Krapp's Reviews > Let It Bleed

Let It Bleed by Ian Rankin
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M_50x66
's review
Jun 09, 09

bookshelves: police-procedural
Read in June, 2009

First of all let me state that 4 stars does not mean this book is a mediocre mystery. It's a superior one in fact. But I'll be saving my stars for the truly outstanding, the worldview-altering, the books that give you access to an altered state the way a good buzz or a good acid trip will. Let It Bleed is instead well-done escapist fiction, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Rankin's hero (hardly the right word for him) John Rebus has a good, believable streak of misanthropy, a habit of making life miserable for people. But he does so, usually, out of his own peculiar sense of morality, which is all the more believable for not being overexplained: no sermons here, just the gut-sense of right and wrong that (I hope) most people have.

Let It Bleed is one of the better books I've read in the Rebus series. It's not full of bloat like some of the later books, and the hard-boiled quality is better done than in many of the early books, where often Rebus is just unpleasant and hateful and Rankin had not yet grown into his art enough to make unpleasant and hateful still fun to read. And, maybe best of all, unlike so many writers of detective series, Rankin never turns Rebus into a saint (I mean you Laurence Sanders, James Lee Burke, et al.), though as the series progresses Rebus does mellow out somewhat, perhaps because as the books and years accumulate he ages well and believably.

If you like your mysteries hard-boiled, or are a Scottophile, like a good dose of realism (which hears means something more like cynicism and a taste for life's dark and seedy side, which seems truly well-excuted in Rebus's Edinburgh), or like the subgenre called police procedurals, then this is a book for you.
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Reading Progress

06/05/2009 page 147
51.04% "So far this is one of the better mysteries I've read in a while."

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