Sunday, June 06, 2010

Mortal Causes by Ian Rankin

Protagonist: Det. Insp. John Rebus
Setting: Edinburgh
Rating: 4.5

In this, the sixth novel in the Rebus series, Rankin really gets things humming along. Rankin, who has said before that he’s tried to show the Jekyll and Hyde nature of Edinburgh, gives us the touristy Edinburgh Festival – and a murder right underneath the noses of festivalgoers. Literally. A young man’s body is found in the underground St. Mary’s King Close, tortured and shot six times.

When it seems that Scottish nationalists and extreme hardline Irish groups are involved, Rebus is seconded to the elite Scottish Crime Squad, since he’s had previous army experience in Belfast. This suits Rebus just fine – he can travel between the two offices without his superiors knowing what he’s really up to. In the meantime, Rebus, as a favor to a priest, has also ventured into the Gar-B, a notorious housing project in Edinburgh. These two threads tie eventually. Also making an appearance is Rebus’ nemesis, “Big Ger” Cafferty, an effective alter ego for Rebus.

Along the way, there are a few more murders and Rebus serves as a punching bag for almost everyone – the bad guys, the good guys (a fellow police officer) and a lawyer with whom he’s unwisely flirted, even though he’s living with Dr. Patience Aitken.

A very good entry in a great series.

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