Monday, April 26, 2010

The Black Book by Ian Rankin

Protagonist: John Rebus
Setting: Edinburgh
Rating: 4.6

How can you not like a book in which the first line of Chapter 1 is: "It all happened because John Rebus was in his favourite massage parlour reading the Bible."

Much happens to Rebus in this book, the least of which is a nice relaxing massage. He's thrown out by his live-in girlfriend, Dr. Patience Aitken, so he moves back into his own flat. But because he's been renting it to students, Rebus ends up on the couch. Even a small storage room is being used -- his brother, a former drug dealer, has just moved into the apartment, as well.

Professionally, one of his detectives, Brian Holmes, is beaten up badly while he's unofficially investigating a 5-year-old murder and fire at the Central Hotel. Rebus gets hold of Holmes' black book, filled with notes of the investigation, and starts to look into it himself, bringing more problems his way. Not only is Rebus dealing with the bad guys on the outside, but within his own department there are those who are out to discredit and thwart him.

This fifth book in the series also introduces Detective Constable Siobhan Clarke, an important character in the series. And Morris Gerald Cafferty, a major antagonist throughout the books, plays a big part in the book. I've liked the previous books, but with this one, the Rebus series seriously starts to ramp up.