Posted 20 hours ago

A Song for the Dark Times: The Brand New Must-Read Rebus Thriller

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I have been reading this series so long now that each new book gets an automatic five stars. I like all the characters, cannot fault the writing style, and always enjoy the humour and the police work. When I sit down with Inspector Rebus and Siobhan Clarke I know I am in for a good time. Mark Sanderson, “The best crime fiction for October 2020 — Ian Rankin’s thriller is perfect for our dark times,” The Times 29 September 2020

A Song for the Dark Times was an excellent read. Rebus is really showing his age and poor health now but he is as determined to stir things up as he ever was. This time his interest is doubled because the missing man is his daughter's husband and, although she is as rude to him as she ever was, he is desperate to help her. I can’t believe this is the first book I have read by prolific writer, Ian Rankin. It won’t be the last!What follows is alternating chapters between the organized and fully resourced investigation in Edinburgh and the rather country-bumpkin style one in the Highlands. The contrasting styles of city vs. country cop are on display, with Rebus straddling both. The window in the main bedroom had been opened to air the place. It looked bigger of course, without the furniture and the restless figure of John Rebus." This time, our retired detective, suffering from COPD, has moved home to a ground floor flat and has his former assistant looking after his dog while he gads about the Highlands trying to solve the murder of his estranged daughter’s partner. Siobhan has her own mystery to solve: a young Saudi found murdered in his fancy car in Edinburgh. Are the murders related? Given this is fiction, they have to be, even in some remote way, to make the plot work.

This is Rankin at his best, Rebus at his best, storytelling that meets the moment and transcends all genres and expectations’ MICHAEL CONNELLYOverall, this is an engrossing and compelling read which is impossible to put down. Ian Rankin, in my opinion, is the master of this genre, the quality remains high throughout this long series and I can’t wait to read what happens next! Long live Rebus!

As this twenty third book in the series opens Rebus is moving house. Well strictly speaking he’s still in the same building but moving down from his upper floor flat to the ground floor. He’s suffering from COPD, a chronic disease that obstructs the flow of air to his lungs. That means no ciggies and no booze. Oh dear, this isn’t going to be quite the same John Rebus regular readers (like me) have grown to know and love. He’s retired now from his role as a senior Edinburgh detective but he stays close to DI Siobhan Clarke – who is actually at this point helping him with the logistics of the move. However, Rebus is distracted by an urgent call from his daughter, her partner Keith has gone missing and she’s fraught with worry. Nothing to do but leave things in Siobhan’s capable hands and skedaddle up to the far north coast of Scotland where she lives. Retired he may be but here’s a ‘case’ he can get teeth into.

There are perhaps one or two coincidences too many and it may not be absolute classic Rankin, but I enjoyed it so much that I’ve rounded 4.5-stars up to 5. Warmly recommended.

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