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103
4.4 out of 5 stars
The Falls (Inspector Rebus Book 12)
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2001
Rankin combines history (references to Burke and Hare and the tiny coffins found on Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh in 1836 and thought by some to have been left as a memorial to the victims of aforementioned duo), and up to the minute internet e-mail gaming to produce one of the better Rebus thrillers. Rebus is his usual shambolic self, breaking the rules, drinking too much too often and yet still managing to start a relationship! Siobhan Clarke gets a more prominent role as she starts to get hooked on the internet game set by "The Quizmaster" who may or may not be the abductor of a privileged university student. The nitty gritty police work undertaken as the officers search for the student allows Rankin to introduce a variety of characters which sets you racing to the finish in order to discover the level of significance they each hold (or don't hold). All this combines to make "The Falls" an exciting read with many a twist and turn. I was gripped from the outset, I enjoyed the historical element and felt it added to the tension of the fictional story. The tiny Arthur's Seat coffins can be seen in the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and are all the more spooky for the fictional links Rankin introduces in this book.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2001
If you like Rebus, you'll love this novel. One of Rankin's best, right up there with BLACK AND BLUE & THE HANGING GARDEN. And there's an added bonus: the intriguing development of side-kick Siobhan Clarke. Is Ian Rankin grooming her as the next Clarice Starling? Can't wait to see ...
THE PLOT. When a young student disappears, something in Rebus's gut tells him she's not a runaway. For a start, she comes from a super-rich family. But there's also an intriguing clue: a coffin of a wooden doll found near her home. So Rebus embarks with Siobhan Clarke on an investigation that spans age-old crimes and modern technology in an Edinburgh built (almost literally) on the graves of the dead ...
I loved the use of Edinburgh, the old granite lady herself, as virtually an extra character. The premise that certain haunting places produce (and reproduce) particular crimes is one also brilliantly used in Dexter Dias's thriller "Power of Attorney", only that Dias uses London to equally compelling effect. James Lee Burke uses Montana similarly in "Bitterroot".
This is the best Rebus for some time. I can't recommend it too highly.
And if you like Rebus, I'd also strongly recommend Dias's cop/lawyer David Kilkenny in "Power of Attorney" and Billy Bob Holland in "Bitterroot".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 26 March 2003
Well not quite - as Rebus devotees might guess all the techie stuff is handled by Siobhan Clarke while Rebus concentrates on delving into the past. All the usual elements are in place - and the City of Edinburgh remains one of Rankins strongest charachters - though Rebus does seem to be mellowing a little with age.
Rankin is really a novelist who happens to write genre fiction and much of the pleasure is in the characterisation and backround detail. The plot is good, Rankin has clearly done his reasearch an the internet stuff stands up pretty well (I work in IT and often find the attempts of authors to work the internet in laughable). However the whole thing isn't quite up to the his best work but still a must for every Rebus fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2012
The Falls rambles on page after page,culminating in a brief 20 page sprint finish

All of the original Rebus books seem to have been dredged for storyline then copied verbatim

Pleased "Arthurs Seat" yet again gets a mention as a murder scene and the Waters of Leith also get into the picture.

This is a book that I tried very hard to become interested in but the repetetive inclusion of the coffins and their twisted link to the plot became more of a "Oh not again" sort of reaction.

Gill Templar, Siobhan, Hi Ho Silver and the other stooges are all there seeming not to be able to function without the meanderings of John Rebus, who in the end hopefully rides off into the sunset forever with yet another of the educated ladies he seems to get into bed with.

Not a good read but now seem typical of the "sausage machine" output of Mr Rankins pen
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2001
A strong, plot-driven murder mystery and a further look into the life of John Rebus, and increasingly, the equally strong Siobhan Clarke.
Rebus's character has developed brilliantly, and the way characters from previous novels appear again is deftly handled, almost like a crime Dance to the Music of Time.
It's not the strongest in the series, perhaps because of the lack of a more apparent nemesis for Rebus, either in the police force or in the crime underworld. That said, the standard of the series is so incredibly high that this is not intended as a slight.
Highly recommended if you've already read Rebus, but if not, start at least with Black and Blue, if not at the beginning of the series.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 13 November 2001
Oh my, what a book. This is the best Rebus mystery yet, and by some distance. Rankin brilliantly interweaves a number of plotlines (again) and opens up the book (and the series) by giving other characters starring roles. Clearly, Siobhan Clarke is being groomed to take over as the star of the show when Rebus is forced to retire (or Rankin is forced to retire Rebus). Long may this series of fine detective novels continue...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 December 2001
Rankin keeps up his fine form with another slice of life with Edinburgh's finest copper, John Rebus.
As always the genuine locations and attention to detail (a correct reading of the Burke and Hare story) marry the fiction to the real world, giving the reader a mental hook to the scene of crime immediately.
The titular Falls are something of a red herring as most of the action is again set in Edinburgh and Rankin once again takes to the history-steeped streets and closes for his setting. The historical slant is played for maximum effect - the main thread is Rebus's preoccupation with a decades-old mystery - but juxtaposed very nicely with the Internet-based role-playing game that his younger colleagues tackle in the hunt for the mysterious 'Quizmaster', chief suspect in the murder of a wealthy University student.
A lengthy read, but impossible to put down as Rankin spins out multiple parallel plotlines and characters.
Heartily recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2001
This book is many things- topical, well characterised, full of album and gig reviews, as good a guide as any to Edinburgh's pubs on and off the tourist trail- but it's disappointing because the plot is ridiculous. Internet schminternet- Rankin must realise that his characters' dabblings in the web are no more intrinsically interesting than their holiday snaps. While reading, I kept thinking of that Sinead Cusack TV series about convoluted crossword puzzles which was clearly an influence on this story. Still, the passing cast- particularly the whisky priest, nymphomaniac potter and journo-with-imaginary-girlfriend are well sketched. And what better illustration of modern romance than borrowing her mobile phone charger...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2001
Rankin has managed to produce the feeling for the
everyday life which I have been longing for in modern thrillers. I'm tired of high-tech stuff and unbelievable plots, so this is refreshing!
Rebus is an ordinary copper, with ordinary problems and faults, a highly beliavable person.
The plot may be a little far fetched at first sight, but improves rapidly, when it's clear it's far more complicated than it seems, with both a historic clue and modern computer challenges.
This being my first Rankin, I am pleased to make the acquaintance,and I know where to find a good story when I want one!
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I came to this in a roundabout way via the recent TV documentary that followed Ian Rankin as he wrote 2012's bestseller: Standing in another man's grave. Ian Rankin has been writing books for over two decades. He has a huge and devoted following, his books are primarily set in Scotland, in or around Edinburgh and he sells more books in the UK than any other author. That might be any British author. After the documentary I stampeded straight over to Amazon to buy 'Standing in another man's grave', a desire quickly undone when I saw the book was more expensive on the Kindle than in hardback. So that was that. But I got talking about the documentary with a colleague who urged me to read 'The Falls' as a great example of Rankin's main protagonist: Rebus. As I'm a sucker for a recommendation and it was half the price of the book I had intended buying, I bought it.

The Falls focuses on Rebus as he waves goodbye to retiring colleagues and looks over his shoulder at a young, smart breed of detective aided by technology. When a local socialite studying at Edinburgh University goes missing it's Rebus and Siobhan who head the investigation. As they dig deeper they discover clues that link the disappearance with several others over three decades and a mysterious internet role-playing game.

The Falls was for me much more a cerebral experience over a thriller read. There was very little in the way of suspense all the way through. The premise of the missing person, the historical crimes and the internet quizmaster were mildly engaging. The Fall's was written just after the Da Vinci code mayhem and felt like a weaker or enforced use of the puzzle format. The absolute strength of the book and I suspect of Rankin's writing in general, is the ability to convey the thoughts and personalities of the detectives, giving us soul and psychology as they deliberate the case and struggle to manage their private lives. The focus is always on the job so you don't get any of the tedious soap operatics found in many books currently trying to accomplish the same.

There is something almost cathartic about The Falls I suspect will resonate more with any audience that has knocked their heads against the obstacles life places in our way. The characters are flawed and hopeful, unique and smart. It is the characters that had me transfixed through the book not the whodunnit. When I turned the last page I wanted to read other books in the series to discover their journey.

Hope this was helpful.
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