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The Flood by Ian Rankin
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's review
May 15, 11

bookshelves: north-atlantic, scottish-lit
Read from April 30 to May 15, 2011, read count: 1

The Flood is a simple story, simply told, with a mystery at its core that only exists (and barely at that) through omission.

Sandy is a bastard who could be the incestuous product of his Uncle and Mother, or maybe the offspring of a rape perpetrated by a family friend, or the incestuous Grandson/Son of his Mother's Father. The answer is the mystery, and it remains something of a mystery even after the last page. Rankin leaves the decision up to us.

Actually, Rankin leaves everything up to us, which is to the detriment of his story. I can't believe I am saying this since I usually love stories with few answers, but it's true. I wanted to know more about Rian and Robbie and what comes of them. I wanted to know more about George Patterson's suicide and what it would mean for those left behind. I wanted to see what Pastor Darroch's obsession with Mary, Sandy's beautiful, alienated mother, would mean for her. I wanted to understand the connection between Tom and Andy, the seemingly unrelated men who most loved Mary. I wanted to see how the beatings of Matt Duncan Sr. and Belly Martin would scar Sandy and influence his future. I didn't need it all tied up neatly, but I did need more. I needed to feel like I'd finished reading a novel rather than the skeletal notes of a talented author rushing through an idea so that he could move on to something he cared more about.

And I really needed the titular flood to be more than a series of puddles and saturated ground in Carsden. The Flood is not much of a flood, but maybe that's intentional, a perfect reflection of the shallow stories Rankin was writing.

I hope his Rebus books are better.
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