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Standing in Another Man's Grave    by Ian Rankin order for
Standing in Another Man's Grave
by Ian Rankin
Order:  USA  Can
Orion, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I missed Inspector John Rebus when he retired and was glad to see him back again in Standing in Another Man's Grave. Now Rebus keeps his hand in as a consultant for the Lothian and Borders Police in a Cold Case Unit. But don't worry, retirement has in no way reduced his orneriness. And this time he gets to use it, not only against his wimpy boss (who plans not to support Rebus's application to rejoin the police) but also against another Rankin protagonist, internal affairs officer Malcolm Fox of The Complaints.

Nina Hazlitt approaches the Unit about her missing daughter Sally, who disappeared New Year's Eve, 1999. Nina mentions other, similar cases, of young women who all disappeared close to the same highway, the A9; she believes that a serial killer has been at work. Though at first skeptical, Rebus digs diligently, pulling his ex-partner Siobhan Clarke (now a Detective Inspector with a promising career ahead of her) into his mostly unauthorized investigation.

Gradually similarities emerge. Around the time of their disappearance, each girl sent a photo of hills and fields to someone she knew - was this a cry for help or her abductor's calling card? Soon Rebus's case becomes official police business, his role reduced. At the same time, Malcolm Fox is investigating Rebus whom he belives to be 'a cop gone bad', partly because of his weekly meetings with his old adversary, crime lord Cafferty. Fox interviews Siobhan, warning her to avoid being pulled out on one of Rebus's famous limbs.

As always in a Rebus investigation, life gets more and more complicated, with both Fox and Cafferty watching Rebus's every move. Bodies are found and a likely suspect arrested. Case closed? Not for Rebus, who takes every investigation all the way. Though warned off, and even run out of town by authorities, Rebus is determined to get his man, no matter who is protecting him - he goes out on a very long and shaky limb to do so.

It's great to have Ian Rankin's John Rebus back, and I hope his application to rejoin is accepted so that we get to read more of his irascible exploits!

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