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4.5 out of 5 stars1,168
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on 18 July 2013
I had such high expectations of this book and I was a little disappointed. The book has two threads, the return of Rebus and the missing person/potential murder line. The return of Rebus with his not by the rules/unorthodox/gut instinct approach to detective work again leaves him at odds with the heirachy, antagonising virtually everyone he comes into contact with.The other thread started out intriguing, left me asking questions and wanting to find out more about the characters, but the ending felt very rushed, there is no explanation of the protagonists motives, it felt like he was delivered as a fait acompli.
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on 27 January 2013
I love novels that you just want to return to and Rebus's return didn't disappoint. I read it over a weekend; although I did find his curmudgeonly `Grumpy Old Manness' a bit wearying. Retired and working cold cases, he feels old and unwanted. Then his cold case is linked to a new investigation and he pairs up with Siobhan Clarke to find the multiple murderer of young women. His methods are even more disreputable and he's being watched by Rankin's other police man - Malcolm Fox from The Complaints. Fox comes across as geeky and dogmatic. Not very attractive and not much like the Fox of Rankin's two recent novels - who I rather like. OK he's seen from Rebus's POV - but still. I remember from the Arena TV programme that Rankin's editor wasn't keen on finding Fox in this book and I'm not sure I am either.
Rebus's relationship with Siobhan is interesting. At first he's the subordinate, she's a DI and he's not even a police officer anymore and dependant on her for access to resources, but towards the end this relationship changes as she finds her leadership role frustrating and seeks the excitement of Rebus's unorthodox methods to get a result. I think she's probably blotted her copybook too - something Fox warned her about.
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There are already many hundreds of reviews of this book on Amazon, so I'll just add my voice to the chorus of praise for this instalment of the Rebus saga. Neither Rankin nor Rebus has lost any of their brilliance, even though Rebus is no longer a serving police officer but id working as a civilian for a Cold Case Unit. All the old fire, wit and complex but clear plotting are there. So, too, is Rankin's brilliance at creating believable characters, utterly convincing dialogue and a superb sense of place - this time often in the isolated rural parts of Scotland around Inverness and Pitlochry.

This is, as always with Rankin, a great read with shady moral issues well to the fore. Rebus is still his old, cantankerous, alcohol-soaked, flawed self (thank heavens!). It's good to have Siobhan Clarke back in my life, and the whole thing was a real pleasure. It has the subversive appeal to make me keep reading well after I should have stopped and gone to sleep and, if a Rebus novel needs another recommendation, I can recommend it very warmly. It's well up to standard, which when talking about Ian Rankin is saying a lot.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 November 2013
It's a long time since I've read one of Ian Rankins Rebus novels and it was a bit like putting on an old favourite jumper....warm cosy and easy to fit into.

Retired and now working as a civilian in the Serious Crime Review Unit Rebus is older, greyer but still the same detective he always was, summed up nicely in this book by a character his path had crossed in a previous novel "You were a bastard back then too, just not so fat and old"

Rebus is approached by the mother of a missing girl who has a theory that her daughters disappearance is linked to that of other girls over over a period of years all along the same stretch of road and Rebus is in there like a dog with a bone...when told to back-off, he carries on regardless. Never one to toe the line, it's this side of his character that has made his so popular over the years.

Characters I recognised from previous novels made this an easy read....sorry tho' have to admit I was a bit disappointed with the ending. A welcome return for Rebus...there's life in the old dog yet.
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on 28 January 2013
Rebus means puzzle and John Rebus has always been a more mysterious character than the problems he solves. This book makes it clear what makes Rebus tick: his unblinking pursuit of truth is motivated by being pushed by, and pushing back at, both the criminal element and unimaginative bureaucracy. Retirement has left Rebus adrift and the invitation to be part of a group that looks at cold cases pushes him back into the world of truth digging - the only world in which his self-destructive nature has succeeded. As Siobhan is quick to point out, Rebus gets results, and though he is a pain to the police (how can you can a retired detective?), the disappearances of some young girls is only solved by his dogged bloody-mindedness and his ability to see past facts and into truth. In the end everybody is angry and frustrated with Rebus which is a world that readers of Rebus rejoice in and recognize.
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on 11 January 2014
It was my first Ian Rankin novel, so I am not entirely sure whether this book is the norm or the exception. The book did keep me engaged - it was a page-turner - but the overwhelming feeling at the end of the book was of disappointment and being let-down. I feel Ian Rankin ran out of steam writing this book because the end doesn't feel like an end at all; too many loose ends remain suspended; there are few explanations; and when the protagonist (Rebus the detective) is uncovering aspects of the case, it all happens too suddenly. My impression is Rankin is better than this, but in this book he just couldn't be bothered to weave all the threads together - he got sloppy and leaves the reader with a glass half-full feeling at the end. Some may like it, but most don't. 3/5 is generous.
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on 14 January 2013
I hadn't read any of the author's work before and I was therefore quite eager to see what all the fuss was about, especially having watched the TV interview about the making/writing of the book. It's well written for sure; perhaps not everyone's favourite style but it grips the reader. However, having watched the TV prog and the author's admission that thirty pages from the end he still wasn't sure where the plot was going and how he would reach an ending I too was eager to see what happened at that juncture.....sad to say the ending was all too contrived and convenient to meet the needs of the title. I guess I'd summarise by saying I was disappointed: I will read more by this author but I'm not totally sold yet.
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on 10 December 2012
I was Looking forward to reading this book, but oh what a dissapointment, very poor storyline, the clues and ending, are very poor,
its if he pluks the conclusion out of a hat, very disjointed. try again mr rankin, and lets have a proper ending please that makes
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on 30 December 2012
I am a huge fan and was very disappointed by 2 fundamental flaws to the whole book. There is no attempt at all made to explain why the murderer commits the crimes nor why the murderer texts a clue each time. These omissions spoil the whole book which is otherwise very good. I, like others, do not like the way Malcolm Fox is an unsympathetic character in this book as he is likeable in the other 2 books. This is Ian Rankin's choice as his creator but fans of the Malcolm Fox books will not like this at all. The depiction of Rebus is as brilliant as you would hope and Rebus is too much of a character not too appear in future books.
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VINE VOICEon 26 January 2015
Rebus is back. In some ways little has changed. He's still drinking and smoking too much, irritating his superiors and bending rthe rules. In other ways lots has changed. He's now a civilian, working on cold cases, he ends up working under Siobhan, and someone within the police, Malcolm Fox, Rankin's more recent creation, is on his case. The plot brings a cold case and a live enquiry into contact, with Rebus getting himself seconded to the main investigation thanks to his work on the cold case. It's a particularly gruesome case featuring a series of missing young women along the A9, organised crime and considerable media attention. The investigation covers a wide area, which Rankin uses to considerable advantage; in many car journeys we find Rebus pondering the case, reestablishing his working relationship with Siobhan and we're also treated to marvellously rich descriptions of the changing landscape. Unsurprisingly, Rebus is central to the case being solved, though it takes some persuasion to convince his superiors and also involves some very dubious plans. Along the way, Cafferty reappears, treating Rebus to fortnightly drinks in debt for saving his life. This enrages Fox, who seems to have a vendetta against Rebus. It's very interesting to see Fox in this context; unlike the books in which he's the central protagonist, he comes across as an unpleasant officer, taking pleasure in making life difficult for others. It'll be interesting to see how Rebus' application to rejoin the force turns out and how this affects Fox. Overall, brilliant crime fiction.
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