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Just a little too ambitious
on 2 June 2014
Set in Darkness is the eleventh Ian Rankin book to be based on the life of his detective John Rebus. Set against the backdrop of the new Scottish Parliament building being built I found the book to be slightly too complicated and confusing at times.
In the early chapters we discover that with Rebus's boss retirement fast approaching 'The Farmer' has put him on a team linked to the new parliament building. Despite Rebus's opinion this is purely to make sure he causes no waves in the run up to his retirement, the move backfires when a body is discovered in the grounds of the new building, Rebus suddenly has a live case to be working on. Soon a prominent politician is found murdered outside the building and Rebus starts to ask questions as to if and how the two are possibly connected.
Meanwhile Siobhan is now free from her stint on the sex crimes squad and back on Rebus's team. Despite this she like her mentor is unable to let things go. We find her going to singles night in the city with one of the victims desperately trying to catch the two men that attacked her and a number of other women in the city. With this case going nowhere she is also the first officer on the scene at the suicide of a homeless man who has jumped off a bridge. Despite her bosses telling her to move on Siobhan is determined to discover more about the man, and when she discovers he had £400,000 in a bank account her resolve becomes stronger. Who was this man, what was his real name and why was he living rough despite his apparent riches.
I found this book slightly disappointing. The main Rebus story was simply too big and complex to be enjoyable. Too many characters, too many suspects and it is dealt with too quickly in my opinion. Even the rape investigation that Siobhan is dealing with is almost forgotten about at times and seems too rushed. I would say this, the eleventh Rebus, is the first time i have ever had to flick backwoods to recap exactly what was going on.
Despite this there are some wonderful moments. The entire Cafferty and Rebus section is wonderfully written and extremely enjoyable. Indeed every time the two of them are on the same page sparks fly. Rebus and Siobhan also work wonderfully well together as usual. Their relationship is evolving and Rankin does a fantastic job of keeping this moving without getting in the way of the plot.
As a fan of the series i would recommend this book to fans of Rebus however if it is a one of read you are looking for there are far stronger candidates than this in the Rebus series. Slightly disappointing.