The Flood is not a crime novel. Mary Miller is an alienated young woman. As a child, she had had an accident involving a flood of chemical discharges from the local coal mine -- she had survived, badly injured, but sympathy for her plight evaporated when the man who was responsible for the accident met his death in a mining accident shortly after. The pious community she lives in views her with superstitious dread. Time passes, and she gives birth to an illegitimate son, Sandy. Her unsatisfactory love affair with a teacher is going nowhere, and her son has started a relationship with a homeless girl. But both Sandy and his mother have to confront the past, and both find their lives will be changed by elemental forces -- notably the flood of the title.
As the above conveys, this is sombre stuff, but that won't put off Rankin aficionados, who look for the dark and disturbing in his work. While the book is (inevitably) not as fully achieved as his later work, there are many fascinating pre-echoes of the off-kilter psychology that is Rankins stock-in-trade, and any rough edges of the narrative are more than offset by the power of the already highly individual vision on offer here. --Barry Forshaw
Full of secrets and revelations, with an atmospheric sense of time and place, it has Rankin's signature darkness (CHOICE)
It wouldn't take a Rebus to sleuth out the telltale signs of a talent in the making (Chris Power THE TIMES)