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4.0 out of 5 stars
Hide And Seek (Inspector Rebus)
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2001
Expertly written, Rankin intertwines the plot with the development of the characters, creating a sense of "real time" and suspense often so lacking in other mysteries. The reader is left in as much suspense and doubt as Rebus, waiting for the case to be solved. Even if you suspect who's involved in the crime, the complexity of the plot will surprise you and is tantalisingly held back by Rankin until the final pages. I recommend reading "Knots & Crosses" (also superb) first though as some of this story is referred to in "Hide & Seek".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2005
This is the second book Ian Rankin's inspector Rebus series. I am a big fan of the whole series of books (which now runs to over a dozen books) and this is a good book, a significant step forward from the first book.
The series...
...each of the books in the Rebus series is self-contained (in the sense that it deals with a case or group of cases) but there is significant character development through the series and it is best to read them in order (obviously starting at the beginning). Ian Rankin is much better writer than the average crime writer. He has a number of strengths that make the Rebus series the most enjoyable contemporary crime series. Rankin's strengths include strong story telling, the ability to conjure up imagery quickly and effectively, strong characterisation and an excellent sense of place (he is particularly interested in exposing the seedy underbelly of Edinburgh). He writes well and does not rely on local patois or dialect (unlike Irvine Welch for example) - this has the advantage of making the books easier to read but it does lead to the sense of place occasionally faltering. For me, he is the best British crime writer, almost in the same league as Thomas Harris and James Ellroy. One of the strengths of the series is the central character, John Rebus. He is an interesting, flawed man - with a failed marriage behind him, a rather distant teenage daughter he barely knows, a traumatic military career (ultimately in the SAS) and something of a drinking problem. He is a curmudgeon - he has problems with dealing with authority but also expects absolute respect from the people below him in the hierarchy. He is not a team player, he likes to work alone and keep secrets. Despite all these flaws his passion, drive and humanity make him a sympathetic character.
The book...
...as noted above, this is the second book in the series and it represents a big step forward, it is much better than the first one (Knots & Crosses) both in terms of the story and the writing. Having established Rebus in the first book, Rankin can concentrate on the story which is centred around one of his recurring themes: the seedy underbelly of Edinburgh which is hidden beneath the chocolate box façade served up for tourists. Strongly influenced by Robert Louis Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" this is a good story, very well told. It starts with the death that everybody apart from Rebus wants to sweep under the carpet as the victim is "just a junkie". In keeping with his character, this is not good enough for Rebus who initiates an investigation that leads him into the heart of the Edinburgh underworld.
Note that there is an omnibus version, "Rebus: The Early Years", incorporating the first three novels (Knots & Crosses, Hide & Seek and Tooth & Nail) available.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 15 April 1999
I am a big fan of Rebus - and of anything Ian Rankin writes. Rebus is a believable cop - with lots of personality quirks and a not-so-perfect "home" life. The descriptions of his work environment and the politics involved in being a cop (in any country) are dead-on. Scotland comes alive - its weather, moods, citizens, crime. I highly recommend this book to any reader who is looking for something deep, different, and compelling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 6 October 2006
This is the second of the Rebus novels and is definitely more accomplished than the first. The writing is more in line with the later novels and the storyline isn't a simple. However I was not very satisfied with the way things came together in the end. It was all too bitty for me and not as streamlined as in the later books. Also the one-liners aren't as prevalent. But this only goes to show that over time Ian Rankin has been able to develop his writing skills and the Rebus character.

Also this is the first of the Rebus novels to split the chapters by day which I think works really well in all the Rebus novels I have seen it in.

Lastly in the recent reprints Rankin has written a little introduction just setting the scene of what influenced the book and so forth which is interesting as are his introductions in the other books I have read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Ian Rankin first wrote this book in 1988, and it is re-released in 2003 with a new introduction by the author. This was his second novel, and it was novel of the times. A novel about the British Secret Service, a Spy or Watcher Service as called in the MI5 Surveillance Service.
Miles Flint, a cynical, worldly-wise spy has spent twenty years in his trade. He is a professional voyeur who becomes a more ruthless activist during this novel. He is married to Sheila, whom he met while in college, and they have a son, Jack, who is off to the University of Scotland. Miles and Sheila's marriage was born in love and the lust has dissapated. They have become stranges who meet in the night. Jack has a good relationship with both mom and dad, but not at the same time. Miles is proud of his son but not much mention is made of the years that they all spent together.

The action is fast paced in this book. Miles is part of the Latchkey group- surveilling an Arab with the codename Latchkey. Someone was setting bombs all over London and Latchkey was the prime suspect-it all goes bad when the suspect kills an Israeli official while Miles misses the clues. The Office is not happy with Miles and he is moved to a new job "Harvest". During this time, Miles understands that something is not quite "cricket". He fears a mole has infiltrated his section, and he proceeds methodically to find this person. As Miles develops his action plan and reads the files of all of those involved in the section, he understands that at the same time "they" are doing the same. No one is above suspicision

Miles goes home early one day and as he turns the corner he sees a man leaving his gate. The man has a fmailiar walk and Miles recognizes him as a colleague, Peter. He goes into his home and finds small clues that arise his suspicions that Sheila is having an affair. Miles deftly confronts his colleague , who admits to seeing Sheila, but only to talk. Miles leaves his wife and holes up in the watcher house- an empty home that is used for watching the group across the street. This turns sour and miels decides to go home. He and Sheila unite and decide to strt their marriage anew. Just as these decisions are made the phone rings.

Miles is asked to go to Northern Ireland to accompany a group of soldiers while an arrest is made. This new job is a demotion and Miles knows that he must be careful and silent. The trip turns out to provide the clues and the answers Miles is looking for. He connects with a man in NOrthern Ireland who is also lookign for answers and together they return to London. Their worlds are turned upside down. The action is fierce and brilliant. The MI5 Section and the Watchaman Section will never be the saem.

Ian Rankin's second book is fast paced, cutting quickly from one scene to the other. It wasn't until the middle of the book that I could put all he characters together. The characters were well developed and sometimes funny. A good book, not Ian Rankins greatest book, but you can see his writing develop with each successive book. I liked Miles Flint, would like to read more of his exploits. I wonder if this re-release is a phrophet of books too come? prisrob

Recommended. prisrob 05-08-13
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2012
Hide and Seek is the second book in Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus series, in which the detective finds himself drawn into the mystery of a body found beneath a pentagram. As the author himself admits in my copy's introduction, there are some rough edges and the central character has a number of traits that seem unusual given his biography.

The plot is surprisingly basic compared to the psychological depth of the first book, Knots & Crosses, although red herrings provide a semblance of complexity. I found the ending surprisingly weak, and though it was believable I thought there was plenty more that could have been explored.

Rebus is the only character that we deal with in great depth, and I found him to have been toned down since the first novel. Similarly the other characters have less development, although with some there is the hint that they are being introduced as regulars to be used again in future. I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between Rebus and his 'sidekick', Brian Holmes, with what looks to be becoming a classic relationship based on not talking to one another.

I have enjoyed this book, which is slightly different in tone to some of the 'lighter' crime fiction I have been reading recently, and am looking forward to seeing how the characters develop over the rest of the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This story gets the reader on board very early, taking you on a journey to an Edinburgh where Rebus for all his failings can do little wrong when it comes to slowly but meticulously solving a potential crime. The quality of writing is hugely improved from knots and crosses(book 1).

Personally i have only began reading this genre since getting a kindle, following advice from reviewers i went to the start of this series after beginning with black and blue. This appears to be justified as even in the first two stories there are back references which are proceeding logically throughout.

The main character is becoming likeable, complicated, committed and even funny at times in the book resulting in laugh out loud moments.
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on 11 March 2014
This is the second Inspector Rebus book, and the second I have read. Bizarrely, I’m reading them backwards from 3 to 1, then maybe I’ll get to 4 and be in the right order. It’s a testament to the quality of my introduction to Rankin and Rebus, TOOTH AND NAIL, that I read this book only a week or so after my first. When it comes to series’, I often leave years between the volumes; not so here.

HIDE AND SEEK, however, isn’t as accomplished as TOOTH AND NAIL. It’s good, and an enjoyable read [best read in an Edinburgh accent], but isn’t quite as compelling as the other. Rebus here gets involved in a drug-overdose death, in the less-touristy streets of Edinburgh. Something bothers him about it, some of the facts don’t quite fit, and he starts poking his nose into places that people don’t want noses. With the help of an underling PC Brian Holmes, Rebus slowly circles in on the reasons anyone would want to kill a homeless junkie, and what it has to do with Edinburgh’s high society.

The book is interesting in its central mystery, realistic, and full of humour and good writing, although it doesn’t have the pace that a serial-killer would invoke. I also thought the climax not as compelling as it could have been. The dour Rebus character is again forefront; doing his deep thinking in pubs, and turning up to important meetings late and half-cut; he is a sympathetic and very interesting character. Another oft-quoted character is Edinburgh herself, here displaying her dark and grimy underbelly.

In summation, HIDE & SEEK is an enjoyable read, but is the weaker of the two in the series that I have so far read. I’ll be reading the first Rebus soon. 7/10
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on 21 June 2013
Once again, we visit the dark streets of Edinburgh with Rankin's second effort in his Rebus series. Are the streets dark because of the murkiness of human nature, or is it because Edinburgh council are scrimping on proper street lighting?

Jokes aside, this feels like a continuation of Rankin's debut novel, and feels as though it were written at the same time. I'm aware that Rebus improves (or mellows even) as the series progresses, but this reads more like a debut novel than the debut novel knots and crosses!

Maybe I've seen too much crime shows on the TV or read too much crime fiction, but this effort does seem by the numbers and Rebus lacks depth, there are times when you shrug your shoulders at Rebus' plight, not what the author would have intended for the reader.

The use of one of Edinburgh's more famous creations, Jekyll and Hyde, seems pretty feeble at times, and the identity of the villain should come as no surprise to fans of the series.

Although a decent effort, what you have is a young writer still learning the trade, and who thankfully, gets better as the series progresses.
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on 24 March 2013
Officially Hide & Seek is the second in the John Rebus collection however it is without doubt the first book to feature the Rebus that we all know and love. The story telling and general writing quality is a big step up from Knots & Crosses the official start of the Rebus books.

Rebus as a character is much more like himself in this book. Gone are the army flashbacks and the crying replaced with the hard nosed, determined and loveable Rebus that has brought us so many hours of joy.

Hide and Seek starts with Rebus been called to the death of a junkie in a squat in Edinburgh and while everyone else is ready to put it down to just another over dose Rebus has time on his hands and a feeling that something is not right. As will become the normal with the Rebus books he bulldozes his way through the case and uses everything he can to crack the case.

This is a very well written book, and a major Improvement on the first Rebus novel. I would strongly recommend this book to any fans of the crime genre.
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