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on November 18, 2012
I almost decided to forgo buying this book. I am a big fan of Rebus but my dislike for Malcolm Fox matched it. Thankfully and no thanks, to the impression given in the description, there is very very little of Fox's character in this book. What a great story and I can't express how happy I am that Rebus is back. If you are like me and are concerned that Fox would be interacting with Rebus throughout the book, I am here to tell you that he is not. Buy the book, black out any mention of Fox, and you will get a lot more than your moneys worth in quality writing. Thank you Rankin, I missed him.
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Detective Inspector John Rebus has returned from a lengthy sabbatical, just in time to take up a baffling missing person's case in the misty hollows of the Scottish Highlands just outside of Inverness. Not everyone in CID is glad to see him back because they remember all to well that Rebus is his own boss and does not suffer fools gladly. While he takes on a cold case of a woman who has gone missing for years, his detective's nose takes in another ominous direction. While querying people about what they recall about this young woman's whereabouts, Rebus is about to discover that life can become dangerously complicated in a hurry, especially when one drives along the A9 into the mysterious haunts of an uninviting copse land in search of clues to the remains of the dead. I liked this novel because, once again, Rankin portrays his hero as someone who is not afraid to be offside when searching for the truth wherever it takes him. When reading Rankin, whether it be the first time or one of many times, be prepared for some very curious procedural innovations that show Rebus at his best when getting the bad guys to do his dirty work. His keen sense tells him that there has to be a reason why more and more women are going missing, and the answer probably lies within the local constabulary dating back a few years. Of course, he will have help but it is often the variety that only gets in the way of taking risks and getting results regardless of protocol. In the end, Rebus, as the canny old detective, wins out because he patiently and tirelessly lets the evidence take him where it must.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon October 19, 2013
Book #18, in the Inspector Rebus series

After five years into retirement Rebus is back only to find himself in trouble, what else is new? We should have known better to think Rankin would have put his best protagonist to pasture. He is just too good a character to have done so.

Still his old self, drinking and smoking to excess, Rebus now in a civilian capacity works for the serious crime review looking into cold cases of long forgotten victims. He pairs up with his old protégée, Siobhan Clarke, and they embark on an investigation that will see them hopping all over Scotland even into the most remote of places. All along the way the author expertly spins a suspenseful tale one that could have been hard to put down if it wasn't for countless countryside description and poetically villages names and the constant moments when Rebus lights another cigarettes or opts for another drink.

As always Mr. Rankin is impressive at handling plot complication and adding twists to force his protagonist in taking unorthodox action, having a seditious behaviour and ignoring protocol. He is not a team player and never will and is well aware that he is out of step with the new way of working….but Rebus will rise up to the task and show us how to get the job done….he is in top shape to tackle anything…

I am glad Mr. Rankin resuscitated his grumpy old detective. This series was the author’s best and still is IMO.
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on July 4, 2013
Okay, I am a fan. I have been reading Ian Rankin's stuff and watching PBS series forever.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed another drive through Scotland and believe me there is plenty of (just) driving in this book. Once again, IR relies on the notion that successful detective work involves hanging around strip joints, late night drinking, and knowing who the thugs are (in this case were as many of them seem as over the hill as Rebus). Does the relentlessly pursuing internal investigator represent a rationale demand for order in a chaotic state or Capitian Ahab from another generation. Who knows? Does it further the plot or enhance the character arc? I heard an interview of IR and I drew the impression that he did not care.

The driving trips (really there is not enough detail to call them episodes---some it sounds like an AAA recommendation) and the dumping of body was similar enough to a crimes in the news (aka 'the highway of tears' and 'the pig farm') to suggest that this was a derivative effort rather than IR gold.

Despite these reservations, I finished it. With the right sound track, it would be an interesting road-trip audio-book (with the wrong track, likely, it would be ghastly) but my favorite in that genre would be 'Gone, but not forgotten'.

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John Rebus is back. But no longer as the maverick Detective Inspector Rebus, instead he John Rebus, civilian working with the soon to be disbanded Serious Crime Review Unit (SCRU). Some of his workmates are planning for retirement, while Rebus himself is planning on re-joining the police force.

The novel opens as Rebus is attending the funeral of a colleague. He's craving a cigarette (some things never change) and his boss is sending him text messages. Back at work, he takes a `phone call, and meets Nina Hazlitt. Nina's daughter Sally went missing from Aviemore on the A9, in 1999, and Nina believes that a number of other disappearances from other towns near the road are linked. Rebus listens: a current missing person case also has links to the same road.

Siobhan Clarke, Rebus's former protégée, is investigating the current missing person case, and the pair team up on an investigation that involves a lot of travel along the A9. Is there really a link between the cases, and will Rebus manage to solve the case before his superior officers finally lose their patience?

Inspector Malcolm Fox also has a part in this story: the `Complaints' is investigating Rebus, and especially his connections with `Big Ger' Cafferty:
`I know a cop gone bad when I see one. Rebus has spent so many years crossing the line he's managed to rub it out altogether.'

Rebus is an isolated character in this novel: partly because of the setting and partly because of his anarchic, maverick approach to investigating the case. Times are changing, and not always for the better.

`John Rebus should be extinct, Clarke. Somehow the Ice Age came and went and left him still swimming around while the rest of us evolved.'

I've not yet read all of the Rebus novels, and I've yet to read the two Fox novels. It's a bad habit of mine: reading series out of order. But despite this, I really enjoyed making John Rebus's acquaintance again. He's aged, and while he may not have improved with age as the whisky he likes, he still gets results. Do the ends always justify the means? Hmm.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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on December 15, 2012
Welcome back Rebus and Big Ger! Malcolm Fox is a great character as are the other boys from the Complaints Department but they are nowhere near as good as Rebus and his crowd. I hope that Rankin will not "kill off" the Rebus crowd just yet!
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on January 24, 2014
Ian Rankin in top form as always. The narrative captured me in the first few pages and held me there! Being born in Scotland and familiar with many of the places mentioned in the book just added to my enjoyment and I could "see" these places in my minds eye as he drove up and down the A9 and elsewhere! Detective fiction of the highest standard; something we have come to expect from such an amazing writer!
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on December 6, 2014
Good read, not Ian Rankin's best, but a good set up for a cold case thriller. I saw the end coming about half way through the book, so that was disappointing. But I love Rebus and Siobhan, so was happy to enjoy an easy read. Lost the 5th star because I thought the culprit was a tossed in solution instead of integrated into the story, and because it put Malcolm Fox in a negative light (I like the Fox books a lot).
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on February 9, 2013
Rankin has moved Rebus into a new phase of his life, and his presence in the story involves a fresh angle for John. I didn't much like the change…but then, that may be because it is familiar and annoying in my own life! Those of us grizzled old fans will just have to suck it up and face reality i guess! I found the ending unsatisfying. I await the next offering!
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on December 1, 2012
So glad to see Ian Rankin still has it in spades. One of the best from him in a while. More please!
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