The Hanging Gardens of Babylon... The hanging of four French villagers in World War II... The hanging of an old man in a Scottish cemetery... Seemingly random facts linked to one man...
Detective Inspector John Rebus is buried under a pile of paperwork generated by his investigations into a suspected war criminal, and his immediate supervisors are more than happy to have him tucked away in a quiet backwater for several months. However, the escalating dispute between upstart Tommy Telford and Big Ger Cafferty's gang soon gives Rebus an escape clause. Telford is known to have close ties to a man nicknamed Mr. Pink Eyes, a brutal gangster running a lucrative business bringing Chechen refugees into Britain to work as prostitutes. And when Rebus takes under his wing a distraught Bosnian call girl, it gives him a personal reason to make sure Telford takes the high road out of town. Within days, Rebus's daughter is the victim of an all-too-professional hit-and-run, and Rebus knows that there's nothing he won't do to bring down prime suspect Tommy Telford--even if it means cutting a deal with the devil.
A chilling glimpse into the darkest extremes of human cruelty, a page-turning literary thriller, The Hanging Garden, the ninth entry in Ian Rankin's award-winning series confirms his reputation as a writer of rare and lasting gifts.
This sprawling, overloaded mystery from a justly acclaimed and usually very reliable crime author is a disappointment. Through nine previous novels (Black and Blue, 1997, etc.), dogged Edinburgh copper John Rebus has been captivating company--a man willing to place career before family and known to find solace in the bottle as his personal life takes an inevitable pounding. In this latest, Rebus's woes are strictly secondary (even as his daughter Samantha lies in a coma after a hit and run) as unsuspecting Edinburgh is rapidly transformed into the crime capital of the Western world. New hoodlum Tommy Telford is taking over, running whores imported from Eastern Europe, conspiring with Japanese businessmen to buy golf courses and selling drugs from the back of an ice cream van. All this upsets Ger Rafferty, the reigning hoodlum, who's stuck in prison and friendly with Rebus. Rebus makes a deal with Ger to take Telford down. Rebus also gives shelter to a suicidal prostitute and investigates the life and times of Joseph Lintz, a retired academic and alleged Nazi war criminal. A supremely implausible piece of plotting links Lintz to Telford's crowd. The evolution of Scotland's capital city into a gangster-riddled Babylon is bold, but all the canny procedural detail that Rankin is known for is lamentably jettisoned for a train wreck of a novel that aims for cinematic epic mayhem but achieves only narrative chaos instead. Author tour.