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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A complex, clever and satisfying read
This is the first of Ian Rankin's books I have read and I will definitely be coming back for more. His hero, Rebus, is a complex, flawed but realistic detective. Serial killer Cary Oakes is a chilling and intelligent adversary. Rankin writes exceptionally well. Dead Souls has numerous sub-plots, each as interesting as the main story. The loose ends are tied together in...
Published on 27 Dec 1999

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Long-winded twisting mystery
Rebus' weaknesses are also shown as his strengths, making him one of the more interesting of the proliferation of brooding detectives. The plots here, though twisting, are stretched over a high page count and the pacing of the story suffers as a result. The winding up of the three main plots of this psychological thriller is neat, but their downbeat nature leaves the...
Published 19 months ago by Steven Aldous


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A complex, clever and satisfying read, 27 Dec 1999
By A Customer
This is the first of Ian Rankin's books I have read and I will definitely be coming back for more. His hero, Rebus, is a complex, flawed but realistic detective. Serial killer Cary Oakes is a chilling and intelligent adversary. Rankin writes exceptionally well. Dead Souls has numerous sub-plots, each as interesting as the main story. The loose ends are tied together in a satisfying and exciting climax. I would definitely recommend this book to all those hard-to-please lovers of crime fiction.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Rebus masterpiece, 17 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Another intriguing Rebus novel, with lots going on, plenty of suspense, and lots of good Edinburgh insights. My first Rebus novel was The Falls - this second reading of Rebus shows what a master Rankin is as you see how the character develops. I think I'm going to now read the series through and start with book 1 so that I can follow things through chronologically. If you've not read Rankin before then I recommend you do - mind you - you'll find you can't put it down - so make sure you've got some time on your hands!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another tale from Edinburgh's underbelly, 6 July 2008
By 
L. Davidson (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dead Souls (Paperback)
"Dead Souls" is perhaps one of the most accessible of Ian Rankin's "Rebus" novels. It has a three stranded plot; the suicide of a policeman linked to the activities of a group of paedophiles, the appearance of a newly released serial killer in Edinburgh and the disappearance of a teenage male related to an ex girlfriend of Rebus. Rebus gets enmeshed in all three of these plot lines and the result is an entertaining read with more incident than is usually found in this series of books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Consistent quality from Rankin., 17 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Ian Rankin has consistently set the pace for the new Brit pack of crime writers. Where others find themselves defined by the limitations of two dimensional characters, Rankin has worked hard to ensure that Rebus remains an unremarkable character in remarkable circumstances. Rebus is not a superhero but resembles the kind of policeman that many of us would be if we had the courage, or the desperation, to become cops ourselves. Rebus is only a policeman; a complex one, with problems and griefs that spring from his job, but always a policeman, without any unneccesary foibles or fripperies. In this novel Rebus and the usual crew of characters have to tackle the aftermath of events in 'The Hanging Garden', including his daughter's disability, and the return to Scotland of a serial killer intent on closing off the previous chapters of his life. It's impossible to describe the plot, not because it is convoluted, but because it is an interwoven sequence of events, each contingent upon the last, each driven by the needs of each character, and each described in Rankin's inimitable style. To cap it all, Rankin takes us back again to the Kingdom of Fife in writing every bit as elegaic as his non-Rebus novel, 'The Flood'. This is crime writing at its best, in the British procedural tradition, but also elevating it to new heights.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Felt Mystery That Deals with Sensitive Material, 8 Feb 2010
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dead Souls (Paperback)
"Dead Souls," is tenth, and by no means least, in the detective Chief Inspector John Rebus series by the outstanding author Ian Rankin, currently the best-selling author of mysteries in the United Kingdom. It can, like most of his work, be described as a police procedural, within the tartan noir school, and it is set in Edinburgh, in contrast to most Scots mystery writers at work now. The east coast Edinburgh is more or less his home town; in comparison to the west coast Glasgow, it's a more beautiful, smaller city, the capital of the country, where you might expect the crime to be white collar, rather than blue, and bloody. But Rebus always seems to find enough to keep busy. And what's tartan noir when it's at home, you ask? A bloodthirsty, bloody-minded business, to be sure, more violent than the average British mystery, but, thankfully, leavened a bit with that dark Scots humor. Written (duh!) by Scots.

I consider the book at hand, as I've said, to be one of the strongest of the Rebus series. The plot is complex, and keeps moving forward. It opens with Rebus in a funk: his friend and colleague Jack Morton has died; and his daughter is in a wheelchair, as she was the victim of a hit-run apparently meant for Rebus. The detective is then assigned to look after Cary Oakes, a particularly nasty serial killer who's just been deported back to Edinburgh after having served time in the U.S. In addition, Rebus has begun a personal crusade against Darren Rough, a pedophile assigned by Social Services to live in a council estate with too many children. The suicide of a cop with whom he was friendly is rather mysterious, and may have broader ramifications. And Rebus, as Rankin, is from Fife: a high school sweetheart's son has gone missing, and he has agreed to help her search for the young man. The last subplot is evidently taken from Death Is Not The End (Criminal records series) an Inspector Rebus Novella (Inspector Rebus Mysteries), a brief work Rankin apparently wrote at about the same time, and decided to fold in here: it seems to me that doing so has resulted in an odd plot mistake. But the novel, as a whole, deals with sensitive material and is deeply felt.

Rankin is a highly talented writer with a great grip of the English language, Scottish subdivision. His previous novel Black And Blue won England's prestigious Gold Dagger Award, and was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Novel. He has a keen grasp of police work, the ability to keep several strong subplots going at one time, that sharp Scots humor, and the toughest tartan noir outlook around. He is also a meticulous observer of his city's weather, geography, ambiance, and social systems. His writing about Arthur's Seat, a rocky outcropping in the middle of Edinburgh, is more lyrical than any mystery writer ought to be able to produce. And his writing about his actual hometown, Fife, which is located slightly north of the city, and is best known for its one-time coal mines, one-time linoleum factory, and as the birthplace of the very pessimistic, even among famously dreary economists, Adam Smith, is sharp, humorous, and informative, to boot. (Fife is also the birthplace of the current British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and of another famous tartan noir author, Val McDermid.) Highly recommended, but bear in mind, it's tough stuff.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must Get, 4 Sep 2001
By A Customer
My first read of a Rankin Novel and it managed to hook me. If you have a spare day or two or are at a loose end then this book is a "must get". Rebus takes you by the hand and leads you through this winding and twisting plot. A litle confusing to start, but pay attention and all becomes clear. I look forward to reading the other books from Rankin as recommended by other reviewers.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A superb read - One of the best Rebus novels, 6 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Having read several Ian Rankin novels prior to Dead Souls, this novel reaches new heights of readability.
Previous novels have seen the development of the John Rebus character and provided enough details to keep the reader uncertain of which side of the line Rebus will step to next.
Having developed the chararcter in some very dark novels such as 'Tooth and Nail' it would appear that Dead Souls concentrates more on the story and the surroundings. With the novel set in Edinburgh this is an excellent feature.
Dead Souls follows several storylines which are connected to Rebus, as you would expect in everyday life - a similar style of writing to the 'Frost' books by R D Wingfield.
This book for me was particularly enjoyable, I found it lighter(not in content but in mood) than the previous novels such as 'Black and Blue' and 'The Hanging Garden'. I also found that this was the first Ian Rankin novel that I could read and read, you feel as if you are in Edinburgh yourself at some points and could almost be one of the chararcters.
The other excellent feature with not only Dead Souls but all of the Rebus novels are the cross references to previous situations and stories that have been featured in other books, the balance is perfect, enough to trigger memories of previous books for those that have read them, however not too many to deter those that have not read any Rebus novels before.
Overall the characters, storyline and surroundings of this novel are excellent and provide thought-provoking read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dead souls, 28 Oct 2009
By 
I. E. Everett - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dead Souls (Paperback)
having seen this on tv, the story is familiar, but so much better as a book. as a long time rebus fan, this book is excellent as ususal
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars typical Rebus, 12 Jun 2008
By 
K. S. Kandola (nottingham, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dead Souls (Paperback)
IF YOU ENJOY READING IAN RANKIN YOU WILL NOT BE DISSAPOINTED WITH
THIS BOOK.TYPICAL REBUS AT HIS BEST.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tired of formulaic thrillers? Try Rebus, 11 Jan 2000
By 
Sally (LYTHAM United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This book is like a cold milky shower after other thrillers. Rankin's writing holds you in an iron grip. The words he uses are vivid and sensual, the plot immensely satisfying and the characters are intriguing. I read it in Las Vegas and the book more than competes with its dangerous and glittering attractions.
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