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63 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strong start to his post-Rebus career
Ian Rankin is at something of a turning point in his writing career. Although he wrote other novels early on, he is mainly known for the Inspector Rebus series which has enjoyed enormous critical and popular success in recent years. Now Rebus is taking a break, at least temporarily, and Rankin has just released his first stand-alone novel since the Inspector retired...
Published on 22 Sept. 2008 by M.D. Smart

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89 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Break From The Day Job
You're a celebrated crime author and you've just retired your most famous character - DI John Rebus, as if you didn't know - so what do you do next? Answer, you write an old-fashioned heist caper.

You'll have read the plot synopsis so I'll not summarise it again, I'll simply confine myself to making a few general points about the book:

First of all,...
Published on 29 Sept. 2008 by G. J. Oxley


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89 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Break From The Day Job, 29 Sept. 2008
By 
G. J. Oxley "Gaz" (Tyne & Wear, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doors Open (Hardcover)
You're a celebrated crime author and you've just retired your most famous character - DI John Rebus, as if you didn't know - so what do you do next? Answer, you write an old-fashioned heist caper.

You'll have read the plot synopsis so I'll not summarise it again, I'll simply confine myself to making a few general points about the book:

First of all, this originally ran as a serial in the same publication that first printed Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch-lite `The Overlook' before it was published as a novel last year. I don't know if Ian has padded out `Doors Open' prior to publication, but it doesn't read like a novella stretched beyond its natural length.

I found `Doors Open' to be a satisfying read, even if it doesn't come close to approaching the quality of the best of the Rebus novels. For anyone else it would be decent little book, but Rankin has set his own standards so high, that you're perhaps looking for a bit more. I personally suspect that he wrote this as a bit of light relief after creating the increasingly complex plots of the `you know who' series for the past twenty years. That and the large wad of cash he was apparently paid for writing it.

His policeman here, DI Ransome could not be less like John Rebus if he tried. For a start, he doesn't rush bull-headed into things with no care for insulting his betters - or anyone, else for that matter. Ransome has a facility for diplomacy when among his peers (his counterpart from another station is the one officially investigating the art theft) and has subtle plans for his own advancement. He's no less effective than Rebus, but like I say, his methods are totally different. However, in local Edinburgh gangster Chib Calloway he's created a baddie cut from the same cloth, or perhaps that should be, hewn from the same block of granite, as 'Big Ger' Cafferty from the Rebus novels.

There are a few times in this novel where Rankin has his characters spit things out... as in "`Blah, blah, blah', he spat". This despite the fact that the sentences often contain no sibilants. This is a bit lazy, and proves to me that Ian himself regards this as no more than a frippery; a break from the real day job. Having said that, it's still a professional effort and contains a good number of decent twists.

In summary, this is an effective and efficient little thriller. It's Ian Rankin writing in a much lighter vein - but it's no less enjoyable for that. If I'm going to be picky, there are writers around like Christopher Brookmyre who, frankly, do this kind of thing much better. Still it's a nice enough stab at something different, and it's never less than entertaining. But it isn't major league Rankin and anyone approaching it with that expectation is going to be disappointed.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh Dear..., 20 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Doors Open (Hardcover)
I found myself wondering whether this was a very early effort that had found it's way from the top of the wardrobe - how else to attribute this poor work to the author of the excellent Rebus novels.

The plot was completely unbelievable - everyone seemed to know everyone else. The heist itself - blink and you'd have missed it... The arch-villain - why didn't he nick all the paintings for himself if he was so unscrupulous...he was supplying the crew with the guns after all?

As well as the telegraphed ending, what really upset me were the glowing recommendations on the back cover. Sunday Telegraph; Mail on Sunday; Scotland on Sunday... until you realise after reading, that THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT OTHER BOOKS!

Come on Ian Rankin - you should be above this malarky! Have a quiet word with the publishers...
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is so sad, 15 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Doors Open (Hardcover)
I'm a great Ian Rankin fan. At least, I thought I was. I realise now that I'm a great Rebus fan. I came to this book desperately wanting to like it and I couldn't. How can any press reviewer say it shows Rankin's ability to move beyond Rebus? What it shows is the exact opposite. The exposition is overdone, heavy, leaden. The characterisation is hopeless (Big 'Ger Cafferty was always a questionable gangster -- risible, in fact -- but one accepted him because Rankin wrote him. But Chib Calloway -- Chib Calloway is the most unbelievable gangster in the history of crime fiction). This book is terrible. It's awful. Until now, when Rankin published a book I bought it. I may never buy another.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rebus' shoes are clearly hard to fill., 15 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Doors Open (Paperback)
This could have been a fun and frivolous fable, but ended up being dreary and dull. Characterisation is poor and plot is contrived and unoriginal. I can hardly believe this is from Rankin - surely one of the most effective writers of crime-fiction writing today.

This disappoints severely - avoid.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor, by anyone's standards, 29 Sept. 2009
By 
Jl Adcock "John Adcock" (Ashtead UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doors Open (Hardcover)
Reading Doors Open, I couldn't help but wonder if this was an early effort of Ian Rankin's that he dusted down in order to get something in the shops following the end of the Rebus series. For starters, it's quite a slim novel by Rankin's standards, and the plot, characters and dialogue frankly aren't up to much.

The art heist scam, Ediburgh background and presence of a local heavyweight gang boss aren't the most original ingredients you'll ever find in a book, and lots of this really did feel like someone just going through the motions rather than looking for a serious new direction post-Rebus.

For a short book, it felt like a long read. It's left me pondering the Rankin back catalogue - were they really as good as I thought they were, or did Rebus hold together a string of stories that were as badly written and unengaging as this one? It's a tough call. For die-hard Ian Rankin fans everywhere - prepare to be bitterly disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A great disappointment, 1 Dec. 2009
By 
Keith Harrison "Avid Reader" (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doors Open (Paperback)
Having read all the Rebus books and rating them highly I bought Doors Open because it was a 'Rankin'. Hence the great disappointment and the feeling that I should ask for my money back. It was made all the worse because I very much like the work of Christopher Brookmyer (also Tartan Noir) and Doors Open is a very very pale effort when compared to the Sacred Art of Stealing by Christopher Brookmyer. The Sacred Art is creative and amusing and kept me entertained from beginning to end. Doors Open lacks pace, is rather dull, and only really gets going in the last 20 pages.

I will not buy the other 'newish Rankin' (Complaints) - or any other new Rankin - in future until I have read the reviews (that is customer reviews and not Waterstones employees views or publishers blurb).

As another reviewer judged - it is pedestrian.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Open Doors, 31 Aug. 2009
By 
P. J. King "book reader" (London UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doors Open (Paperback)
This was the worst book by Ian Rankin I have read - in fact I became so fed up with it that I abandoned it before the end. It was difficult to believe it was actually written by him; the characters were cardboard cutout and the plot was, frankly, laughable.
It seems that he has now found a new person on which to write his next series. Thank goodness.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Low Rankin, 13 Oct. 2008
By 
Puckoon (North East England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doors Open (Hardcover)
The best way I can describe reading this book after Rebus is it's like watching Bonekickers after Life on Mars. I know Ian Rankin can write well without Rebus - I first read his watchman stuff - but this has the feel of meeting deadlines and fulfilling contractual obligations. The characters are cardboard, no one to like or care about, the plot is thin. I think this is probably the first time I have needed more than one sitting to read any of his books - I really struggled to finish it and I don't think it was worth it. From anyone else I would have given this two stars - so this may be really unfair - but the disappointment is all the more. Let's hope this is a blip, back to form next time, and that this isn't the start of a series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More like 'Bores Open', 27 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Doors Open (Kindle Edition)
Oh Ian, how could you do it? I tried to like this book, the first post-Rebus, I really did. In fact I tried very hard to get past the opening section. I'm afraid this story is way below Rankin's usual standard, little characterisation and a plot like an 80's Hollywood heist movie: with the result that I didn't care about the planned theft or any of the characters. Rankin originally wrote this as a serialisation in a U.S. mag & does it show.

Did I finish it? Yes, at the second attempt. Would I recommend it? Definitely NOT (other than a cure for insomnia0.
This is a real turkey - AVOID
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Pedestrian, 29 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Doors Open (Paperback)
I have been reading this book on and off for about 3 weeks now. I usually read a Rankin book in 1 night. So you get the idea. I have found the characters hard to connect to, they do not seem to have any redeeming points. I have not even reached half way, and will probably not fnish.

Awaiting The Complaints to come out in paperback.

Mr. Rankin can do far better than this, and I hope that this is not a book that a first time Rankin reader picks up to start reading.

Bring back Rebus!!! I am suffering withdrawal symptons
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Doors Open
Doors Open by Ian Rankin (Paperback - 6 Dec. 2012)
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