A pair of skeletons revealed under the concrete slab of a pub, a dead immigrant, a missing young woman, a dead rapist, a Glasgow thug operating a nightclub in Edinburgh – so many disparate threads, each one proving to be elusive. So it is up to Rebus and Siobhan to try to unravel these mysteries, which run parallel and at one point get entangled.
Rebus is out of St. Leonard’s, his old hunting ground. With the reorganisation of CID, he and his protégé Siobhan are now operating out of Gayfield Square police station. This means a new boss and new set of colleagues, but it hardly bothers Rebus. He is as loner as ever. Nearing his retirement, Rebus is “surplus to requirement”, result of his infamous reputation and years spent in perfecting insubordination. So when an immigrant Kurd is killed in what looks like a race crime, Rebus is the only one who is serious about the investigation. With his usual tenacity, he dives into the case. Meanwhile, Siobhan is trying to find out why two stolen medical skeletons were buried under a pub. Then there is a missing young woman, whose elder sister took her own life after she was raped. Her rapist is now out of prison and when he turns up dead, the case takes a new turn. In the meanwhile in their quest to trace the missing girl, Rebus and Siobhan land at a nightclub run by son of a dead Glaswegian gangster. And behind all of this, there is shadow of Rebus’s old nemesis, Big Ger Cafferty, looming as large as ever.
The story revolves mostly around two locations, Knoxland, a bleak estate where immigrants are given refugee by town council and the town of Banehall, whose main economic benefactor is Whitemire – a prison, now turned into a detention centre for asylum seekers. In the course of investigation, Rebus also comes face to face with slave trade of the immigrants. The mysteries are intertwined as usual and in the end Rebus and Siobhan manage to solve all of them.
The series is now nearing its end and I am still not sure why I like Rankin so much. But I like his books nevertheless; like million other readers. Not all the books in the series are great, but a mediocre Rebus book will still be better than many others on any day for me. Rankin uses mysteries to tackle tricky social issues and Rebus highlights the fallacy, irony and futility of everything with his usual cynicism.
And then there is John Rebus. I am enamoured by his sarcasm, his little antics and mind games and above all his wry humour. I am also growing fond of Siobhan, who is gaining influence in the books. She is counterbalance to Rebus’s somewhat recklessness and yet I can’t help noticing that she is slowly turning into another Rebus, not as cynic and loner yet, but the early signs are definitely there. Rebus has a penchant for 60’s jazz and for a novice in western music like me; the books also serve as a ready reckoner of Jazz bands. By the way, did you know that there was a famous Jazz band in 70’s named “The Mahavishnu Orchestra” after the Hindu god? I certainly did not.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your time.
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