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Mortal Causes (A Rebus Novel) Paperback – 7 Aug 2008
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The sixth Inspector Rebus novel - 'an outstanding creation' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
It is August in Edinburgh and the Festival is in full swing...A brutally tortured body is discovered in one of the city's ancient subterranean streets and marks on the corpse cause Rebus to suspect the involvement of sectarian activists. The prospect of a terrorist atrocity in a city heaving with tourists is almost unthinkable. When the victim turns out to be the son of a notorious gangster, Rebus realises he is sitting atop a volcano of mayhem - and it's just about to erupt.See all Product description
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In this book we are literally plunged into the depths of the Old Town, in Mary King’s Close, a street that had been sealed and buried beneath the Royal Mile to prevent the spread of an eighteenth century plague outbreak. A young man has been taken down into Mary King’s Close and murdered in a particularly brutal manner. John Rebus, drawing on his experiences as a soldier in Northern Ireland during the height of The Troubles, immediately recognises that the victim has been ‘six packed, a punishment doled out by paramilitary units on both sides of the divide.
Rebus is co-opted into a Scottish Crime Squad operation that is monitoring the rise in sectarian violence on the mainland, which allows Rankin to explore the tensions that still persisted in Scotland in the 1990s. Much of the action takes place in or around the fractious (and for once fictitious) Garibaldi housing estate, known as the Gar-B. A youth centre set up on the estate by the local Catholic church with a view to giving the local teenagers somewhere safe to go seems to have gone rogue. Asked by his old friend, Father Conor Leary, to investigate what is going on, Rebus finds himself in a completely different world, where religious prejudice is rife, and the graffiti over the Gar-B mirrors the hatred seen in housing estates across Belfast.
As always, Rankin’s characters are immensely believable, and the plot develops very plausibly. It is interesting to see Siobhan Clarke playing a very minor role – within two or three books she would become a major character, second only to Rebus himself in terms of her role in the stories. Once again, Edinburgh itself is almost a character in its own right, and there is even a cameo appearance from Maurice Gerald Cafferty (‘Big Ger’).
A strong addition to the Rebus canon.
Rebus is faced with a set of challenges that will test him to the limit. During the course of the book Rebus has to visit Big Ger in jail and travel to Northern Ireland to look into the terrorist angle. He is also sent from his normal police station to work with the special branch and as usual Rebus is not going to make friends easy!
Rebus also is asked to look into a youth club in a rough part of the city. The volunteer that the church has sent appears to have gone rogue and the scenes with Rebus interacting with the estate gangs and the youth worker are a real highlight of the book for me.
Rankin wrote a wonderful book when he wrote Mortal Causes. The story is gripping and I couldn't put the book down. I would recommend this book to anyone that is a fan of the crime genre.