Go Buy The Book



An Evening with Ian Rankin

imageAs a fan of the Ian Rankin ‘Rebus’ novels for a very long time, I was incredibly excited to get the chance to be in the audience of ‘An Evening with Ian Rankin’ at Oh Me Oh My in Liverpool. The venue, the ornate former Bank of British West Africa, built in 1920, was the perfect place for an evening filled with insights, stories and laughter.

Rankin’s latest book, Rather be the Devil, sees the retired detective John Rebus, taking on the cold case of Maria Turquand, a socialite murdered in her hotel room in 1978. Meanwhile, the struggle for power in Edinburgh is alive and well with newcomer Darryl Christie taking on the old-school might of ‘Big’ Ger Cafferty. As a lot of the places that are used in Rankin’s books actually exist, it was interesting to hear how he contacted the hotel for permission to place the murder there – their response was ‘yes’ as it was a historical murder. Four weeks ago would have got an entirely different response however!

Always one for realism, Rankin felt that it was time that John’s penchant for cigarettes, alcohol and bad food came back to haunt him. Seeking advice from a doctor, a family friend, as to the sort of ailments Rebus could be suffering from, I was glad that several of the more grim conditions were discarded in favour of something more manageable! It will be interesting to see how he copes in subsequent books with his diagnosis although Ian admitted that he sometimes forgets about previous events saying that he almost forgot that Rebus had a dog when starting to write this book!

Throughout the evening, Ian was in conversation with Luca Veste, himself the author of superb books such as Then She was Gone  and Bloodstream. Both authors shared their similarities, discussing the settings of their books being in places not usually associated with the crime genre, with Veste talking about how he was turned down by numerous publishers due to the Liverpool setting. Rankin discussed how he, originally, used fictional places but how he now uses actual streets and buildings – a bonus for anyone participating in Rebus tours. He talked about the drawbacks, though, with the owner of the Oxford pub having to fit a foot rail by the bar as fans  were not happy to realise there wasn’t one, and also how a well-known coffee shop that he used in his current book has now become a restaurant!

Perhaps the funniest tale of the evening was his story about Peacock Johnson. Auctioning off the chance to appear as a character in the book A Question of Blood, the successful bidder was Johnson. On viewing his website, the author found a rather flamboyant, Hawaiian-shirted character – something seemed a bit suspicious! After a bit of detective work, Ian discovered that Peacock Johnson was none other than the alter-ego of the former bass player from Belle and Sebastian, Stuart David! Despite the subterfuge, Peacock Johnson did appear in A Question of Blood, along with his trusty sidekick, Evil Bob! Stuart David has since written a novel of his own featuring Peacock Johnson alongside another character with the familiar name of Ian Rankin!

In addition to his numerous anecdotes, we also discovered what had inspired him to become a crime writer. Revealing that he didn’t really start to read the crime genre until his early twenties, he discussed how television programmes such as Z Cars, Softly Softly and Shaft were amongst his favourites and talked about how the first name of Inspector Rebus is a nod to the private investigator  John Shaft!

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and if you ever get the chance to hear Ian Rankin speak, do go – you won’t be disappointed!




Bloodstream by Luca Veste

Luca Veste is back with Bloodstream, the third book 51ATKketKTLfeaturing the team of Detective Inspector David Murphy and Detective Sergeant Laura Rossi. Reality TV stars Chloe and Joe are found murdered in an abandoned house in Anfield, near to the stadium, and with a distinct lack of evidence, there is a race against time before the perpetrator strikes again. At the outset, the search proves futile, as the body count soon starts to mount. Coupled with the diappearance of eighteen-year-old Amy Maguire (who just might be Murphy’s daughter), it looks like busy times ahead for the Liverpool North Major Incident Team.

As in the previous novels, Dead Gone and The Dying Place, there is a strong relationship between the characters of Murphy and Rossi, and Veste manages to make them appear ‘real’, by avoiding so many of the cliches prevalent in so many books of this genre. This, alongside the very real setting of the city of Liverpool, gives the storry a gritty, edgy feel.

Veste deals with some extremely topical issues in this book, not least the subjects of cyber crime and the public’s fascination for all things celebrity. Indeed, it also serves as a cautionary tale to make sure your wifi security settings are tight!

Although not essential, it is advisable to read the previous books in the series as references are made to earlier plots and characters. You will not be disappointed! Hopefully, the fourth installment won’t be too long!

Blog at

Up ↑