1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A thriller, but not one of Rankin's best books,
This review is from: Blood Hunt: A Jack Harvey Novel (Paperback)
This is the tenth Rankin I have read (seven Rebus novels, one set of Rebus short stories, and Watchman), and to me at least, the joint weakest.
Other reviewers mention the picking and dropping off of plot elements, or the unconvincing nature of this or that. I feel the main problem is that Ian took it upon himself to write an all-out action thriller. Whether in contradiction with the Gordon Reeve of Knots and Crosses or not, the central character is essentially an Action Man figure, pushed around the world at great speed, with absolutely no expense spared, and with action constantly on his mind, essentially indestructible and able by muscle and guile to overcome any obstacles, however diabolical. As in a far-fetched action thriller film, Wolfenstein game or Maxell bunny, our hero may be thrice exhausted, kicked, punched, thrashed, lamed, shot to pieces and possibly stabbed and throttled too - but keeps on going. (One might have thought Rankin would be better off - in the interests of realistic plausibility - eventually killing off this short-term hero .... whereas, as Doyle found, killing off your serial mastersleuth can be trickier.)
I suspect the writer himself is by disposition far more like the keen player of computer games which our Immortal Invincible Superhero Reeve briefly becomes - and which implausibly proves the means to the long-lost evidence the plot has been searching for. Understandable potboiling apart, Gordon Reeve appears to be a rather juvenile construct of heroism, used mainly as a five-finger exercise for the writer, to develop electric tension and the resolution of physical action for the greater purposes of the more grounded (and earthed) crime mystery thrillers that are his great expertise. A redeeming feature of the novel is that there are sporadic elements of self-parody in this almost comic-book approach and demanded style.
Of course, no Rankin book is exactly poor. There are indeed striking turns of phrase, there is a characteristic, graphic descriptive talent and narrative imagination which percolates even this (excessively) action-packed story. In short, Blood Hunt is a curio of a test piece for the writer - it is only a pity if this book puts readers off exploring the enigmatic hoard of treasures that is the Rebus series.
And yes, the other joint-weakest of the ten so far is the early and far too contrived Watchman. After reading Dead Souls, a hell of a book (in a good sense), both of these action thrillers count as drawn-out writing.