Little, Brown & Co., 2003 (2001)
Hardcover, Softcover, Audio
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
his is the fifteenth book in Ian Rankin's brilliant series starring Edinburgh Inspector John Rebus. As the story opens, Rebus is in the penalty box after thowing a cup of tea at his new boss DCS Gill Templer, in the middle of a murder inquiry. The victim is an art dealer who turns out to have ties to John's old nemesis, '
' Cafferty. The latter has scammed his way out of jail by supposedly being on the verge of death from cancer.
he Inspector is sent on a refresher course to the police college at Tulliallan, along with a '
' of other experienced professionals, who are equally, and frequently, at odds with their superiors. It turns out though, that Rebus engineered events, on the request of Chief Constable Sir David Strathern, who suspects some of John's Tulliallan drinking companions of having stolen millions from a convicted drug-dealer. Rebus tempts his peers with his own plan for a heist. This goes awry when someone actually carries it off.
t Tulliallan, the group (as part of an exercise in teamwork) takes on a cold case, which brings back ghosts from Rebus' own past. He begins to wonder if the Chief Constable is killing more than one bird with his scheme, and if John's own secrets (and career) are safe. In the meantime, recently promoted DS Siobhan Clarke has to cope with the proximity of her stalker colleague, the slimy Derek Linford, who is seconded to the murder investigation.
hough I have always been a big fan of this series, I am especially enjoying Siobhan's emergence as a key character and a foil for Rebus, with whom she shares many traits, in particular an independence and a stubborn desire to see justice done. Her case eventually converges with Rebus' investigation, and leads them both to personal danger, and to solution of the various mysteries. As usual, Cafferty has the last word, leaving John Rebus to sadly conclude '
I've made a pact with the devil
' as he achieves his own '
kind of resurrection.
The 1st American edition will be released in February 2003.
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