The fifth novel featuring Inspector John Rebus, available for the first time as an e-book and with an exclusive introduction by author Ian Rankin.
When the Central Hotel, a place of decidedly unsavory reputation, burned to the ground in a mysterious fire, the Edinburgh police were unable to disguise their delight. That is, until a body was found in the still-smoldering ashes, charred beyond all identification but with a bullet lodged in its skull. Now it's five years later and Inspector John Rebus is following any leads in a vicious off-duty ambush that has put one of his favorite junior officers into a coma.
A cheap black notebook belonging to the wounded policeman contains a cryptic allusion to the almost-forgotten blaze, but crucial pieces of the puzzle obstinately refuse to fall into place. What could young Detective Sergeant Brian Holmes have learned to render him such a threat that he must be silenced at all costs? "The past is important," Rebus hardly needs to remind himself, yet the secrets he persists in uncovering are buried in layer upon layer of sordid and evil lies.
With this latest action-packed adventure of Edinburgh's Inspector John Rebus, Rankin steps into the company of accomplished fellow British procedural writers John Harvey and Peter Turnbull. Events lead the inspector to consider the ``black comedy'' of his life. His ex-con brother arrives in town just as Rebus, blown off by his doctor ladyfriend, returns to his own pad where, surrounded by his student tenants, he has to sleep on the couch. He is similarly buffeted on the professional front: a colleague is brained at a restaurant owned by an Elvis enthusiast; a man is stabbed in a butcher shop; a convicted child molester returns to the city; the bullet that killed an unknown man five years ago was fired from a gun that Rebus has unwisely and unwittingly purchased. With the addition of missing vans, a kidnapped man left hanging upside down from a railway bridge, good beer and protection money, Rankin offers about four times as much plot here as in his earlier Strip Jack. This tale is, however, only twice as good, as Rankin tries to resolve everything at the conclusion. A loose end or two never hurt a good crime yarn. Just ask Raymond Chandler.
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Another great Rebus book!