Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin

Saints of the Shadow Bible (Inspector Rebus, Book #19)
by Ian Rankin
Release Date: January 14th, 2014
2014 Little, Brown and Company
Hardcover Edition; 400 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-4091-4474-8
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Rebus is back on the force, albeit with a demotion and a chip on his shoulder. He is investigating a car accident when news arrives that a case from 30 years ago is being reopened. Rebus's team from those days is suspected of helping a murderer escape justice to further their own ends.

Malcolm Fox, in what will be his last case as an internal affairs cop, is tasked with finding out the truth. Past and present are about to collide in shocking and murderous fashion. What does Rebus have to hide? And whose side is he really on? His colleagues back then called themselves "The Saints," and swore a bond on something called the Shadow Bible. But times have changed and the crimes of the past may not stay hidden much longer -- and may also play a role in the present, as Scotland gears up for a referendum on independence.

Allegiances are being formed, enemies made, and huge questions asked. Who are the saints and who the sinners? And can the one ever become the other?

My Thougths
Saints of the Shadow Bible is the nineteenth novel in the Inspector Rebus series and it was a real treat to read.  I thought that Standing in Another Man's Grave was a bit slow, so it was with real pleasure that I read this one, as Rebus was in fine form and as interesting as ever.  Back on the force, demoted to detective sergeant, but ready to take on the baddies of his world.  And in this case, with a new law being passed allowing the Scottish police to re-prosecute old crimes, Rebus find himself in the thick of things as a thirty-year-old case, involving himself and his old colleagues, are being investigated for a crime, and suspicion of corruption and worse.

One of the things I thoroughly enjoyed in this novel was the joining of forces of Malcolm Fox and Rebus.  I wondered how long it would take before that would happen, and I was not disappointed in the results.  I saw a softer side to both Rebus and Fox, despite the fabled bloodhound nose being put to good use by Rebus, and it was interesting to see how the two of them worked together, building an element of trust despite themselves.  Sometimes it was easy to lose track of the plot, but the author is quite deft at allowing these little interludes and then pulling the reader right back into the middle of the intrigue, and the story just keeps on going.  And you can't help but admire the skill of a writer who can do that so easily.  I know it's happening, but I'm quite willing to be led along and just enjoy the banter between Fox, Rebus, and Clarke, as well as the other supporting characters that make this novel so much fun.  

Despite the lightheartedness of the banter, the concepts and the plot line were not light subjects, despite the author's lighter treatment of them.  Having the political intrigue fall onto innocent shoulders, and then blossom from there shows how easily a ticking bomb can go off in an atmosphere already waiting for a fuse to go off on a ticking time bomb.  I almost think the subject was treated too lightly, but it was done with Rankin's usual flare, and he certainly makes you think about how easily events can be set off.  He also deftly shows how the thinking in the police force is changing and I find that aspect quite interesting.  There was an episode in this novel that I find quite enlightening, and I'm sure it was especially so for Rebus (sorry folks, spoiler alert), and it was definitely a telling point for how things have changed from thirty years ago. I'm sure Rankin will go into more depth in the next novel as he has been doing so in his last few novels and the trend seems to be continuing.

Saints of the Shadow Bible should please all Rebus fans as the conflicts build wonderfully, both personally and politically, and come to an enticing conclusion.  I am already looking forward to the next book in this series as I can't wait to see what happens to Clarke, Rebus, and Fox as they try to negotiate a fledgling working relationship.



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