Ian Rankin (4 stars)

The Naming of the Dead (Orion)



Truculent DI Rebus is as familiar as an old pair of slippers these days, not least because of Ken Stott’s excellent recent portrayal on television. This latest escapade around Ian Rankin’s schizophrenic Edinburgh (the 17th Rebus book) shows that, far from running out of ideas, the author is firing on all cylinders. Setting events around last year’s G8 summit and protests is a neat idea, imbuing the usual dead bodies and mystery with plenty of intriguing resonances.

The character development of Rebus’ sidekick DS Siobhan Clarke continues nicely as Rebus approaches retirement, and they’re now something of a consummate black comedy double act. Rankin has learned a thing or two about dramatic tension over the years, and he handles the complex plot - involving an MP’s apparent suicide, a serial killer of sex offenders, corrupt government, arms dealers and police - with real skill and pinpoint accuracy. If only all crime fiction was this accomplished.


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