John Rebus is just coming to terms with the changes in his life when he receives a phone call that has the potential to change everything. Contacted by his daughter, Sammy, who informs him that her husband has been missing for two days, his professional experience leads him to believe the worst. Knowing that his daughter will be the prime suspect, he heads off to the town where she lives, a town with secrets that even Rebus might think twice about uncovering. Meanwhile, back in Edinburgh, DIs Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox are embroiled in a murder investigation, one that appears to have links to Rebus’s case…
Rebus is back and although retired from the police force, he is showing no desire to leave it behind. He may be suffering from COPD and having to adjust his lifestyle to deal with it, but Rebus is still keen to get involved in cases, often to the despair of his former colleagues. With his stack of unsolved case files, I think that Ian Rankin has the material to keep the former detective going for many years to come!
It’s been a while since we encountered Rebus’s daughter, Sammy, and although he doesn’t see her as often as he thinks he should, we get to see how much he cares about her when he drops everything to be at her side when her husband disappears. Although this part of the plot brought Rebus great heartache at times, I really enjoyed the humour he brought, especially when dealing with the local police. I liked the character of DS Creasey, and hope that he can, somehow, find himself involved in a later story line. I also found the historical aspect fascinating, discovering things about wartime Scotland that I was not aware of.
The second plot, the murder of a Saudi student, was equally as interesting with, seemingly, some connections to the investigation Rebus is undertaking. Since his retirement, we have seen more time being given to DIs Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox, but Rebus still lurks in the background, providing help (or a hindrance) along the way. Perhaps the biggest shock for me, though was the discovery that Big Ger Cafferty (still my favourite character) is now the owner of a gin bar, having decided that it was more profitable than whisky! What would the Cafferty of old think about that?!
Twenty-three Rebus books in and Ian Rankin is showing no sign of losing his touch – it is clear to see why this has been top of the bestseller charts. Long may Rebus reign!
With thanks to Orion and Net Galley for my copy.