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Saints of the Shadow Bible (Inspector Rebus 19)
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80 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2013
When Ian Rankin last year brought his most famous creation John Rebus out of retirement I was genuinely excited about the prospect of more Rebus books. The resultant book Standing in Another Man's Grave: A John Rebus Novel did not disappoint, if anything it exceeded my expectations and was a joy to read so it was wonderful news earlier this year when Rankin confirmed that Rebus was back again in this years book.

As was revealed before publication Rebus is not just back in the book he is back on the force and back working with Siobhan however this time the roles have been reversed. Unlike in previous years Siobhan outranks and has more influence and pull than the newly reinstated Rebus. It is in my opinion one of the standout parts of the book the way Rankin highlights the new position for them and shows both of them struggling to fully come to terms with the switch in power.

Another of Rankin's creations Malcolm Fox from the Professional Standards, or complaints to you or me features heavily in this book. Indeed Malcolm who is investigating a potential cover up in Rebus past has far more of the book than I was expecting and the tension and mistrust between him and Rebus is another highlight.

The one minor area of complaint I would have is that after hinting at a reconciliation with his daughter in the last book Ian decided to almost completely drop the subject this time around. I was looking forward to the development of their relationship and was slightly disappointed that more was not made of it.

All in all this was another fantastic Ian Rankin book. Any fears that the return of Rebus would have a negative effect on the Rebus series have been well and truly put to bed with this book. In my opinion this is one of the top five Rankin/Rebus books and I could not recommend it any higher.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"The Scottish Government intends to hold a referendum of the Scottish electorate, on the issue ofindependence from the United Kingdom, on Thursday 18 September 2014 following an agreement between the Scottish Government and HM Government.The Referendum Bill, setting out the arrangements for this referendum, was put forward on 21 March 2013. The question asked in the referendum will be "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
Wikipedia

Rebus is back in CID, Criminal Investigation Department, a Detective Sargeant, having been demoted for who knows what. His superior is none other than DI Clarke. Rebus had been her mentor, he retired and then went to Cold Cases, and now that was dismantled, and, he had done such 'good' work he was kept on in CID. The other news is that the Malcom Fox, who was part of the hated Professional Standards, is now working with the Solicitor General on one more case before Professional Standards is shut down. He hopes to work with CID. Is this too much or not? Rebus and Fox together?

Some crimes occur that threaten to destabilize both sides in the referendum campaign. The 'Yes' campaign has an apparent murder of the SNP Justice Minister. But it's the possible involvement in another murder by Stefan Gilmour, a prominent businessman and leading 'No' man in the 'campaign, that causes the real problems for Rebus.

In the1980s, Gilmour had been the DI at Summerhall police station when Rebus was a lowly DC. just starting out. Those were the days when 'anything goes' in the Scottish police, and usually did. Rebus was new to the job and was not privy nor trusted with much of what was going on, criminal or dirty police work. Now, Rebus is asked to work with DI Clarke and Malcom Fox, all three together, to look at the old Summerhall gang, and one crime in particular. Isn't this interesting? Rebus, as usual gets into hot water at many turns, but he has the gut instinct of a good cop and knows when things are wrong, and knows how to find the truth. Clarke and Fox work warily but well together. Is there a future, there?

Rebus, as we know is of the old school, computers and the internet are not his thing. People skills are not his thing, getting along with his superiors are not his thing. Just what is his thing, following up,clues and solving the murders. How will this end, the three of them, Clarke, Fox and Rebus? It is anyone's guess.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 11-18-13
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
For fans of Detective Inspector John Rebus, his "retirement" in the excellent Exit Music was a sad moment. But author Ian Rankin knows that fans, old and new, can't get enough of the cantankerous, hard-drinking, rogue detective, who plays by his own rules no matter the damage it does to his personal or professional life. In Saints of the Shadow Bible, the second Rebus book since that short-lived retirement, Rebus has been demoted to a Detective Sergeant, but this doesn't concern him in the least; the only thing he loves is the job. He is united with Malcolm Fox, an Internal Affairs inspector who has starred in his own Rankin books, starting with The Complaints.
At times not trusting each other, at times coming close to blows, the two men must learn to work together on a series of seemingly unrelated crimes, some of which span back to Rebus's first days on the force, 30 years earlier, as well as new murder investigations that cross their paths. All this takes place in the context of the run-up to Scotland's referendum on independence, where even street-level crimes may have political motivations, and politicians with specific agendas either push or block the investigations that suit them. Rebus, as always his own man, has to cut through the double-talk in order to find kernels of truth.
Rankin eventually ties all the story-lines together, although it's almost impossible to follow the many threads that make up the complex puzzle of this book. Fans of the Rebus series probably don't care how complicated the mystery becomes, nor will they question the logical leaps that Rebus manages to make in order to solve the various crimes. What matters is dropping in on this old friend, seeing him seemingly down and out, and then rising again in defiance of all the odds to best his rivals, whether these rivals are other, "by the book" policemen, stuffed-shirt politicians or the criminal low-lifes that he seems most comfortable around.
Perhaps more than any of his earlier books, Saints looks deep into Rebus's past to question his ethics and his disregard of anybody else's way of doing things. He's getting older, perhaps more introspective, but he's still driven to solve crimes and punish those he considers the bad guys. He's aware that abusive police tactics from his earlier days will no longer be tolerated, and he has to manage to solve the crimes while not getting into any more trouble. It's a delicate balancing act that he pulls it off once more in this terrific book, and no fan of this great detective series can ask for more than that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Just to add another voice to the chorus of praise for this book. It's a fine Rankin novel, which is very high praise.

Rebus is back on the force as a DS, with his old station and colleagues from his first days as a rookie constable uunder investigation. Rankin uses this device very well to create a subtle, thoughtful and gripping thriller with genuine intellectual content. Just what we would expect from him by now, really.

I would just add a small caveat. Rankin's prose is normally flawless - it carries you along, it's perfectly judged and you don't notice it much, which is exactly what you want in a well-told story like this. Just occasionally in Saints Of The Shadow Bible, I felt a bit of a glitch as Rankin strives for unnecessary and sometime inappropriate synonyms for "said," for example. People "state," or "intone" or "comment" when they're just saying something normally, and they "snap back" rather too often so it becomes a bit of a tic. It's a tiny thing which doesn't detract from the excellence of the book, but I did think it was noticeable.

If you need any encouragement from me among the thousands of reviews here to read this book, you have it. It's a cracker which I can recommend warmly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Saints of the Shadow Bible, Ian Rankin, Orion, 2013, 328pp.

This is another excellent chapter in the Rebus story. This time, Detective Sergeant Rebus – reinstated at a lower rank as there was no room for another inspector – is working for Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke, and is looking into a car crash in the middle of nowhere. Naturally, they spot a few suspicious details, and slowly the bodies start to pile up, as does the web of crime and corruption that they slowly and steadily start to uncover. Intertwined with this is an investigation by Malcolm Fox – his final one before returning to the ranks of the CID - into a team of detectives that Rebus was part of when he first became a Detective Constable, to which Rebus is himself assigned…

Expect the expected, along with the unexpected, as we see a return to top form with the latest 5-star Rebus novel. As well as some deeply mysterious goings-on to be unravelled, we also get to look into the world of policing that Rebus grew up in and grew out of. We also get excellent characterisation of the regular cast, as they continue to grow and develop.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2014
The past might feel like ancient history, but no one knows better than Rebus how it has a habit of catching up with you.

When politics and policing mix no stone is left unturned and everyone can be hurt when those in powerful places are looking to score points against their enemies.

Rebus finds himself torn between doing the right thing and protecting old friends. As the bodies start to pile up Rebus must put his trust in Michael Fox, a man who has little respect for Rebus, and whose actions could lead to John's loyalties being tested to the limit.

Rankin on top form showing us once again that there is always another Rebus story to tell and this one was absolutely gripping.
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on 3 October 2014
Policemen serving in Internal Affairs units are hated by their colleagues worldwide and their return to normal duty is problematic. Ian Rankin (IR) wrote 2 riveting books about Malcolm Fox (MF), an ambitious and scrupulous employee of such a ‘complaints’ unit. Here MF locks horns with John Rebus (JR) in a strange, complicated and exhausting duel lasting 14 intense days investigating a number of killings.
Early in his career in the early 1980s, young Rebus was posted to a corrupt, law-breaking and vicious detective police detail, whose own nickname is this book’s title. Thirty+ years later, its surviving members meet, following a recent change on double jeopardy under Scottish law: cases once dismissed by jury and judge, can be re-opened. This threatens some ex-Saints more than others: one is dead, another dying, leaving three members, including Rebus.
This very tense novel written in 14 numbered chapters with lots of sub-sections, describes their unfurling crisis during the early run-up to the September 2014 Scottish referendum vote on independence. It sees another return of John Rebus to police duties, albeit as a lowly DCS on probation with his former trainee and lover, DCI Siobhan Clark as his boss.
Once again, spot-on dialogues and characterization and full of urgency and atmosphere. Young Darryl Christie, first introduced in “Standing in another Man’s Grave”, comes across as a worthy successor to earlier Edinburgh gangster bosses. Hope the series continues, but this police procedural underlines on many of its pages that creative crime fighters like John Rebus are a dying species, unloved by colleagues, not only in Scotland.
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on 18 July 2014
When the Cold Case Group in which Rebus has been working is eliminated, he lucks out by being taken back with a spot in CID, albeit with a demotion. Reduced from DI to DS, he now is subordinate to his long-time protégé, DI Clarke. Of course, that doesn’t stop the old dinosaur from acting like he always has.

Rankin introduces a couple of surprises in this novel, the first being having Malcolm Fox, Rebus’s standing nemesis, as a co-investigator working together. It comes about because Fox is performing his last assignment with the Complaints looking at a 30-year-old case involving the group known as the Saints of the Shadow Bible because they each swore fidelity to protect each other on a stand-in for the holy book. Rebus had joined the group as a young DC soon after the arrest of a snitch who eventually got off on a murder charge through police mistakes. This was in the Old Days, when anything went and they made their own rules. The Solicitor General recently pushed through a retraction of the double jeopardy rule and was looking to resurrect the murder charge. Rebus volunteers to assist in Fox’s efforts and the two learn to trust one another, leading to cooperation in another more recent investigation involving an auto accident and the murder of the Minister of Justice.

As with the rest of the series, Rebus shines and errs, but his character and ability always comes through. The author has no need of our praise, but deserves accolades nonetheless. The complexity of the plot provides Rebus with the chance to outthink everyone, but the surprise is that Fox rises to the occasion as a real CID detective. Highly recommended.
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Book 19, in Inspector Rebus series

This author’s undoubted talent is his ability to set up complex plots and to get us involved without losing our interest. He does this superbly with this latest setting up two parallel investigations filled with suspense. This novel is set against the background of the referendum campaign.

“Saints of the Shadow Bible” explore loyalty of the police force to each other, their duty to the law and the way they fulfill their duty. Malcolm Fox plays a huge part in the mystery. He is tasked lead investigator into whether a fast and loose group of cops in the mid-80’s might have tainted a murder trial when Rebus was a young officer. At the same time the suspense deftly ties the old case into a new one that began with road crash involving a tycoon’s daughter that appears to be more than an accident. We find Rebus and his side kick Clarke called to the scene.

This novel is an immense and intricate canvas of well-drawn characters and two of Rankin’s greatest collide while hunting for the truth. The narrative goes back and forth as the two cases merge and separate then merge again. There is high tension and mounting body count throughout this mystery to keep us glued to every word. This is like a soap opera, the plotting weaved all elements together we have come to love or hate and has been delivered in a tight, quick step prose with a noir flavoured tone. Rebus saved the day and will return soon….stay tune this series is not dead yet.
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Ian Rankin continues to breathe new life into John Rebus, and if "Standing In Another Man's Grave" was a strong return to form for Rankin, then "Saints of The Shadow Bible" is, arguably, even better.

Combining elements of Rebus's shady backstory in the days of eighties policing with a recent murder enquiry, and bringing something of a thaw to the Cold War-type relations between him and Complaints cop Malcolm Fox, Rankin can draw on an impressive catalogue of work and beleivable, real characters, to now offer a potential new partnership for future books.

The dialogue in "Saints of The Shadow Bible" is particulary sharp and enjoyable, almost like reading something from a well-constructed script, and Rebus himself is shown with all his ambiguities and faults. Yes, he's a good cop, but also something of an increasingly outdated one, and it is this theme of an older man still battling with the modern world that has made his return something to savour in these latest stories.

Interestingly, as Fox and Rebus rub shoulders, something of each of them rubs off on the other. By the end of the book, Fox comes across as more human and likeable, while Rankin cleverly tops and tails the story with an illustration of Rebus's darker side, and the fact that he won't change how he approaches things.

Entering the world Rankin has constructed is to enjoy spending time with someone who has refreshed his series character - and seemingly his own interest in the genre at the same time. Streets ahead of other contemporary Scottish crime, there will be something very wrong if this latest title doesn't get some recognition in the next round of CWA awards. Hugely enjoyable. Can't wait for more.
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