Standing in another man's grave

Ian Rankin

Book - 2013

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Mystery fiction
Suspense fiction
New York : Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown and Company 2013.
Main Author
Ian Rankin (-)
First United States edition
Item Description
Originally published: London : Orion Books, 2012.
Physical Description
388 pages ; 25 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by New York Times Review

Old homicide cops never die; they just shuffle off to the cold case department. That's where Michael Connelly's maverick, Harry Bosch, found himself after his ill-considered resignation from the Los Angeles Police Department. The same spirit of insubordination periodically lands a career detective like Jussi AdlerOlsen's Carl Morck in some dead-end division like Department Q. And in the honorable tradition of the watch commander known as the Oracle in Joseph Wambaugh's Hollywood Station procedurals, every veteran seems to feel duty-bound to take one last crack at an unsolved murder before he retires. Come to think of it, every active homicide assignment involving a longtime serial killer seems to lead to the cold case files. Ian Rankin covers all these bases in STANDING IN ANOTHER MAN'S GRAVE (Reagan Arthur/ Little, Brown, $25.99). His incorruptible but moody hero, John Rebus, had second thoughts after retiring from the Edinburgh police force and has since made his way back as a civilian employee in the Serious Crime Review Unit. Rebus claims to find satisfaction working these old cases, "each one ready to take him on a trip back through time." But he doesn't come to life until the mother of a teenage girl who vanished on New Year's Eve in 1999 persuades him that her daughter's disappearance set the pattern for more recent missing persons cases, each occurring in the vicinity of the same major highway and all involving young women. Always impressive at handling plot complications, Rankin adds another twist by making Rebus redundant, forcing this ex-cop to take unorthodox action in order to muscle his way into an active investigation. As an outsider, he can ignore protocol and consort with criminals, to the point of activating hostilities between two major underworld figures. But his seditious behavior hardly endears him to the detectives working the current kidnapping, and finally goads an enemy in the complaints department into waging a vendetta to keep him from rejoining the force. ("I know a cop gone bad when I see one.") What's really at issue here isn't Rebus's maverick style but his character. Abrasive, secretive and unable to make nice with his superiors, he's not a team player - never was, never will be. At the same time, he's uncomfortably aware that he's out of step with the new age. As a sad Scottish toast goes: "Here's tae us / Wha's like us? / Gey few - / And they're a' deid." But once in a while some dinosaur like Rebus manages to rise up to show us how to get the job done. Maggie is one gorgeous girl, altogether worthy of playing a leading role in SUSPECT (Putnam, $27.95), Robert Crais's heart-tugging novel about two wounded war veterans who nudge each other back to life after suffering a traumatic loss. Maggie is a 3-year-old German shepherd whose best friend was felled by a land mine in Afghanistan. Scott James, a young officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, went to pieces when he failed to save his partner's life in a street shootout. Scott and Maggie survive their battle wounds, but they're so debilitated by posttraumatic stress that neither is fit for duty - until they partner up in the Metro K-9 Unit. Scott accepts Maggie for all the wrong reasons ("They do what you say, don't talk back, and it's only a dog") because he's desperate to return to the street so he can go after the professional killers who shot his partner. And although Maggie was bred to guard and protect, she has a lot of tough Marine training to unlearn before she can become a nonviolent cop. Although Scott is a good guy who brings high-grade skills to his detective work, it's Maggie who holds us captive, enthralled by Crais's perceptive depiction of her amazing capacities. Maggie may be "only a dog," but she's the leader of her pack. Tim Dorsey's nutty novels about a manic serial killer and his weed-smoking sidekick are fanciful, but they're not nonsensical. Accompanied by his habitually groggy friend Coleman in THE RIPTIDE ULTRA-GLIDE (Morrow, $25.99), Serge A.

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [January 20, 2013]
Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Rebus is back! Well, you didn't really think Rankin's cantankerous Edinburgh copper would stay retired, did you? Rankin has moved on since Rebus' retirement party in Exit Music (2008), beginning a new series starring another Edinburgh cop, Malcolm Fox, but Fox couldn't be more different from Rebus: a reformed drunk rather than a functioning one; a rule follower rather than a habitual rule breaker; and, most important, an internal-affairs officer rather than a detective. Oil and water, right? So who could resist the temptation to put them together in the same novel? It turns out Rebus has been spending his time since retirement as a civilian volunteer in a cold-case unit; one of those cold cases, the 15-year-old disappearance of a young woman, turns very hot when Rebus finds a connection to several more recent disappearances. His bloodhound's scent aroused, the detective is on the trail with a vengeance, crossing lines and bending rules just like in his salad days, which, naturally, brings him afoul of Fox, who abhors Rebus' nonconformity and is convinced the maverick must be dirty. (Or is he just jealous of his worst enemy's prowess as a detective?) Crime-fiction readers are trained to hate internal-affairs cops, but Rankin made us see Fox's humanity in The Complaints (2011) and The Impossible Dead (2011); now he sets the IA guy against our favorite bullheaded maverick. Ambiguity has never tasted so bittersweet. A gutsy experiment on Rankin's part and a completely successful one. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Crime-fiction fans will swarm when the news of Rebus' return spreads, and Rankin won't disappoint them.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Rankin's iconic Edinburgh copper, John Rebus, who retired in 2007's Exit Music, is now a civilian reviewing old police files in this satisfying crime thriller, which also includes Rankin's new series lead, Malcolm Fox (The Impossible Dead). Rebus butts heads with Fox, an investigator in Complaints, who loathes "old style" cops like Rebus who may have bent the rules to get results. When Nina Hazlitt shows up at Rebus's office, she tells him about her missing daughter, Sally, who disappeared on the A9 roadway in 1999. Though Rebus is initially skeptical, Hazlitt's persistence slowly pays off. Rebus starts taking seriously her theories that the subsequent disappearances of other young women along the A9 are connected, and a task force is formed, including Det. Insp. Siobhan Clarke, Rebus's protegee. The police comb through old case files, and Rebus logs many a mile in his battered Saab, driving the length of the A9 through Scotland, on the hunt for the killer. Rankin's ear for dialogue and sense of place is as keen as ever, complementing his twisted plot. Rebus fans will be pleased to find him as cantankerous as ever, smoking and drinking as if time in the policing world has stood still. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review by Library Journal Review

Some people retire gracefully. John Rebus is not some people. It turns out that after leaving the Lothian and Borders Police (in 2007's Exit Music), bad penny Rebus has returned to the fold as a civilian employee of a cold case unit. Presumably never having seen New Tricks on the telly and so being unaware of how to act properly in those circumstances, Rebus can only resort to his bag of old tricks: getting up the nose of his superiors, meeting regularly with crime kingpin "Big Ger" Cafferty, drinking more than he should, mentoring Siobhan Clarke, much to her professional detriment-and solving crimes. Armed with only a laminated guest pass and an industrial-strength dose of tartan chutzpah, Rebus, when he gets wind of a possible serial killer operating along the A9, the roadway snaking through the desolate landscape between Perth and Inverness, takes his long-running show on the road. Verdict Fans of this landmark series, now in its 25th year, will cry "Hosannah!" at Rebus's triumphal return. That the mandatory retirement age for the police force has been raised and Rebus is thinking of re-upping (if he can pass the physical) bode well for the future. As Arthur Conan Doyle might attest, it's bloody hard to keep a good detective down. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/12.]-Bob Lunn, Kansas City, MO (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Five years after his last recorded case (Exit Music, 2008), John Rebus returns, and welcome. Now a civilian trolling through cold cases for the about-to-be-dismantled Serious Crime Review Unit of the Lothian and Borders Police, retired DI John Rebus can still drink Scotland's lochs dry, leave conversations in the middle to go out for a smoke, and raise insubordination to high art. When a call comes through from Nina Hazlitt insisting that there are similarities between two recent disappearances and the unsolved case of her daughter Sally, missing since New Year's Eve 1999, Rebus hesitantly agrees that the A9 route through the Highlands, where the girls were last seen, may warrant a closer look. His decision lands him under the baleful eyes of his former ally Siobhan Clarke and her boss and brings him once more to the attention of Malcolm Fox, his nemesis in Internal Affairs, who'd be only too happy to prove Rebus guilty of something, perhaps planned during his fortnightly pub meetings with pastured criminal kingpin Big Ger Cafferty. The A9 isn't the only clue to surface. There's also a photograph the girls sent to friends over the phone on the day they went missing. Trudging back and forth between Edinburgh and several North Scotland villages, Rebus and Siobhan disconcert various police forces, sidestep voracious media types, concentrate on a wrong suspect or two, and are ordered to step down. Rebus, of course, keeps at it, finally scaring a confession out of a perp by engineering one more abduction with the help of a ruthless teenager on track to be the next Cafferty. Rankin deserves every award he's been given: an Edgar, a Gold Dagger, a Diamond Dagger. Surely there's another one waiting for Rebus' thrilling return to the fold.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.