Tag Archives: John Rebus

BOOK REVIEW: SET IN DARKNESS by IAN RANKIN

When did I first hear about Ian Rankin. Never, it was just a recommendation by the shopkeeper to whom I usually go for my book-shopping. Maybe he was just trying to earn a little extra for he had only one copy, but I am thankful to him. I still thank him today for making me read well written crime fiction books. Yes, Mr.Rankin know what to write and how, I have read almost half of his John Rebus’ series in past one year and half, and he never gets carried away, never off the mark, the plot would always be good, his protagonist, John Rebus, always satisfying the reader and that’s what makes you a good crime fiction writer. That’s what a reader would love to read. That’s what I love to read. And not only the plot is great, it’s simple and very imaginable. Mr. Rankin knows the trick of immersing the reader steadily in the deep criminal world of Edinburgh. Set in Darkness was not only my first book of John Rebus but also my only key to enter his world.

set indarknesThe inspector Rebus’ series shows  remarkable purview of the darker side to humanity. Rebus is a dedicated Scottish policeman, streetwise, methodical and persistent. But like all those he encounters, his has demons of his own to battle: a failed marriage, loneliness, alcoholism.

The novel opens with the discovery of a body buried in Queensbury House, an old historic building being renovated to accommodate the Scottish parliament. Without any clues to the identity of the deceased, this case takes a low priority until a second murder occurs on the very same site. Roddy Grieve, a wealthy and ambitious Labour Party candidate for the legislature, is found bludgeoned to death, and Rebus is assigned to assist Derek Linford in this higher profile murder. Linford has ambitions of his own within Scottish
law enforcement; and, as you might suspect, he and Rebus are opposite ends of the compass. Tactless, pompous and the golden boy of the police department hierarchy, Linford is placed in charge of the investigation, which he is obviously too inexperienced to handle. Rebus, on the other hand, organizes an efficient team of detectives and begins a methodic search for a motive that would bind these murders together. When the apparent suicide of a homeless man with an amazingly large bank account falls in the lap of his former disciple, Siobahn Clarke, she finds herself partnered once again with Rebus.

The main ideology of the author is to show duality of the city of Edinburgh through Rebus’s character and perspective: a quiet and peaceful city during daytime, but a dark and turbulent city during night time. He clearly relates his first two novels Knots & Crosses and Hide & Seek, to Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde just to create a modernized version of the classic.

Grounded in the traditional method of skillful plotting, Mr.Rankin leads readers in several directions at once. He offers up any number of suspects and  also tosses in a series of rape cases.

As if this novel didn’t have enough twists already, a villain from a previous Rebus novel, re-enters the inspector’s life, jeopardizing the dangerous investigation. Juggling three cases, appeasing his superiors, protecting Siobahn and watching his own back make Set in Darkness electrified with suspense. With Rankin’s superb characterizations and historic backdrops, this masterful writer takes his place alongside the best in the genre of crime fiction today.

Anyone who wants to have a satisfied feeling of reading a crime fiction, I mean good crime fiction, go for it. 4/5 for me, what about you?

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