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Rankin, Ian - 'Saints of the Shadow Bible'
Hardback: 336 pages (Nov. 2013) Publisher: Orion ISBN: 1409144747

SAINTS OF THE SHADOW BIBLE is the latest John Rebus novel by Ian Rankin.

John Rebus is back on the force, older but not wiser - demoted back to his 1987 rank so he could return and Siobhan Clarke, his former protégé, is now his boss.

Rebus and Clarke investigate a suspicious car crash where a young woman was found unconscious at the wheel of her car with all the evidence at the scene suggesting this was no ordinary crash - their suspicions are heightened when neither her or her boyfriend are willing to talk to the police and they find out that her boyfriend is the son of the Scottish Justice Minister.

Rebus is also sparring with Malcolm Fox from the Complaints and Conduct Department over an old murder - thirty years ago, Billy Saunders was tried for beating a man to death, with the case collapsing because of the actions of Rebus's former colleagues in Summerhall CID. Saunders was an informant and Fox believes that despite his being guilty of murder they decided he was more use on the street than in prison.

Now with changes to the double jeopardy law in Scotland in 2011 the Solicitor General wants the case reopened which means that the former Summerhall police officers are up for investigation. They were a close-knit gang who called themselves the Saints of the Shadow Bible and were initiating a young Rebus into their ranks at the time of the Saunders murder case.

This is a nicely detailed police procedural with finely observed characters and a well described gritty underworld that they inhabit. Rebus is back in his old world albeit even more of a fish out of water due to his return not as the chief on paper and in fact but just to acting like the chief.

A slight change here is that we spend more time trying to understand how Rebus's brain works and how the Rebus of today is a creation of his past.

Rebus is now truly back and we wait to see what Ian Rankin decides to do next.

Mark Bailey, Northern Ireland
March 2014

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 9/03/2014 09:17