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Ian Rankin's ninth book about Inspector John Rebus of the Edinburgh police is so full of story that it seems about to explode into shapeless anarchy at any moment. What keeps it from doing so is Rankin's strong heart and even stronger writing skills. When a Bosnian prostitute refuses to testify against a crime boss who has threatened her family, he says this about the cops trying to pressure her: "Silence in the room. They were all looking at her. Four men, men with jobs, family ties, men with lives of their own. In the scheme of things, they seldom realised how well off they were. And now they realised something else: how helpless they were."
Rebus is trying to help the young woman--renamed Candice by the young, slick, brutal thug Tommy Telford, who is into everything from drugs and prostitution to aiding a Japanese business syndicate in acquiring a local golf course--because she's about the same age and physical aspect as his own daughter, Sammy. He's also conducting the investigation of a suspected Nazi war criminal, an old man who spends his time tending graves in Warriston cemetery. "A cemetery should have been about death, but Warriston didn't feel that way to Rebus. Much of it resembled a rambling park into which some statuary had been dropped," Rankin writes with the icy clarity of cold water over stone.
Add to this Rebus's involvement with an imprisoned crime boss in a plan to bring Telford down; his continuing battle with drink; the strong possibility that people high up in the British government don't want the old Nazi exposed; danger to Sammy and her journalist lover because of her father's work; and a somewhat strained metaphor of Edinburgh as a new Babylon and you have an admittedly large pot of stew. But Rankin's high art keeps it all bubbling and rich with flavor. Others in the Rebus series include his 1997 Edgar Award-nominated Black and Blue, as well as Hide and Seek, Knots and Crosses, Let It Bleed, Mortal Causes, Strip Jack, and Tooth and Nail. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This sprawling, overloaded mystery from a justly acclaimed and usually very reliable crime author is a disappointment. Through nine previous novels (Black and Blue, 1997, etc.), dogged Edinburgh copper John Rebus has been captivating company?a man willing to place career before family and known to find solace in the bottle as his personal life takes an inevitable pounding. In this latest, Rebus's woes are strictly secondary (even as his daughter Samantha lies in a coma after a hit and run) as unsuspecting Edinburgh is rapidly transformed into the crime capital of the Western world. New hoodlum Tommy Telford is taking over, running whores imported from Eastern Europe, conspiring with Japanese businessmen to buy golf courses and selling drugs from the back of an ice cream van. All this upsets Ger Rafferty, the reigning hoodlum, who's stuck in prison and friendly with Rebus. Rebus makes a deal with Ger to take Telford down. Rebus also gives shelter to a suicidal prostitute and investigates the life and times of Joseph Lintz, a retired academic and alleged Nazi war criminal. A supremely implausible piece of plotting links Lintz to Telford's crowd. The evolution of Scotland's capital city into a gangster-riddled Babylon is bold, but all the canny procedural detail that Rankin is known for is lamentably jettisoned for a train wreck of a novel that aims for cinematic epic mayhem but achieves only narrative chaos instead. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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