What a joy to have my old friend Rebus back and on top form! For the first (and only!) time in my life I feel I have to thank the government for putting up the retirement age, so giving Ian Rankin this opportunity to resurrect my all time favourite policeman. Curmudgeonly as ever, but with dry sense of humour very much intact, (...to a woman with multiple piercings who refuses a drink - 'Pity, I wanted to see if you leak...') Rebus is now working in the cold cases unit. But when a young girl goes missing he makes a connection with a previous disappearance and quickly finds a way to shoehorn himself into the current investigation. The case involves several disappearances all linked to the A9 road, so Rebus is forced to leave his Edinburgh comfort zone and travel into the small towns and rural communities of the north. As he points out, he sometimes feels he's never been this far from a pub in his life.
The old characters are here - Siobhan, still unable to do the sensible thing and cut her links with her maverick old mentor; Big Ger Cafferty, like Rebus semi-retired, but still with a finger in every criminal pie. But we also meet up with Malcolm Fox of The Complaints
- since Rebus has applied to rejoin the force, Fox has been tasked with checking him out and is convinced that his links with Cafferty are a sign of corruption. It's a neat trick of Rankin's to show us Fox from the other side in this book - to Rebus he's the bad guy and it's very enjoyable to see if the old fox can outrun the new one.
I enjoyed both of the Malcolm Fox books hugely and hope Rankin does more of them, but oh, the pleasure of having Rebus back...I hope the government puts the police retirement age up to eighty! Highly recommended.