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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life in the old dog yet
"Standing In Another Man's Grave" marks the return of Rankin's best-loved creation John Rebus. After the slight disappointment of his last appearance in "Exit Music", and a string of non-Rebus titles that don't quite cut it in the same way, Rankin perhaps had something to prove by returning to Rebus, but he's come up trumps with this latest title.

Rebus is now...
Published on 7 Feb. 2013 by Jl Adcock

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return, if not a wholly successful one
There are many in Lothian and Borders Police thankful for the retirement of John Rebus. They are less happy that he is now working in a civilian capacity in the cold case unit, particularly given his tendency to spend evenings drinking with known gangsters like Morris Gerald Cafferty. Tensions bubble to the surface as Rebus begins to notice similarities between the...
Published on 10 Dec. 2012 by TWBlount


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life in the old dog yet, 7 Feb. 2013
By 
Jl Adcock "John Adcock" (Ashtead UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
"Standing In Another Man's Grave" marks the return of Rankin's best-loved creation John Rebus. After the slight disappointment of his last appearance in "Exit Music", and a string of non-Rebus titles that don't quite cut it in the same way, Rankin perhaps had something to prove by returning to Rebus, but he's come up trumps with this latest title.

Rebus is now working cold cases, and this sets him on a collision course with a recent MisPer case being worked, in turn allowing the story to bring him into contact with Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox (The Complaints). Interestingly, Rankin captures the essence of changing relationships really well, with the sense that Rebus is considered past it by most people he encounters - even former colleagues who once respected him - and yet he can still get results.

Although the Rebus/Fox encounter has been played up in some publicity material for the novel, in truth Fox has a minor role, although this is enough to make the reader appreciate just how dull he is in comparision with Rebus. The story of a series of missing persons along the stretch of the A9 going back years is done well, although the plot is not perhaps as strong as the characterisations, and there is something of a rushed, convenient ending in the closing chapters that didn't entirely convince - but it certainly keeps the pages turning.

Cleverly, Rankin broadens the canvas of the story here, gving Rebus free rein over much of the wider Scottish landscape, perhaps teeing up further stories where he can operate outside of Edinburgh? Not far in the background, old nemesis Big Ger Cafferty is also coming to terms with his own mortality and sense of shifting power balances in the criminal world, although again the relationship between him and Rebus doesn't always work in this reunion of old rivals.

Ultimately, Rankin has produced a really entertaining page turner - by far his best book for some time. It does, however beg the question: where next? More of the slightly stifling Malcolm Fox and his internal investigations team - or the vastly more appealing prospect of an ageing, maverick Rebus set to appear in more books?
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115 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars '...better to be miserable and alive...', 15 Nov. 2012
By 
FictionFan (Kirkintilloch, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Standing in Another Man's Grave: A John Rebus Novel (Inspector Rebus Book 18) (Kindle Edition)
What a joy to have my old friend Rebus back and on top form! For the first (and only!) time in my life I feel I have to thank the government for putting up the retirement age, so giving Ian Rankin this opportunity to resurrect my all time favourite policeman. Curmudgeonly as ever, but with dry sense of humour very much intact, (...to a woman with multiple piercings who refuses a drink - 'Pity, I wanted to see if you leak...') Rebus is now working in the cold cases unit. But when a young girl goes missing he makes a connection with a previous disappearance and quickly finds a way to shoehorn himself into the current investigation. The case involves several disappearances all linked to the A9 road, so Rebus is forced to leave his Edinburgh comfort zone and travel into the small towns and rural communities of the north. As he points out, he sometimes feels he's never been this far from a pub in his life.

The old characters are here - Siobhan, still unable to do the sensible thing and cut her links with her maverick old mentor; Big Ger Cafferty, like Rebus semi-retired, but still with a finger in every criminal pie. But we also meet up with Malcolm Fox of The Complaints - since Rebus has applied to rejoin the force, Fox has been tasked with checking him out and is convinced that his links with Cafferty are a sign of corruption. It's a neat trick of Rankin's to show us Fox from the other side in this book - to Rebus he's the bad guy and it's very enjoyable to see if the old fox can outrun the new one.

I enjoyed both of the Malcolm Fox books hugely and hope Rankin does more of them, but oh, the pleasure of having Rebus back...I hope the government puts the police retirement age up to eighty! Highly recommended.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return, if not a wholly successful one, 10 Dec. 2012
By 
TWBlount (Leamington Spa, Warwickshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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There are many in Lothian and Borders Police thankful for the retirement of John Rebus. They are less happy that he is now working in a civilian capacity in the cold case unit, particularly given his tendency to spend evenings drinking with known gangsters like Morris Gerald Cafferty. Tensions bubble to the surface as Rebus begins to notice similarities between the disappearance of an Edinburgh girl, investigated by DI Siobhan Clarke, and a string of other young women who have vanished over the preceding decades. This takes Rebus into the Highlands, a long way from the comfort of Edinburgh and constantly on the verge of being sent back to the cold cases unit or even retired permanently.

There's always a reason to read Rankin. He's such an accomplished writer with caramel prose and a fantastic grasp of pace and structure. I raced to the end of Standing in Another Man's Grave just as I have every other Rebus book I've picked up.

As with every other long running series, there is a tendency for many of the tropes that make the series so familiar to become trite and stale, so it was a smart move to shake things up with the retirement of Rebus. The shift in tone works well in throwing both Rebus and the reader off kilter. Rebus is no longer just working against bureaucratic superiors but often the whole police force, to whom he now seems an outsider. Equally, the juxtaposition of dark and light -Rebus and Cafferty- no longer seems so clear cut now that the line that separated them is erased. Both are retired so whilst both still cling to their own allegiances, it's pretty clear Rebus is no longer an officer of the law and Cafferty is no longer the prince of the Edinburgh underworld.

This does throw up some problems in the novel. It was straightforward to sympathise with Rebus as the radical iconoclast in the force. Now that he is outside of it, it becomes easier to empathise with those in authority who are asked to take risks on the hunches of someone who is clearly an emotionally stunted obsessive. Despite his qualms in the quieter moments of the night, Rebus' drive to achieve justice is all consuming regardless of the damage caused to himself, friends and family.

Rankin has always distanced himself slightly from the idea of the Holmsian genius. Rebus has gut feels and makes unexpected deductions but his results are as often built on the procedure of police work (often undertaken by others, often using computers) and a degree of luck. I couldn't help feel that the resolution of this novel was too incidental to the fun Rankin was having with a newly liberated Rebus. The circumstantial evidence that Rebus gathers is -as he admits- flimsy and yet he is prepared to take a much darker path than he has in the past to validate it. It highlights the idea of Rebus as an agent for justice rather than law but also signals a shift further to grey in the character and provides a plot resolution that is less satisfying than many that Rankin has dished up.

Overall, this seems like a transitionary novel. It moves the characters much further forward than previous books and shakes up the series, promising more novelty for both writer and reader in the future. It does this, however, at the expense of the plot mechanics and, fundamentally, this is what great crime fiction relies upon.
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100 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rebus is back and as good as ever, 8 Nov. 2012
By 
Bookie (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Standing in Another Man's Grave: A John Rebus Novel (Inspector Rebus Book 18) (Kindle Edition)
It doesn't seem like 25 years since Rebus first hit the pages. In the 5 years since his retirement, I've missed him. The couple of books about The Complaints Division featuring the humourless, disagreeable and teetotal Malcolm Fox have helped to fill the gap, but Standing In Another Man's Grave cleverly squares the circle. Rebus returns and comes across his old adversary Fox.

Rebus comes out of retirement to work cold case files, but as a civilian. He has none of his previous powers as a police officer, but as may be expected, this small constraint doesn't stop him investigating in his own inimitable style. The route of the A9 links disappearances and unusually, Rebus leaves Edinburgh to follow leads all over Scotland. His beloved Saab is still going strong and other familiar characters including Big Ger and Siobhan also feature. The plot is more straightforward than many of the earlier stories and I found it easier to decide who's responsible for the killings. However, that doesn't detract in any way. It's a well judged page turner, the pace builds and lets go a number of times. For me, Mr Rankin nails dialogue. It's real people speaking, whoever they may be. The contrast between Fox and Rebus is stark. Fox remains sterile and disapproving whilst Rebus is almost anarchic, but human and likeable. The musical references are there, but increasingly involve a sense of mortality. Some of the most poignant moments are when Rebus reflects on the death of musicians of a similar age to himself, including John Martyn and Bert Jansch.

The good news is that the way is left open for Rebus to return. The retirement age for Police has been raised and Rebus makes it clear he wants another stint in his old job. For me, Rebus has lost non of his old magic. He remains a highly individual but engaging character. He has a distinct style and outlook but has always managed not to become a stereotype or caricature. The narrative is still fresh and relevant; there's no sense of complacency or cashing in. It's almost as if the author, too, missed and old friend. There's life in the old dog yet and the bite's as keen as ever in this outing. Thank you Mr Rankin; I hope there's another soon!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. Rebus hardly bothers to go through the motions as his author goes for an easy cheque., 1 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Standing in Another Man's Grave: A John Rebus Novel (Inspector Rebus Book 18) (Kindle Edition)
I have read a lot of John Rebus novels as well as Rankin's more recent Fox books, but felt that this was well below the standard of his earlier works. It was rambling, lazy and repetetive. The plot was reasonably coherent but spoilt by pointless wanderings in the clapped out Saab round random areas of Northern Scotland, fuelled by whisky. The macinations of the new young gangster could have been interesting. Rebus was just annoying. I felt really ripped off by this purchase and, if I had not been on holiday without anything else much to read, would not have bothered to finish it. If Rankin were not a best selling author, no publisher would have touched this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars but this is NOT one of Ian Rankin's best books by quite a long way, 6 Oct. 2014
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It's OK, but this is NOT one of Ian Rankin's best books by quite a long way. The main part of the story is not bad, although quite convoluted, with a bit too much in the way of sudden coincidences (always a bad move in murder/mysteries).

****** SPOILER ALERT ******

Lots of unanswered questions:

WHY did the killer send those photos as text messages, and why or how were the recipients chosen - random from the contacts list?

WHY or how was the last girl's photo a "photo of a photo" and confirmed as such by forensics?

WHY was the burial site where it was, and all together?

What a coincidence that the cadaver dog just happened to be brought in as they were searching an area purely on a hunch, and that the dog found the bodies quite some distance away in the woods

The ending would have to be the most contrived and unsatisfactory ending of ANY of the Rebus books - and I've read them all. That whole scenario of "giving the killer a scare" was just so contrived and unlikely. Why did Rebus tell Darryl he didn't want to know where - but then followed him there anyway? Why did Siobhan, normally a stickler for procedure, let Rebus even consider such a thing? How convenient that the killer is sufficiently scared that Rebus could then drop him off at the police station to make a full confession - yeah, right! And we never find out WHY he supposedly did what he did, or how, or even if he DID make that confession.

Overall, not a bad tale, but with lots of clues that it was rushed, contrived, especially the ending, and that Rankin was maybe just "churning one out" for the income? His heart wasn't in it - apart from the travelogue of Scotland. Far too many loose ends not tied up and questions unanswered. And none of them are answered in the next book either - yes, I've read that one too, and it's better than this one. But I think Rankin/Rebus has gone past the use-by date and gone a bit stale.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rebus is back, 17 Feb. 2013
Standing in another man's grave by Ian Ranking
Rebus is back!
After 5 long years Scotland's most famous detective is back with a new tale of missing persons plus gangsters old and new. The now retired Rebus may well have left the police force but is now working on cold cases when a current missing person brings him back into contact with his colleagues including his former partner Siobhan Clarke.
Drawn away from his usual Edinburgh haunts up to the north of Scotland, the ruggedly determined Rebus uses his usual old-fashioned methods to try to solve this latest case whilst up against old foes from the `Complaints' department who have no time for Rebus and his unconventional ways.
Having read all the previous Rebus novels, I was eagerly awaiting this book and it did not disappoint. Although this book for me was a continuation of a great series - however, I feel that it could be enjoyed just as much if this was the first time you were reading a book featuring Rebus. Altogether it was a great book which will appeal to anybody who likes a fast moving read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a seasoned malt with a little mustard, 27 Jan. 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back Rebus, 30 Nov. 2013
By 
Big Bertha (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Puzzle that is Rebus Deepens, 28 Jan. 2013
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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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