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The Black Book Paperback – Aug 4 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (Aug. 4 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031256564X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312565640
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 490 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #851,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

With this latest action-packed adventure of Edinburgh's Inspector John Rebus, Rankin steps into the company of accomplished fellow British procedural writers John Harvey and Peter Turnbull. Events lead the inspector to consider the "black comedy" of his life. His ex-con brother arrives in town just as Rebus, blown off by his doctor ladyfriend, returns to his own pad where, surrounded by his student tenants, he has to sleep on the couch. He is similarly buffeted on the professional front: a colleague is brained at a restaurant owned by an Elvis enthusiast; a man is stabbed in a butcher shop; a convicted child molester returns to the city; the bullet that killed an unknown man five years ago was fired from a gun that Rebus has unwisely and unwittingly purchased. With the addition of missing vans, a kidnapped man left hanging upside down from a railway bridge, good beer and protection money, Rankin offers about four times as much plot here as in his earlier Strip Jack. This tale is, however, only twice as good, as Rankin tries to resolve everything at the conclusion. A loose end or two never hurt a good crime yarn. Just ask Raymond Chandler.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Rankin is a gifted but too-little-known crime writer whose Inspector Rebus stories deserve to be in every mystery collection worth its salt. Rebus, an Edinburgh copper, is a wonderfully complex human being with the proverbial feet of clay. He has alienated his girlfriend, his ne'er-do-well brother has deposited himself in Rebus' apartment with every appearance of staying for good, his promising new sergeant has been mugged, and his most unfavorite colleague is again out to discredit Rebus. But Rebus' personal troubles pale when a local butcher is stabbed, and the investigation leads Rebus to conclude that the attack is somehow connected to a years-old unsolved arson-homicide case. Despite warnings from his superiors to leave the case alone, Rebus begins unraveling the tenuous threads that lead him toward a dangerous secret from the past. Rankin's compelling and original plot is almost as intriguing as the gruff, tough, rebellious Rebus, whose rough exterior hides a charming, funny, tenderhearted human being we'd all like to know. A supremely satisfying read. Emily Melton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
“The Black Book” is a fascinating volume in the Ian Rankin “Rebus” mystery series because for the first time it brings together Rebus and Siobhan Clarke. DC Clarke comes to the fore as John Rebus’ normal partner Brian Holmes is hospitalized after a hit to the head. In a sense, Clarke is subjected to Rebus’ interpersonal (more accurately anti-personal) style, Rebus being someone who doesn’t warm to other people near him easily or quickly, is often abrupt, demanding, sarcastic and sometimes outright antagonistic. However, it becomes clear very quickly that DC Clarke, though not thick-skinned or insensitive, can hand out as much as she has to receive, even from her superior. So it is amusing to follow the two of them straightening out their respective tastes in popular music, for Rebus to temper his suspicion of her strong academic background and the fact she is English rather than Scottish.
The case itself involves a surveillance of what appears to be a loan sharking or protection racket. However Rebus, as is often the case, pursues it in his own fashion. He links it to a 5 year old cold case in which an infamous hotel in Edinburgh, which has hosted no end of disreputable characters and activities, burns down, leaving an unidentifiable corpse. Clarke becomes every part his equal in turn of fleshing out the bits of evidence and making connections between the two cases.
I think the detective skill that is Rebus‘ forte, in addition to doggedness and the total disregard for the instructions coming from the police hierarchy, is his ability to connect seemly unrelated events. And I think this is an attribute Clarke shares.
The interplay between Rebus and Clarke makes the unwinding of the plot entertaining, and presages a relationship which is in many ways a critical part of the succeeding novels. For that reason, readers might want to read “The Black Book” before later volumes in the series.
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By A Customer on March 19 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ian Rankin must now hold the position as one of the UK's finest crime writers with his 5th "Inspector Rebus novel", The Black
Book. Set in the depths of Edinburgh's criminal fraternity, Rankin captures the persona of a hard-nosed Scottish policeman,
(John Rebus) as he attempts to solve a five-year old case. Notes about it are hidden in a black book kept by his colleague,
Brian Holmes, the victim of a brutal assault. The scene is the Central Hotel, a paradise for the degeneracy and squalor which
breed within its walls until it is razed to the ground; the eventual investigation yields one dead body but no clues. Five years on and Morris Gerald Cafferty (one of Edinburgh's most notorious criminals) is under surveillance for his role in a gang of loan sharks. In the course of this Rebus is blighted by personal problems and eventual suspension from the police force whilst trying to link the fire at Central Hotel to Cafferty's own illegal dealings. Amidst the lies and intrigue there lies a terrifying link that, if exposed, could result in vicious reprisals for many other people. With all detective novels it is difficult to fully explain a plot without revealing the conclusion but with Rankin, nothing is certain until the final page. This is a stunning piece of work; particularly striking is the originality of the characters and plot that culminates in an energetic yet decisive result. If you read no other crime thriller this year then read Ian Rankin's work, impressive and highly elegant.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Early last year I read a British publication of this book and found it one of the best Inspector Rebus novels yet. Inspector Rebus himself, is such a fascinating charachter that his inner conflicts, history of broken relationships, addiction to good Scottish whiskey and love of his extensive and eclectic music collection make him as much of a mystery as the series of mysterious murders he investigates. Sometimes, as he has done here, Ian Rankin introduces other similarly intriguing by players, some of whom have previous and again mysterious histories with Rebus. The interaction between Rebus, other charachters and the history and surroundings of Edinborough itself paint such a vivid, moody and tense atmosphere that often the obligatory murder or two seem almost superfluos. The murder/s however, are in fact never too much. Each is different, unexpected and initially seemingly unsolveable and, as in this book, the answers and Rebus' manner of finding them lead the reader through an entirely unexpected journey that, as the plot developes, twists like Rebus' mind and Edinborough's ancient streets and alleyways.
To be more specific as to the who's, what's and where's involved in this tales' journey would ruin the prospective delight of any new readers reactions and absorbsion of those details. It's a fine book by an accomplished Master of Mystery and Creator of Charachter. Rankin is so much more than those two phrases infer .... he is a true and fascinating Novelist.
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By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 10 2007
Format: Paperback
After finding a colleague's notebook, John Rebus revives a cold case involving a hotel fire where an unidentified body was found 5 years prior. With the help of his partners, he must piece together a jigsaw of secret codes and follow leads that will bring an end to the investigation.

The reader will find the story is build layer by layer, till it reaches the climax at the end of the book. I like this laconic and well- paced novel where human flaws and frailty are contained, I would recommend it as a change.
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