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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 24 August 2000
All the expected ingredients of the Rebus series are to be found here: the dour inspector himself, grisly murders, a grim sense of humour, throw-away, almost James Bond-style one-liners. If you like crime fiction it ought to be pretty well impossible not to be entertained by any of these brilliant books.
In Tooth and Nail the Scottish cop is on his usual form - upsetting his superiors, his ex-wife and his daughter, while still managing to help Scotland Yard with their pursuit of a serial killer. With a stunning climax set in Central London, this should convince anyone who has read the first two Rebus books to stick with this complex, somewhat haunted, character. Most of the action in this story takes place in London, and the scope for Edinburgh itself to become, as it usually does in the series, virtually a character in the plot itself is therefore limited. However, this does not detract from the book because the action moves at a cracking place, the plot is well constructed and there is always a feeling of not wanting to put it down.
I have tried to read the series in order as far as possible, and I believe that this helps to enhance one's enjoyment of the world which Ian Rankin has created for Rebus. Whilst each book is self-contained, various characters seem to crop up regularly throughout the series and there are numerous references back to incidents which have taken place in earlier stories - all of which helps the whole concept to hang together very well.
Both this book and the entire series are highly recommended.
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on 8 September 2005
This is the third 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, if something of an oddity as it is set in London rather than Edinburgh.
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. 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 very 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... noted above, the third book in the Inspector Rebus series is a bit of an oddity. Rankin transfers Rebus to London to try to catch a serial killer. This takes Rankin away from one of his strengths as he clearly knows London a lot less well than he knows Edinburgh and his usually faultless sense of place sometimes goes a little awry. He compensates for this with a strong story although he does flirt with cliché about the psychology of serial killers together with a rather incongruous and not entirely believable relationship for Rebus. This is a good book even if it is not entirely successful. It is one of the weaker books in the series but it is still well worth reading.
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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VINE VOICEon 13 October 2006
This is the third Rebus novel and is set in London. Because of this it seems a little strange if you are used to the Rebus of Edinburgh but it is still a great book. If it were in Edinburgh I'm sure it would have been more in line with the other Rebus books and felt even better.

In the introduction that the author, Ian Rankin, has helpfully added it says that this is the only Rebus set in London and he did that because he was living in London at that time. It also talks about the Scottish words that are used in the book that put up a language barrier between Rebus and his London colleagues. However in the book they get their own back with the use of Cockney rhyming slang.

The book follows Rebus as he is requested to investigate a serial murder case in London from his native Scotland. It follows the case through to completion with a thrilling car chase which ends in Trafalgar Square. And as usual there are a few laughs along the way and the various thought processes of the characters.
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on 27 March 2016
This is the report I wrote after reading book 16 of the Rebus collection, so be prepared for an exciting journey. I started to read Ian Rankin's Rebus books a few weeks ago and I am addicted, brilliant plots, great characters and personalities, that you can follow from book to book. I am wondering how it will all end when Rebus retires. If you are a new reader then start with volume number 1 to get the full benefit of this excellent series of books.
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on 20 May 2005
The third of Ian Rankin's Rebus novels - later retitled 'Tooth and Nail' - and something of a curate's egg. Rankin takes the curious step of having Rebus summoned down to London by New Scotland Yard to help them catch a serial killer. As a device around which to hang a plot, it's not entirely convincing,
The locals are baffled. A serial killer has emerged to put London onto a near Ripper like frenzy. Who is he? What are his motives? Where might he strike again? The notion of serial killers is familiar in the USA - they have achieved the status of everyday health hazards if you're to believe the steady stream of novels and films which have embraced this modern image of evil. Clearly Rankin has problems placing a serial killer in the familiar surroundings of Edinburgh - especially as the first Rebus novel ('Knots and Crosses') had flirted with the subject.
Indeed, it is because Rebus had attracted attention for catching this earlier 'serial' killer that he is summoned to the metropolis. Once there, Rankin takes every opportunity to emphasise Scottish-English rivalries and antipathies. He introduces the notion of psychological profiling ... via a conveniently beautiful psychologist. And he torments Rebus with an estranged wife and daughter who have moved to London and who are creating their own independent lives in an alien environment.
It's a neatly written novel, with plenty of pace and action, and enough red herrings to have you reaching for the frying pan and one of Delia's cookery books, but the premise that Rebus is a leading expert on serial killers is always something of a Westminster Bridge too far. It leaves me wondering whether Rankin toyed with the idea of exporting his hero to London, leaves me wondering if he was worried that an Edinburgh-based copper might be too parochial and might not hold an audience. Or maybe his publishers suggested that?
Anyway, it's an enjoyable yarn, but beware the ending: the ending is weak - it's as if the story comes to the end of the line and suddenly everything is neatly tied up and resolved. (I'd recommend buying this novel in anthology form - it's published along with the first two Rebus titles in a volume entitled "Rebus: The Early Years". Here you get a chance to watch the character emerge, and you also get a sense of Rankin emerging as an author.) All in all, a good read, but flawed.
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on 11 September 2013
This is third Inspector Rebus novel, which I'm working through in order. On this occasion, Rebus is relocated to London for the investigation of the "Wolfman" case, and as such the familiar backdrop of Edinburgh and a number of the characters from the previous novels are missing whilst we see the detective forming a new relationship with D.I. George Flight allowing him plenty of opportunities for his usual banter. Conveniently Rebus' ex wife and daughter happened to relocate to London in the previous novel so the detective's family connections and complications are a constant thread.

Despite the change of scene I've noticed something of a formula emerging: a new case is presented, an investigation ensues or is ongoing, in which there are a number of possible leads and clues, Rebus takes on his maverick role and manages to upset a number of people and break protocol on several occasions, has a fling with a seemingly unattainable woman, puts himself in danger and finds someone he is close to is also under threat, has a seemingly random brainwave which solves the mystery and then engages in some heroics to make a spectacular arrest!
While I feel Tooth and Nail is largely successful in complying with this pattern, I did find that the short sections where we see the world from the killer's perspective less successful - the attempts to illustrate this character's disturbed and incoherent thoughts are just a little too disjointed and, I feel, don't really quite ring true when his/ her identity is revealed.

The climax is a car chase that many an action-movie producer would be proud to reproduce - although it appears that this novel was not included in several TV series aired between 2000 and 2007.

Taking all of this into account, I feel Rebus is emerging as something of a less suave James Bond, but I for one enjoy a good Bond movie.
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on 13 December 2013
This is the the third Rebus book. Don't know how I missed it when first published as I've been an avid Rebus fan since the first one. An unputdownable book from first to last page. But then you Rebus fans already know that!
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on 27 March 2013
Tooth and Nail is the third Rebus book in the series and the first not set in Edinburgh. Women in London are in danger as a serial killer called the Wolfman (named in part because of the location of his first victim and because of what happens to the victims) is on the loose and so far the Met police have no clues. In order to catch the killer fast, Rebus is summoned from Edinburgh to London. The reason is that he is seen as an expert in Serial Killers, something he disputes (he only packs a few days clothes as he is sure he will be found out and sent home before he needs anymore!), and George Flight who is leading the investigation is desperate for answers.

During the course of the book Rebus will have to deal with personal issues as his daughter and ex wife also live in London and for the first time in a long time geographical distance cannot be used as an excuse to hide from his family. He must also come to terms with being in a new city and being part of a team where not everyone is happy to accept his help. It is fascinating to see how Rebus has to deal with these issues as he is not in charge of this investigations and struggles badly to fit in and get his ideas across. Rankin manages to show Rebus as more isolated than ever and at times you do feel sorry for both Rebus and Flight. A wonderful line is used when Flight asks Rebus "has it ever occurred to you that there might be another way? A way other than your own, or are the rest of us just thick and you're the only policeman on the planet who knows how to solve a crime?" this whole scene is fantastic and highlights the tension and frustration both men feel.

All in all this was a very, very enjoyable book. The risky move of taking Rebus to London worked very well for me and I could not put it down. The book is split between Rebus point of view, Flights and the Wolfman. I believe this worked very well as seeing the world from Flights point of view gives an idea how frustrating it must be to work with Rebus! The scenes with the Wolfman were also very well written and very dark, the later stages of the book where the Wolfman through memory explains his past and reasons for ending up as he does are fantastically written and join all the dots of the story together well.

I would recommend this book to any fans of the crime genre. After a less than satisfying start the second and third books in the Rebus series have delivered and I look forward to the next one.
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on 12 March 2007
Have just read this and enjoyed it a lot. The plot was well crafted and the characters believable.

Despite being graphic and disturbing at times it was well balanced with wry humour and anedotes

I will certainly read more of this author's work
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on 10 March 2014
I love the Rebus books, and having read some of them randomly i decided to make sure i read them in order. i love the John Rebus character and his relationship with Siobhan. the speed of the books and the twisting stories are just a joy to read and this one lived up to expectations. Long may he continue
if you love crime thrillers try these books you will be hooked
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