20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
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.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
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.
...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.
...as 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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I have read a lot of the Rebus books and always think that one of the great things that Ian Rankin manages to do by the end of the novel is tidy up and close off the main subject but keep enough ends still loose to feed into the next book, encouraging you to pick up another one.
This Rebus story is an interesting one as he is in London. He misses home all the time and makes lots of comparisons between his surroundings and experiences with Scottish equivalents - this I think is written as a comfort for Rebus as well giving a familiar reading experience to the reader.
I always think that Rebus is older than he actually is. The book is written in the early 90s and he is in his early 40s but seems to think that chilli and lasagne are something modern. This has the effect, to me, of making Rebus very appealing.
I am trying to read the books in order (although have read quite a few of the later ones) and I am loving the way he is developing.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2014
This is the best Rebus novel I have read. It could be that I happen to be in London and London is where the story is set. (I found the paperback in our flat.) It is not the newest, but it brought me back to the series.
On the strength of the case that won him a promotion on his home turf (Edinburgh), Rebus has been invited to join the Met's team trying to catch a serial killer. Perhaps because he doesn't know who, specifically, sent for him, and his supervisory London Inspector is somewhat hard on him, he tends to act alone. In fact, he gets himself into a bit of a jam more than twice. Rebus is a very good human being. At the same time he acts boldly, he is fearful. And though he is tentatively assertive with women, he is self-doubting.
We are impressed with our hero's humanity in scenes alternating with horrible scenes revealing the disturbed psyche of a mad killer, who seems affected by art and memories of mummy and daddy. Eventually, amidst dangers of all kinds, including being sent back North, Rebus's sharp mind puts the pieces of the ugly puzzle together. There is a riveting and yet humorous chase scene that ends up inside the national Gallery, in the gallery showing a Goya.
What takes this mystery beyond the usual rough and tumble is the use of psychology (and a lovely psychologist) to plumb the dark reaches of Wolfman's behavior and to anticipate what he/she will do next. (Yes, there is deliberate ambiguity.) In addition to the immediate storyline, Rankin picks up on the relationships Rebus has with his former wife and, more significantly, their daughter. If I must have one criticism of this book it is that there are too many convenient connections among the characters, and Rankin acknowledges that in a slippery way by having Rebus wonder about it, and then observe that London is a small town. It's not, especially for strangers.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 January 2009
Before I read his work I decided to read about him and found the fact he based the first book sort of around `Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde' fascinating and decided I had to give him ago, as always I had to do this in the order of the series, so while everyone is now on Exit Music I am trundling along slowly behind. From book one `Knots and Crosses' I was hooked, I love the setting, the writing and I am obviously becoming a big crime novel fan.
This, the third instalment, was originally named `Wolfman' after the murderer in the novel, aptly named as they bite their victim and also as the first body is found in Wolf Street in London's East End, a brilliant setting for a body finding very Jack the Ripper. This is the major change from the earlier Rebus novels which so far have all been set in Edinburgh, one of my favourite cities, however Rebus was still dealing with the same issues of family, work and women (a new female psychologist in particular) only in the city I live in which I quite enjoyed seeing him in. It adds an edge of unevenness to Rebus as he's not on his home turf. It also sees him reporting to Scotland Yard and has that added bit of pressure.
This is my favourite of the Rebus novels so far with a much darker feel again from its predecessor and with a few more twists, turns and thrills. If they keep getting better and better then I can't wait until I get to Exit Music, though I do have quite a few books to get through first, and that's only the Rankin ones let alone all the others!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2013
This is the third in Ian Rankin's 'Rebus' detective series. The dour Scot is seconded to London to help solve a series of gruesome serial killings, based on his experience in solving the case we read about in book one. I gave Rankin's first book a cautious five stars as it was a good read with an interesting and very 'human' hero. The second Rebus book was also very good, but for me, just a tad less gripping in places, so I gave that four stars. In this, Rankin's third attempt, I was enthralled from start to end. The twists and turns were constant, Rebus was ever human and his own family and personal life are intertwined very cleverly into the story line. The final sequences were exciting and 'edge of seat' stuff. Other reviewers provide more story line detail, so I will just say this was a great read and earns a resounding five stars from me.
There are now roughly sixteen or seventeen or so `Rebus' books, and another (Goodreads) reviewer of the first three books (available as a trilogy - Rebus: The Early Years) wrote "In truth these are maybe the worst Rebus novels but they serve as a useful introduction to John Rebus. They also go to show how a writer gets better over time." If that is the case - and judging by the improvement in book three, I suspect it is, I will thoroughly enjoy the rest in the Rebus series. The latest book was released this month, so Ian Rankin is clearly not done with Rebus yet.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2012
The third in the Rebus series, originally published in 1992, this edition was reissued in 2011 and never having read any of the other books I believe read well as a self-contained novel.
Set in London, as opposed to Rebus' usual haunt of Edinburgh, Tooth And Nail tells the story of the murderer known as the Wolfman though the author cleverly keeps us guessing as to the actual sex of the killer right until the end.
A seemingly complex and complicated character, it's interesting to read of Rebus' various relationships, both personal and professional, as a concerned father and a detective.
Too slow in pace and, dare I say it, not nearly grisly enough for my personal tastes, I nevertheless found the involvement of dental pathologist, Tony Morrison, and 'police psychologist', Dr Lisa Frazer, made for fascinating reading though I would question Rebus' relationship with Lisa which I found rather unconvincing.
DISCLAIMER: Read and reviewed on behalf of NEWBOOKS MAGAZINE, I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.
Tooth And Nail: An Inspector Rebus novel: 3
on 11 March 2014
Ever since I watched a fascinating documentary about Ian Rankin, I’ve been interested in reading one of his books, and finally picked one up. I was immediately taken by the writing style; deceptively simple yet affecting prose, and along with the downtrodden likes-a-drink and a good book, labouring character of John Rebus, I was pulled into the story straight away.
Inspector Rebus has been summoned to London, to have a look at a serial-killing case. The killer takes a bite from each victim, and as the first was found on Wolf Street, the murderer is christened Wolfman. Rebus walks into this case, meting his London opposites, judges, coroners, and psychologists, not all of whom take a liking to this dour Scot intruding on their patch. Soon, he is deep in clues, speculation and trouble.
Even though this in the third in the evolving Rebus series, I was off and running, great writing, great mystery plot. At around the middle of the book, I had a spasm of delight as I was certain I knew who the Wolfman was, and this looked to be the case, right until the final reveal and satisfying ending.
What first pulled me into the novel was this; early on there is a mortuary post-mortem scene, and I thought it was fabulously described; the right atmosphere, the right feelings of the spectators, the right amount of grue. I loved this scene, effortless writing, here is some of my favourite;
“As ever, by the end of the autopsy the room had been reduced to silent introspection. Each man and woman present was made of the same stuff as Jean Cooper, and now they stood, momentarily stripped of their individual personalities. They were all bodies, all animals, all collections of viscera. The only difference between them and Jean Cooper was that their hearts still pumped blood. But one day soon enough each heart would stop, and that would be an end to it, save for the possibility of a visit to this butcher’s shop, this abbatoir.”
I was very impressed with Rankin’s writing, very easy, very fluid; he gets you involved with Rebus’s thoughts, and gets you thinking about the killer, teasing you with clues and red herrings. TOOTH AND NAIL was an enjoyable, engaging, and compelling detective novel, quick and easy to read, with well-defined characters. I will read more Rankin. 9/10