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Black and Blue (Inspector Rebus, #8)
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Black and Blue (Inspector Rebus #8)

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,744 Ratings  ·  284 Reviews
Bible John killed three women, and took three souvenirs. Johnny Bible killed to steal his namesake's glory. Oilman Allan Mitchelson died for his principles. And convict Lenny Spaven died just to prove a point. "Bible John" terrorized Glasgow in the sixties and seventies, murdering three women he met in a local ballroom--and he was never caught. Now a copycat is at work. Ni
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 15th 1999 by St. Martin's Dead Letter (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 13, 2015 Antonomasia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Antonomasia by: 100 Best Scottish Books
What would series crime fiction be like without the clunky crap? I've wondered more than once in the last 18 months, as I started reading more of the genre than I had since my teens.
Answer: It would be like an Ian Rankin.
For over twenty years, I'd assumed to some extent that his books must be overhyped and trashy, as a lot of thrillers are. A ten year old list of 100 best Scottish books - which included Black & Blue - at least gave me pause for thought and a vague intention to get round to
Up we go to five stars! Rankin is the master, and here's where he hits his stride.

Yesterday afternoon, I handed in an almighty-huge work project that I've been plugging away at for two months. In celebration, I took the evening to myself: bubble bath, glass of whisky, Rebus. Exactly how these things should be done. I read til the water got cold. And it was great.

This is the book where Rankin started to really get noticed, and it's also the book that reminds me how much I adore this whole genre:
Feb 22, 2015 Rob rated it really liked it
I’m going to begin my review of Ian Rankin’s masterful Black and Blue by doing something I’ve tried to refrain from doing lately: bitching about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). For the uninitiated – in other words, readers of my reviews who don’t know what I’m up to in my life off the computer – my problems with the CCSS aren’t some Glenn Beckian, “Obama’s a secret Muslim so let’s cancel AP US History” goofabout. Nope: my problems with it are manifold, very real, and based in the twenty ...more
Mar 21, 2011 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prime Rebus. This is exactly what I was looking for, and failed to get, when I read Mortal Causes. An extremely heavy, intertwined and self-inflicted case load dogs Rebus all across Scotland.
The best Rebus books offer a strong investigation - if not a mystery - and, more importantly, strong characterisation of the man himself. Rebus is the drawcard and he does not disappoint, the cover suggesting that Black & Blue is the novel that raised Rankin to the upper echelons of crime writing. Given
Chris Kostenko
Apr 16, 2016 Chris Kostenko rated it it was amazing
I am a fan of Ian Rankin, but while tooling around around on the internet following Alexander McCall Smith I came across the winners of this Scottish Book Trust site's public choice awards of the 10 best Scottish novels in the last 50 years. Rankin's Black and Blue was there, 7 I think. It was also a Gold Dagger novel of the year. Turned out to be one of Rankin's best.

Rebus is Rebus for those of you who know him, but he's on the wagon at the end of this one. In trouble, of course, but brilliant
Jan 10, 2016 J. rated it liked it
'Black and Blue' one the 1997 Gold Dagger crime writing award. Ian Rankin is juggling many plots. There is a copy cat killer stalking women who sets off reflections for Rebus, a man who works on oil rigs has died leading Rebus to oil and drug rich Aberdeen, organised crime are a feature,and an old case which was closed involving Rebus is being reopened by his bosses and a tv program.

The character of Bible John was based on a real killer in the 60's who murdered three women in Glasgow but was nev
Paul Darcy
Jan 08, 2012 Paul Darcy rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
by Ian Rankin, published in 1997.

This is the 8th Inspector Rebus novel from Ian Rankin and it’s a very good one. Rankin mixes a real life case of murder with his own twist on what may have really taken place.

We see Rebus involved in several cases simultaneously in ‘Black and Blue’, and you never know just how each will tie in to the other until quite far into it. There is the old case of Bible John (the real killings) that Rebus just happened to be a sergeant on and has a dark secret about the c
Sundarraj Kaushik
A earlier book of Inspector Rebus. I have not been reading them in the chronological order so this book takes us to an earlier era of Rebus when Gill Templar is not the boss and Siobhan has just lost her greenness in her ears.
The killing of a person in Edinburgh takes Rebus to Glasgow and Aberdeen. In Aberdeen the oil industry has boomed and is now bottoming out, but it still has a lot of money. And with money comes drugs and crime. The book is around crime in the cities of Glasgow and Aberdeen
Oct 26, 2012 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I see you now, scratching your end and saying ‘I never heard of Ian Rankin’ and scouring the library to see what speculative fiction he has written. Stop – you won’t find any. Ian Rankin is a mystery/crime thriller writer and yes I am reviewing his book here.

So my secret is out – I read books other than sci-fi and fantasy. I endorse this vice in all of you as well. Do not get locked into just one genre. Reading classics and other fiction give you new perspective on the genre we love while also b
Aug 15, 2014 Annet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reality-crime
John Rebus gets in your face... and hits you hard. With drive, determination, emotion, stubborn attitude. He is a liar and an honest person at the same time. He takes life hard, rather a bleak and lonely outlook, has trouble with relationships, love, alcohol. Always gets into trouble with his superiors. But he's loyal to his colleagues, and a straight guy. And he's a damn good detective. I'm not by definition a crime book reader, but the Rebus' books I like. Story lines and characters are always ...more
Oct 20, 2009 J rated it liked it
I picked up this novel to get some sense of Scotland, at least Edinburgh, before going there last month. I was interested in language, observations about social behavior, what is important in the varied lives of the characters, and a sense of the urban community. I was also interested in reading Rankin, as he has received a lot of praise for his writing.

I got all of that. In particular, the detective John Rebus is a complex character, an aggregate of dark and light, of good and questionable, of
Apr 11, 2009 Sandra rated it liked it
Recommends it for: mystery buffs
Shelves: mystery, fiction
I new detective for me, John Rebus. Your typical misfit, searching for justice at any cost. I think I am going to like this guy. Ian Rankin writes a multi-layered story, that can get confusing, and you need to keep a name on all the balls you are juggling as you read the book. The reviews tell us that it is not necessary to read the books in order, but each book does build on the personal world of Rebus. Seeing his marriage dissolve, and his daughter grow up, and meeting his co fighters in crime ...more
May 14, 2016 RJ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: u-k, crime-fiction
As always, one can read a book in the Rebus series in any order, on its own. Still it is best to approach these in order. Rankin once again makes the reader long for an index; names pop in briefly, to be resurrected 200 pages later. Rebus is in bad shape at the beginning of this novel; drinking heavily and under investigation by his own people. A copycat serial killer is on the loose which takes Rebus to Aberdeen and the oil industry. Rankin excels in descriptions of the oil rigs and an eerie dr ...more
Jul 25, 2015 Sandra rated it really liked it
Best Rebus so far. Rankin seems to begin to feel in a total comfort zone when writing Rebus. There are no apologies any longer. The prose slide on to the page like buttah, and I do appreciate it. Part of it could be that he's stopped trying to shock us. Perhaps he realizes we can no longer be shocked unless he wants to delve into visceral horror, and even then, I'm not sure many of us would blink. The stories aren't as much about the crime handling the man as the man handling the crime.

This one'
Jan 16, 2016 Eadie rated it really liked it
This was another great Inspector Rebus read. The characters were interesting and the plot took us from Edinburgh to Glasgow, Aberdeen, an offshore oil rig, and the Shetland Islands. All these locations contributed greatly to the atmosphere of the novel. Rankin mixes both his fictional account of "Johnny Bible" and his theories on Bible John ( a real life serial killer who is still at large) in this tale involving drug dealing, murder and gangsters in Scotland's three major cities. There are a lo ...more
Apr 28, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing
Rebus is caught in a web of mystery between two serial killers. These are all excellent, but this may be one of the best.
Ian Brydon
Feb 01, 2016 Ian Brydon rated it it was amazing
At the time of its release Ian Rankin declared that this was the finest Scottish crime novel yet published. This might seem rather a brash statement for someone normally so self-deprecating as Rankin, though perhaps he was right. Of course, it depends upon what one considers as a Scottish crime novel. There had certainly previously been some fine crime novels and stories by Scots writers (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Val McDermid are just two that leap immediately to mind), though perhaps fewer actua ...more
Simon McDonald
Jan 02, 2016 Simon McDonald rated it really liked it
The eighth of the Inspector Rebus novels, and cemented as a landmark entry in the Tartan Noir genre, Black and Blue is vintage Ian Rankin. Without question, it is one of the author’s best, and a premiere example of what the crime fiction genre can accomplish; more than a whodunit, it is a searing commentary on mid-nineties Scotland, told so palatably, so relentlessly, its themes and allusions are almost transient, but undeniably resonant. If only one Rankin novel is to survive the apocalypse, le ...more
Nov 30, 2014 Tim rated it it was amazing
This is a first-rate thriller - it is intense and fascinating, it hits the ground running and charges right into several intertwining story lines. The narrative moves with great rapidity and every scene has some significance; there is no wasted ink here. John Rebus, as unruly and prickly as ever, finds himself tackling three difficult cases simultaneously. One is the unsolved Bible John murders (which did occur in real life) and the appearance of new serial killer, Johnny Bible, who seems to be ...more
Oct 16, 2014 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another one gets away, but karma may catch up with him. Many are dead. Two serial killers this time, the original and his younger version. Rebus is on the verge of suspension again, and sweating this time as he may actually have committed the transgression of which he is accused. Lots of running back and forth to Aberdeen, and some understanding of how the whole oil industry there worked (or didn't) in it's heyday. My sympathies, of course, lay with the protesters who I thought were very well dr ...more
Chuck Slack
Aug 20, 2013 Chuck Slack rated it it was amazing
What a great book!! Ian Rankin really put the whole series together in this book. We get more insight to Rebus, what makes him tick, his singleminded ness, his charm, and his foibles. Three cases that are seemingly separate but become intertwined with every page. All I can say is that turning pages in this read is bittersweet. With every page Rankin brings you one page closer to solving the case but sadly one page closer to the end. Loved it!
Oct 19, 2014 Lauren rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-read
Inspector John Rebus is managing a few cases, harassment from television stations about a possible wrong conviction, and a personal interest in two serial killers. The cases start with a man that is impaled on a fence, tied to a chair, with a bag over his head. Did he jump or was he pushed? What circumstances caused the man to end here? The evidence takes him up north, looking at a crime boss Uncle Joe. He is known to run drug rings but no one can touch him.

While investigating this crime, Reb
Jan 25, 2014 Col rated it it was amazing
Ian Rankin's creation, Detective John Rebus is so much a wonderful depiction of the Scottish psyche for me. He's a kind of William Wallace for today in my eyes, albeit without the kilt, the saltire war paint and perhaps carrying a bit more weight than Wallace did!! And of course his books are a wonderful tourist guide to Glasgow's posh neighbour over the road - the good city of Edinburgh (although in fairness as a tourist guide it won't necessarily show you much tartan or shortbread or castles i ...more
Dr Bob
Feb 12, 2014 Dr Bob rated it really liked it
This was my first Rebus novel as I often find pure police ‘procedurals’ contrived and cliched. On the advice if a friend I didn’t start with the first Rebus book as I was told this is the one where Rankin really gets into his stride and, from what I’ve seen, it was the right choice.

I really enjoyed this multi-stranded novel that starts with the murder of a North Sea oil worker in Edinburgh but ties in a creepily rendered old and new serial killer, a miscarriage of justice and Edinburgh’s gangla
Oct 30, 2014 LookPla rated it really liked it
นิยายเรืองนีนาจะไดแรงบันดาลจากฆาตกรฉายา "ไบเบิล จอหน"
ทีทุกวันนียังหาตัวไมไดวาคือผูใดกันแน และคดีกยังคางคาอยู
เพียงแตในเรืองนีกสรางตัวตนของไบเบิล จอหนขึนมา
เรืองราวซับซอนสมชือเรือง เมือไบเบิล จอหนกตามหาตัว
ฆาตกรเลียนแบบ ทีชือ จอหนนี ไบเบิล
กตองมาลุนดูวาระหวางตำรวจกับไบเบิล จอหน ใครจะเจอตัวจอหนนี ไบเบิลไดกอนกัน
และไบเบิล จอหนเอง จะถูกตำรวจจับไดดวยหรือไม
จนตอนอานนีมี งงๆ ไปบาง วาตอนนีกำลังสืบคดีอะไรอยู
Buyck Claire
Jan 16, 2014 Buyck Claire rated it did not like it
When I started reading this award winning book of Ian Rankin, I was full of expectations. Multiple murders , different storylines intertwining with each other. I was so ready for this! This book has everything to make it a staggering thriller.

Except it never got exciting. Not even when with all these different victims and characters. I mean come on! Its al there, you just have to use it. No, instead the reader has to focus on all the non-plausible things. An addict just stops overnight? Yeah ri
This book takes Rebus all the way to Aberdeen to investigate the death of an off duty oil worker though that case soon takes a back seat to a couple of serial killer plots. Rebus is at his most obsessive and his dogged pursuit of justice was a bit wearing but overall a good solid read.
May 27, 2012 Ross rated it really liked it
The plot in this Rebus thriller is very complex. I found it best to read this book on vacation, away from my daily distractions.When I did so, I was able to follow all the twists and characters and found this to be one of the most enjoyable in the series.
Mike  Davis
Feb 19, 2011 Mike Davis rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Containing a few English/Scottish terms unfamiliar to this U.S. reader, this mystery held together quite well throughout the story. Rankin is worth another look as a mystery writer. The story was based on actual case files and fictionalized for the novel.
Oct 27, 2013 Lori rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-fiction
Excellent well-written thriller. Complex plot with lots of separate threads that somehow tie themselves together quite nicely by the end of the book. Rebus is at his imperfect but likable best in this one.
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Goodreads Librari...: 2070423247 2 15 Sep 01, 2012 10:22AM  
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AKA Jack Harvey.

Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982 and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature. His first Rebus novel was published in 1987; the Rebus books are now translated into 22 languages and are bestsellers on several continents.

Ian Rankin has been elected a
More about Ian Rankin...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Rebus (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Knots and Crosses (Inspector Rebus, #1)
  • Hide and Seek (Inspector Rebus, #2)
  • Tooth and Nail (Inspector Rebus, #3)
  • Strip Jack (Inspector Rebus, #4)
  • The Black Book (Inspector Rebus, #5)
  • Mortal Causes (Inspector Rebus, #6)
  • Let It Bleed (Inspector Rebus, #7)
  • The Hanging Garden (Inspector Rebus, #9)
  • Dead Souls (Inspector Rebus, #10)
  • Set in Darkness (Inspector Rebus, #11)

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