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The Falls [Paperback]

Ian Rankin
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Aug 2008

A student has gone missing in Edinburgh. She's not just any student, though, but the daughter of well-to-do and influential bankers. There's almost nothing to go on until DI John Rebus gets an unmistakable gut feeling that there's more to this than just another runaway spaced out on unaccustomed freedom.

Two leads emerge: a carved wooden doll in a toy coffin, found in the student's home village, and an internet role-playing game. The ancient and the modern, brought together by uncomfortable circumstance...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (7 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075288364X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752883649
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982, and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature. His first Rebus novel was published in 1987, and the Rebus books are now translated into thirty-six languages and are bestsellers worldwide.

Ian Rankin has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow, and is also a past winner of the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He is the recipient of four Crime Writers' Association Dagger Awards including the prestigious Diamond Dagger in 2005. In 2004, Ian won America's celebrated Edgar Award for Resurrection Men. He has also been shortlisted for the Anthony Award in the USA, won Denmark's Palle Rosenkrantz Prize, the French Grand Prix du Roman Noir and the Deutscher Krimipreis. Ian Rankin is also the recipient of honorary degrees from the universities of Abertay, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Hull and the Open University.

A contributor to BBC2's Newsnight Review, he also presented his own TV series, Ian Rankin's Evil Thoughts. Rankin is a number one bestseller in the UK and has received the OBE for services to literature, opting to receive the prize in his home city of Edinburgh, where he lives with his partner and two sons.

Here are the Inspector Rebus stories in series order:

Knots and Crosses
Hide and Seek
Tooth and Nail
Strip Jack
The Black Book
Mortal Causes
Let it Bleed
Black and Blue
The Hanging Garden
Dead Souls
Set in Darkness
The Falls
Resurrection Men
A Question of Blood
Fleshmarket Close
The Naming of the Dead
Exit Music

Short stories:
A Good Hanging - 12 Inspector Rebus mysteries
Beggars Banquet (non-Rebus short stories)

Here are the Jack Harvey novels in series order:

Witch Hunt
Bleeding Hearts
Blood Hunt

Product Description

Amazon Review

Success has a price, and the remarkable acclaim (both critical and commercial) that greeted the gritty Edinburgh-set crime novels of Ian Rankin has set the author a considerable problem. How does he maintain the freshness of detail and atmosphere that have made his books such riveting reading? And how does he keep his tough detective DI John Rebus from degenerating into a series of mannerisms? If Raymond Chandler grew tired of Philip Marlowe and Conan Doyle of Holmes, Rankin would have been in good company if he gave up on Rebus. Fortunately, his belief in the character clearly remains as powerful as ever, and The Falls is the most impressive Rebus novel in many a moon. The detective's personal problems--overused of late--are wisely sidelined in order to concentrate on a highly intriguing (and topical) plot.

When a student vanishes in Edinburgh, there is pressure on Rebus to find her, particularly as she is the scion of a family of extremely rich bankers. Needless to say, this is more than just the case of a spoilt rich girl breaking out of the cage of family responsibilities, and a carved wooden doll in a coffin found in her home village leads Rebus to the Internet role-playing game that she was involved in. And when DC Siobhan Clarke, a key member of Rebus' team, tackles the Virtual Quizmaster, Rankin finds himself struggling to save her from the same fate as the missing girl.

Consummate plotting has always been Rankin's trademark, and that skill is put to maximum use here. The balance between developing the characterisation of the ill-assorted team of coppers that Rebus assembles and the labyrinthine twists of the plot is maintained with an iron hand, and Rankin's mordant eye remains as keen as ever:

"You okay, John?" Curt reached out a hand and touched his shoulder. Rebus shook his head slowly, eyes squeezed shut. Curt didn't make it out the first time, so Rebus had to repeat what he said next: "I don't believe in heaven." That was the horror of it. This life was the only one you got. No redemption afterwards, no chance of wiping the slate clean and starting over. Rebus said "There is no justice in the world." "You'd know more about that than I would", Curt replied.

--Barry Forshaw --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


The scene setting is vivid and the narration by a Scot, actor James Macpherson, essential to bringing the story to life. ( --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fictional detective meets real life mystery 27 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Rankin combines history (references to Burke and Hare and the tiny coffins found on Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh in 1836 and thought by some to have been left as a memorial to the victims of aforementioned duo), and up to the minute internet e-mail gaming to produce one of the better Rebus thrillers. Rebus is his usual shambolic self, breaking the rules, drinking too much too often and yet still managing to start a relationship! Siobhan Clarke gets a more prominent role as she starts to get hooked on the internet game set by "The Quizmaster" who may or may not be the abductor of a privileged university student. The nitty gritty police work undertaken as the officers search for the student allows Rankin to introduce a variety of characters which sets you racing to the finish in order to discover the level of significance they each hold (or don't hold). All this combines to make "The Falls" an exciting read with many a twist and turn. I was gripped from the outset, I enjoyed the historical element and felt it added to the tension of the fictional story. The tiny Arthur's Seat coffins can be seen in the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and are all the more spooky for the fictional links Rankin introduces in this book.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
If you like Rebus, you'll love this novel. One of Rankin's best, right up there with BLACK AND BLUE & THE HANGING GARDEN. And there's an added bonus: the intriguing development of side-kick Siobhan Clarke. Is Ian Rankin grooming her as the next Clarice Starling? Can't wait to see ...
THE PLOT. When a young student disappears, something in Rebus's gut tells him she's not a runaway. For a start, she comes from a super-rich family. But there's also an intriguing clue: a coffin of a wooden doll found near her home. So Rebus embarks with Siobhan Clarke on an investigation that spans age-old crimes and modern technology in an Edinburgh built (almost literally) on the graves of the dead ...
I loved the use of Edinburgh, the old granite lady herself, as virtually an extra character. The premise that certain haunting places produce (and reproduce) particular crimes is one also brilliantly used in Dexter Dias's thriller "Power of Attorney", only that Dias uses London to equally compelling effect. James Lee Burke uses Montana similarly in "Bitterroot".
This is the best Rebus for some time. I can't recommend it too highly.
And if you like Rebus, I'd also strongly recommend Dias's cop/lawyer David Kilkenny in "Power of Attorney" and Billy Bob Holland in "Bitterroot".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rebus discovers the internet 26 Mar 2003
By Lendrick VINE VOICE
Well not quite - as Rebus devotees might guess all the techie stuff is handled by Siobhan Clarke while Rebus concentrates on delving into the past. All the usual elements are in place - and the City of Edinburgh remains one of Rankins strongest charachters - though Rebus does seem to be mellowing a little with age.
Rankin is really a novelist who happens to write genre fiction and much of the pleasure is in the characterisation and backround detail. The plot is good, Rankin has clearly done his reasearch an the internet stuff stands up pretty well (I work in IT and often find the attempts of authors to work the internet in laughable). However the whole thing isn't quite up to the his best work but still a must for every Rebus fan.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great Rankin read 28 Mar 2001
By A Customer
A strong, plot-driven murder mystery and a further look into the life of John Rebus, and increasingly, the equally strong Siobhan Clarke.
Rebus's character has developed brilliantly, and the way characters from previous novels appear again is deftly handled, almost like a crime Dance to the Music of Time.
It's not the strongest in the series, perhaps because of the lack of a more apparent nemesis for Rebus, either in the police force or in the crime underworld. That said, the standard of the series is so incredibly high that this is not intended as a slight.
Highly recommended if you've already read Rebus, but if not, start at least with Black and Blue, if not at the beginning of the series.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Rebus mystery yet... 13 Nov 2001
By A Customer
Oh my, what a book. This is the best Rebus mystery yet, and by some distance. Rankin brilliantly interweaves a number of plotlines (again) and opens up the book (and the series) by giving other characters starring roles. Clearly, Siobhan Clarke is being groomed to take over as the star of the show when Rebus is forced to retire (or Rankin is forced to retire Rebus). Long may this series of fine detective novels continue...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spot-on crime fiction, as always 19 Dec 2001
Format:Audio Cassette
Rankin keeps up his fine form with another slice of life with Edinburgh's finest copper, John Rebus.
As always the genuine locations and attention to detail (a correct reading of the Burke and Hare story) marry the fiction to the real world, giving the reader a mental hook to the scene of crime immediately.
The titular Falls are something of a red herring as most of the action is again set in Edinburgh and Rankin once again takes to the history-steeped streets and closes for his setting. The historical slant is played for maximum effect - the main thread is Rebus's preoccupation with a decades-old mystery - but juxtaposed very nicely with the Internet-based role-playing game that his younger colleagues tackle in the hunt for the mysterious 'Quizmaster', chief suspect in the murder of a wealthy University student.
A lengthy read, but impossible to put down as Rankin spins out multiple parallel plotlines and characters.
Heartily recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Ian Rankin book.
Excellent book from Ian Rankin.
Published 10 days ago by anne shankland
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book
Published 16 days ago by Countryfan
5.0 out of 5 stars GRIPPING
Yet another Rebus book I couldn't put down. it's on my bucket list to visit Edinburgh and the streets that he inhabites
Published 25 days ago by MRS KAREN DUMMETT
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 25 days ago by bryan robert burt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great price.
Published 1 month ago by Carla McNeil
4.0 out of 5 stars Another superb Rebus novel
I am thoroughly convinced by the John Rebus character in this series. Whether you read the books individually or sequentially - they will be thoroughly enjoyed....
Published 4 months ago by Jo
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
This Rebus book is the best one I have read so far. Once I’d started reading it I could not put it down. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lucy B
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Probably the best Rebus novel I have read, action packed right up until the end. I would definately recommend it.
Published 6 months ago by Janice Short
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Good story, very typical Rankin , figured part of who the killers were but deflected in true Rankin fashion as usual good read
Published 6 months ago by Del
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Club Read
I have given it 4 as although I loved it some others in my book club weren't that excited by it. (However I dont always get riveted by the ones that float their boat so some of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amelie Green
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