Detective John Rebus: His city is being terrorized by a baffling series of murders...and he's tied to a maniac by an invisible knot of blood. Once John Rebus served in Britain's elite SAS. Now he's an Edinburgh cop who hides from his memories, misses promotions and ignores a series of crank letters. But as the ghoulish killings mount and the tabloid headlines scream, Rebus cannot stop the feverish shrieks from within his own mind. Because he isn't just one cop trying to catch a killer, he's the man who's got all the pieces to the puzzle...
Based in Edinburgh I found that I could visualize a great detail a lot of the scenes mentioned throughout the book including The Meadows and the ever busy Princes Street.
The majority of the book was not about the crime but about the characters and who they were, particularly about Rebus's character development. Being an ex-army man I have heard of many who find it hard to adjust into normal life after leaving for what ever reason and Rankin managed to capture that very well. Rankin has a way of making his characters feel very real, however this is done in a very different way to Christie's methods as I mentioned in my previous post. Unlike Christie, Rankin's characters have a sense of pain and realism that can't be presented in Christie's "Cozy Mysteries", you feel their pain and fear, their confusion and delight at every point in the book. Whether it be Rebus's resentment of Rhona or his love for Samantha you can feel it and it feels raw. Although every moment was vital to the story their really wasn't too much about the actual crimes committed, just paragraphs and mentions and yet the murders I believe have an impact on the reader, maybe because in the midst of all the character development throughout the book, there is death and lose and that can be a shock to the system.
The clues presented by the killer were smart, as well as mind boggling. Although I must admit I did guess who did it before Gill or Micky or even Rebus knew however it was thrilling to see them get to it and pursue the killer.
My favourite part of this book would have to be Part 4 - The Cross, chapter 22.
Side Note: I enjoyed the book being split up into 5 separate parts, each with a theme in itself. The understanding of the characters, the development of the crime, more clues, the last piece the suddenly makes everything fit together and the PURSUIT.
Back to my favourite part, this gave the characters as much a the reader a much deeper understanding of the reasons for the crimes being committed, as well as showing us a side of Rebus that we hadn't previously seen. Altogether this was a very impactful chapter and although it certainly didn't bring me to tears it was heart wrenching in a very emotional way.
For the first 100 pages I could not put this book down, and only did when I felt my eyes drooping (I had started to read it quite late.)
I was recommended this by someone and will recommend it to anyone who will listen.
Book First Published 1987