Top positive review
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Cerebral over whodunnit, psychology and soul.
on 23 November 2012
I came to this in a roundabout way via the recent TV documentary that followed Ian Rankin as he wrote 2012's bestseller: Standing in another man's grave. Ian Rankin has been writing books for over two decades. He has a huge and devoted following, his books are primarily set in Scotland, in or around Edinburgh and he sells more books in the UK than any other author. That might be any British author. After the documentary I stampeded straight over to Amazon to buy 'Standing in another man's grave', a desire quickly undone when I saw the book was more expensive on the Kindle than in hardback. So that was that. But I got talking about the documentary with a colleague who urged me to read 'The Falls' as a great example of Rankin's main protagonist: Rebus. As I'm a sucker for a recommendation and it was half the price of the book I had intended buying, I bought it.
The Falls focuses on Rebus as he waves goodbye to retiring colleagues and looks over his shoulder at a young, smart breed of detective aided by technology. When a local socialite studying at Edinburgh University goes missing it's Rebus and Siobhan who head the investigation. As they dig deeper they discover clues that link the disappearance with several others over three decades and a mysterious internet role-playing game.
The Falls was for me much more a cerebral experience over a thriller read. There was very little in the way of suspense all the way through. The premise of the missing person, the historical crimes and the internet quizmaster were mildly engaging. The Fall's was written just after the Da Vinci code mayhem and felt like a weaker or enforced use of the puzzle format. The absolute strength of the book and I suspect of Rankin's writing in general, is the ability to convey the thoughts and personalities of the detectives, giving us soul and psychology as they deliberate the case and struggle to manage their private lives. The focus is always on the job so you don't get any of the tedious soap operatics found in many books currently trying to accomplish the same.
There is something almost cathartic about The Falls I suspect will resonate more with any audience that has knocked their heads against the obstacles life places in our way. The characters are flawed and hopeful, unique and smart. It is the characters that had me transfixed through the book not the whodunnit. When I turned the last page I wanted to read other books in the series to discover their journey.
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