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