Rebus and Malcolm Fox go head-to-head when a 30-year-old murder investigation resurfaces, forcing Rebus to confront crimes of the past.
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?
John Rebus comes out of retirement in Edgar-winner Rankin's stellar 20th novel featuring the Edinburgh cop (after 2013's Standing in Another Man's Grave). Rebus, though, must accept a demotion from detective inspector to detective sergeant not that he cares about rank. It's the case that counts, which in this entry involves "conspiracies, connections and coincidences." Malcolm Fox, the officer in charge of the Complaints department (the Scottish version of Internal Affairs), leads an investigation into whether a fast and loose group of cops in the mid-1980s known as the Saints of the Shadow Bible might have tainted a murder trial back when Rebus was a young officer. Rankin deftly ties the old case into a fresh one that begins with a seemingly routine car accident involving the daughter of a powerful businessman that soon expands to involve the suspicious death of the public face of the Scottish nationalist movement. The immense and intricate canvas includes dozens of characters, plots within plots, and multiple themes, from Scottish independence to the insidiousness of corruption, public and private. Too much may be going on at times for some readers, but distinctive characters (including Edinburgh itself) make the book memorable. "The good guys are never all good and the bad ones never all bad," says Rebus, and that certainly applies to Rebus himself, willful, determined, and droll. 8-city author tour.