Interesting mix of work from very different writers who somehow still 'gel' together nicely in this compilation from the Pankhearst collective. WouldInteresting mix of work from very different writers who somehow still 'gel' together nicely in this compilation from the Pankhearst collective. Would certainly keep a reader awake on a plane journey. ...more
Rebus is well & truly feeling old in this one - scarily he is around my age and the book opens with the funeral of his younger brother Michael whoRebus is well & truly feeling old in this one - scarily he is around my age and the book opens with the funeral of his younger brother Michael who has died of a stroke. The beginning has echoes back to the very first Rebus book Knots & Crosses which started with a graveyard scene as Rebus visited his father's burial place five years after losing him.
The backdrop to the action is the G8 Summit in Edinburgh in 2005 and includes some fun moments tying fictional Rebus in with real life events which had a slightly surreal Doctor Who flavour for me.
I enjoyed the convoluted threads of this novel and the exploration of the different ways time and aging treated various regular characters.
Ian Rankin has a clear eye for the human condition and unlike many authors of his genre seems to understand women very well. It is a treat to read about well rounded (in more ways than one) female characters. Every single female from the walk-on parts to the leads rang true.
Though the clues were all there I did not work out the whys and wherefores for certain until the various reveals. A rattling good read from start to finish with plenty of smirks along the way. I started this at four in the morning and finished it at half-past three in the afternoon with time off to watch a film and do some chores etc Not quite un-put-downable but good enough to keep me coming back to read some more when really I should have been doing other things....more
This book is so much fun. I love its lighthearted tongue-in-cheek flavour and found it amazing how it hardly seemed dated at all considering it was wrThis book is so much fun. I love its lighthearted tongue-in-cheek flavour and found it amazing how it hardly seemed dated at all considering it was written SEVENTY THREE years ago!!! The bald witch woman reminded me of the Rex Harrison delivery of the Henry Higgins' line in My Fair Lady "She's so deliciously low, so horribly dirty!" I could almost hear Margery Allingham chuckling as I read each plot twist and character or place description. This has it all. Mysterious government involvement, mystical/religious/supernatural overtones, beautiful maiden, noble hero, wise old man, vicious hateful female, scary witch, village idiot etc etc you name it, it turns up somewhere. Absolute bliss....more
Didn't enjoy this one. It's okay and compared with some other anthologies by other writers it is fairly good. But it isn't as much fun to read as A GoDidn't enjoy this one. It's okay and compared with some other anthologies by other writers it is fairly good. But it isn't as much fun to read as A Good Hanging the other short story collection from Ian Rankin. However as a 'completist' I needed to have this book to put in my collection and I don't regret the purchase. I wouldn't recommend this as a starting point to get into Rankin's writing. There's nothing wrong with it but it doesn't fizz and sparkle like his other works. There are of course moments where it almost does. But this one didn't grab me....more
Enjoyed the way the characters developed in this book. Interesting to meet some of Rebus' extended family. A good solid reliably entertaining read. ClEnjoyed the way the characters developed in this book. Interesting to meet some of Rebus' extended family. A good solid reliably entertaining read. Classic Ian Rankin. ...more
This is a collection of short stories. I tried to be good and only read one a night to make the book last longer. But I have no willpower where Ian RaThis is a collection of short stories. I tried to be good and only read one a night to make the book last longer. But I have no willpower where Ian Rankin's writing is concerned. I read the whole book over two nights.
These stories have a touch of the Tales of the Unexpected about them. Obviously they are slightly limited by their length but I enjoyed them all enormously.
I wonder if I'm going to find a Rebus book I don't enjoy. Well this wasn't the one. Lots of fun and maybe a touch more humour showing through.
This is a LONG book compared with the first seven in the series. But it didn't feel longer as I was reading it. As usual I was sorry when it came to tThis is a LONG book compared with the first seven in the series. But it didn't feel longer as I was reading it. As usual I was sorry when it came to the end. The good story arc, lack of plot holes (that I can spot anyway) and the generally all round great writing have come to be something I now take for granted in Ian Rankin's Rebus series. I started reading them in order not so very long ago and eight books down the line I have not been disappointed in any way. Which is quite an achievement.
What I enjoy about these books is that I learn new things each time I read one of them. Ian Rankin does his research and writes about places and people he understands. So every time I open one of his Rebus novels I get taken on a virtual journey, to places I have not previously visited and into microcosms of communities with which I have no previous experience. I suppose it is possible it is all made up and I am simply swallowing it all because I don't know any better, but I think it is probably fairly accurate and close to the reality.
In fact reality is the word that describes the atmosphere of Rebus novels and particularly Black & Blue. When I close the pages it is as if reality is being held in stasis within them, waiting for me to choose to open them again and return to the gritty, complex and urgent actualities of John Rebus and his life.
(I just went to see how many I have left to read in this series and discovered there is a short story collection called So that was serendipitous indeed! That's my next reading treat coming up.)
I read this straight through in three hours. Enjoyed it, didn't guess the identity of the Wolfman and found the novelty of Rebus in London very entertI read this straight through in three hours. Enjoyed it, didn't guess the identity of the Wolfman and found the novelty of Rebus in London very entertaining. So happy to find the third book as good as the second which was as great as the first. Happily looking forward to the next books in the series and SO thankful I never watched these on tv so that it is all fresh as a daisy each time I open a new book....more
I go into a Minette Walters novel with expectations set high. So when I place this on my disappointments shelf it is in relation to what I expected frI go into a Minette Walters novel with expectations set high. So when I place this on my disappointments shelf it is in relation to what I expected from a Minette Walters novel. Compared with some other crime novelists this is still a great read. But for me it was a bit Midsomer Murderish. If I hadn't liked the female protagonist so much I might have given up on the story. As it was I stuck with it and it was a fairly easy read. It just didn't have the wow factor I was craving....more
This is a very long book. It felt like a very long book as I read it. It is unarguably well written and has 'classic' stamped all through it. But someThis is a very long book. It felt like a very long book as I read it. It is unarguably well written and has 'classic' stamped all through it. But something didn't quite hit the sweet spot for me. All the right ingredients, good characters, interesting story, well drawn place and time, words doing their best to tell it all. But still, a bit like a very long four or five course meal after which you feel stuffed full but it didn't satisfy you and so you kept on eating until the very end hoping it would fill you up. But it doesn't....more
I spotted this book mentioned in Linda La Plante's bio as having been written by her husband. I read this many, many years ago and elements of the storI spotted this book mentioned in Linda La Plante's bio as having been written by her husband. I read this many, many years ago and elements of the story have stayed with me for over twenty years. I must get hold of it again to see if it still lives up to what I remember about it. As I remember it had a great feel of place and time and I remember liking the main protagonist and being very interested in his background and how he identified with the killer. I recall it being extremely gory but I can skim over stuff like that if the writing is good enough to keep me interested in the people and the story so that wasn't a huge problem....more
Oh dear. Perhaps it is because I have just read two extremely well written books in this genre that this one seems so clunky and awkward? I simply canOh dear. Perhaps it is because I have just read two extremely well written books in this genre that this one seems so clunky and awkward? I simply cannot force myself through it. I am on page 54 and already I want to hurl it across the room in irritation.
I have just finished reading The Distant Echo by Val McDermid and Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin. This is no coincidence as I was shopping at the Range and they were selling crime novels at two for fiver and these are three of a set of four my mum and I purchased together.
I can't remember what the fourth one is because my mum is reading it at the moment but I hope it is better than Blind Fury.
I think the story will be fine for people who don't mind dialogue that sounds as if somebody wrote it as a 'serving suggestion' for actors to later add their own characterisation, accents and personality and maybe even change the words a bit to make them sound more believable. But for me it makes painful reading.
The female detective has gone to a prison - she is an experienced officer and yet every step needs to be explained to her as if she has never even watched a police drama on tv. When she gets there she is then told in huge detail all about the set up at the prison and then told that as she is an attractive woman they want to protect her safety!!! This all delivered in a language that would not be out of place coming from a Victorian governess rather than a prison governor/officer. In contrast McDermid and Rankin (and Knots and Crosses was his first novel) give their characters dialogue that can be read and each character identified from how they say things and what they say. In Blind Fury everybody speaks with the same 'voice' except for a Dick Van Dyke type caricature of a 'bird on the game' who lurches between various stereotypical speech patterns such as one minute saying 'nothin' and then later 'nothing' and so on and so forth. Which is fine in a script because you can let the actor catch that type of thing as they overlay it with their interpretation but for me as I'm reading it - aarghh!!
Oh well. That's just me. This is a bestseller and Lynda La Plante isn't going to be suffering from my personal dislike of her style any time soon. My mum didn't like it either although she read it to the end because she tends to finish things once she's started and is in her 80s and is retired. I have a busier lifestyle and I am more impatient so I won't be doing so. I am not interested in the characters and couldn't care less whodunnit....more
A very quick read being quite short and to the point. Interesting because it is Ian Rankin's first novel and my edition has an introduction from the aA very quick read being quite short and to the point. Interesting because it is Ian Rankin's first novel and my edition has an introduction from the author himself telling the story of how the novel came to existence. I have a great deal of awe for crime writers. Being a perfectionist myself I quail at the research required to get the procedural details correct and I am eternally grateful for those who manage it so superbly. If they didn't I wouldn't have such a great selection of novels to choose from.
This novel starts properly in a graveyard as does the other novel I read immediately after this one - Val McDermid's Distant Echoes - but there the similarities mainly end (apart from the Scottish connection of course) as this is a gritty pavement pounding novel with the policeman centre stage.
I was also reminded of Terry Pratchett's Sam Vimes comedy novel Night Watch. Vimes and Rebus seem to be what I think of as 'real policemen' - flawed, selfless and trying to be the best they can despite the inner beast they recognise in themselves. Also in the same way Ankh-Morpork stands as a character in its own right so Edinburgh holds one's attention throughout this novel. I look forward to reading more Rebus instead of simply watching him on the iPlayer when he pops up....more
I enjoyed this novel. Read it quickly and easily. The plot flowed, I liked the characters who rang true and being the same age as I am I recognised thI enjoyed this novel. Read it quickly and easily. The plot flowed, I liked the characters who rang true and being the same age as I am I recognised the era described in the backstory as accurately drawn. I read it hot on the heels of another Scottish crime thriller writer's novel - Ian Rankin's Knots & Crosses. So by the time I'd finished The Distant Echo my mind's voice (which for some reason is usually an educated middle class RP male voice - odd because I'm a female) had transformed into a rather higher version of Lorraine Kelly's - I'm relieved to say things have settled back mostly now apart from an urge to say murrderr like Taggart. So if you are prepared for the possible Scottish side-effects - I'd give this one a go. It's well worth the time spent....more