched his shoulder. Rebus shook his head slowly, eyes squeezed shut. Curt didn't make it out the first time, so Rebus had to repeat what he said next: "I don't believe in heaven." That was the horror of it. This life was the only one you got. No redemption afterwards, no chance of wiping the slate clean and starting over. Rebus said "There is no justice in the world." "You'd know more about that than I would", Curt replied.

--Barry Forshaw --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

A number one U.K. bestseller, Rankin's 13th novel featuring Scottish Det. Insp. John Rebus may be his breakout book in the U.S. Rankin's brilliant evocation of a moody Edinburgh, deeply human characters and labyrinthine plot give dimension to this always absorbing series. With his stubborn insistence on tying up the frayed ends of every knotty clue, and iconoclastic refusal to be a team player, hard-drinking Rebus is a bane to his superiors but a blessing to readers. University student Philippa Balfour, daughter of the powerful head of a private bank, disappears; the few clues are incongruous a puzzling Internet role-playing game she participated in and a doll in a tiny wooden coffin found near her discordant family's home. Rebus's assistant, Det. Constable Siobhan Clarke, tackles the mysterious Internet game; Rebus ignores his superiors by obsessively following the coffin's obscure historical implications, aided by museum curator Jean Burchill, a friend of newly appointed Det. Chief Supt. Gill Templer and a promising anodyne to Rebus's lonely personal life. Readers won't be able to skim this dark, densely written novel, but they won't want to. Artfully placed red herrings, a large cast of multifaceted characters and a gripping pace will keep them engrossed. And Rebus is a character whose devils and idiosyncrasies will leave them eager for more. (Nov. 8)Forecast: A bestseller in Ireland, Australia and Canada as well, this novel may achieve similar heights here, spurred by a tour by the Edinburgh author, winner of Britain's Gold Dagger Award.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love Ian Rankin's Rebus series, even though I am constantly amazed at the extent to which Rebus is able to drink and hold down a job -- I think the Scots are more tolerant of heavy drinkers than American employers would be.
That having been said, reading this mystery was like a trip to Edinburgh as someone who lives and works there sees the city -- a city with very deep roots in history, still influenced by events that occurred hundreds of years ago, living under the shadow of a castle and with history in every building.
The plot involves the disappearance of a wealthy young college student, who was supposed to be meeting friends for drinks and never shows up. Because of who she is, all the stops are pulled out to find her, and Rebus finds himself one of many working on this case. He believes from the start that she has been killed and he is investigating a homicide. He also thinks there's some connection between her death and some miniature coffins that have been found from time to time, and there's a possibility that her death is connected to a puzzle-solving computer game she's been playing.
If you like mysteries that make you think, that really challenge your intelligence and are written with literary skill that will make them timeless classics, Rankin is an author for you. This is my fourth book by him and I'm relishing reading more in the series.
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Format: Hardcover
This Rebus novel is quite different from the rest of the cannon. It seems somehow less dark, les forbidding, but that is just on the surface. Underneath it is just as dark and sinister as the rest of them, but this time that darkness is carried over more subtely, so much so that you don't even notice.
Ian Rankin's prose is sharp and often witty, and his Edinbuirgh (Which in this is perhaps at the most vivid it ever has been) is superbly drawn. I live a long way away from the city, and have never been there, yet i still get an intense picture of it in my mind. Rankin's Edinburgh pulses with energy and throbs with a dark sinister evil that you cant quite place.
The plot in this one contains no big gansters, no organised crime. Just a simple (appearing so at first, at least) puzzle about the disappearance of a young girl. Also, as a subplot Rankin brilliantly interweaves the step back into history, and as Rebus excavates the soil surrounding the truth about the Arthur's Seat coffins. All of it is very cleverly done, and you want to know the solution to each puzzle, even though one is centred years and years in the past, equally as much.
Rebus is more sombre this time around, and you get the sense that he is slowing down somewhat, Rankin as well as Rebus. And with his new love interest (who is the most promising of the lot) we begin to see a bright new spark in John, as he glimpses something for him which lies past the job...
This is a very good book, and Rankin is one of the shining stars of British writing. Long may he continue to be so. ....
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Format: Hardcover
A wealthy Edinburgh university student goes missing, and the pressure is on to find her. John Rebus and Siobhan Clarke are assigned to the case. Soon they discover that "Flip" was participating in an internet role playing game just before she disappeared. Clarke, knowing much more about computers and the internet than Rebus, starts communicating with the Gamemaster, a shadowy character at best. Rebus follows up on another clue, a small carved wooden doll in a miniature coffin. He's led to the Edinburgh Museum where a charming woman named Jean shows him similar antique coffins unearthed around Edinburgh. Inspector Rebus is now in his fifties and mentions retirement several times in this book. Siobhan Clarke had much of the spotlight in the story, as if Rankin is grooming her to take over as the main character when Rebus is no more. Although the hints of retirement for Rebus were disturbing, this book is an overall good read, if a bit overlong. This is my favorite mystery series ever and I'm looking forward to Resurrection Men in January 2002 ( UK release date ).
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of the longest and most complex John Rebus mysteries, but it is well worth the significant investment of one's time and attention. In fact, the writing is so good, the movement of the plot so inexorable, the characterizations so authentic, the scenes so utterly Scottish that aside from wanting the solution to the mystery, I could have kept reading for another 4-500 pages!
I won't repeat what others have described of the story but add some details I found interesting. First, the Internet role-playing aspect was not only completely authentic (I have a young adult son who keeps me up on these things), but presented with a delicate balance that didn't talk down to the non-Internet initiates, but wasn't incomprehensible either. I almost got interested in the games myself. Second, I was captivated by the intricate exploration of the problems encountered by both men and women when women rise to positions of leadership in traditionally male-dominated fields. It's great that Rankin understands that there are no easy answers and that there are always tradeoffs. I wish the men I knew in my field had as much understanding. Finally, John Rebus is definitely maturing emotionally and spiritually as he matures in years. I enjoyed every flash of insight into his complex person as the plot unfolded. If you haven't read Rankin before, start! You can watch the growth of the author and the characters by starting with the first, Knots and Crosses, or you can plunge into the full-blown alternative reality in this book. Either way, you will emerge glad you invested the time.
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