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Saints of the Shadow Bible

(Inspector Rebus #19)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  10,253 ratings  ·  1,019 reviews
Rebus and Malcolm Fox go head-to-head when a 30-year-old murder investigation resurfaces, forcing Rebus to confront crimes of the past

Rebus is back on the force, albeit with a demotion and a chip on his shoulder. He is investigating a car accident when news arrives that a case from 30 years ago is being reopened. Rebus's team from those days is suspected of helping a
Hardcover, 389 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2013)
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John Hilson Absolutely. Although Rebus is essentially unreconstructed, a degree of pragmatism helps him navigate the current realities of policing in Scotland.…moreAbsolutely. Although Rebus is essentially unreconstructed, a degree of pragmatism helps him navigate the current realities of policing in Scotland. (less)

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Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,253 ratings  ·  1,019 reviews

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Start your review of Saints of the Shadow Bible (Inspector Rebus, #19)
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5000-2019
I find I am enjoying the later Rebus novels even more than I did the early ones. I think John Rebus has improved with age and he has managed to find a way to meld his old fashioned ways with the new views on policing.

Of course he still rankles at being supervised by people he does not consider worthy of their roles, and he still circumvents procedure whenever he can. However he does solve crimes and it is watching him at work which makes these novels so readable.

I really enjoy Rebus's
Manuel Antão
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

What's a "rebus"? The first time I came across the term was in a Stieg Larsson's novel, where he used it as a possible explanation for a mathematical equation.

Allow me: "Saints of the Shadow Bible" is not exactly "GR + 8" (an example of a rebus...), but it comes pretty close.

James Thane
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Scottish detective John Rebus returns for the nineteenth time in this gripping tale in which both the character and the story are as fresh and entertaining as they were in the first Rebus novel, Knots and Crosses, which was published in 1987.

Rebus is considerably older by now, but just as cantankerous and just as grimly determined to pursue his own path to justice irrespective of what his superiors might think. A few years ago, Rebus reached mandatory retirement age and had to leave the force,
Andrew Smith
May 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When Rebus returned following retirement, in Standing in Another Man’s Grave, I was pleased to see him back but a little disappointed with the result. This time around, now demoted to sergeant but no longer working cold cases, it’s much more like the rough-hewn Rebus of old. I loved it!

It’s complex and dual plotted as Rebus probes a routine but slightly dodgy road accident and Malcolm Fox (Rankin’s Internal Affairs investigator followed in a separate series) examines a 30 year old case in which
Lewis Weinstein
Nov 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Rebus is back, as flawed and wonderful as ever. Multiple plots emerge, multiple officers seek solutions, and Rebus belligerently disobeys orders and winds his way through the morass to develop new leads and confront suspects, including police with whom he worked three decades before.

Serious questions are raised over police tactics that take the law into their own hands. The reader is left to decide when, if ever, such approaches are justified.

Underlying the action are pointed and sometimes
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it

In this 19th book in the 'Inspector Rebus' series, Rebus investigates a suspicious car accident and comes under investigation for 'police misconduct' that occurred three decades ago. The book can be read as a standalone, but familiarity with the characters is a bonus.


John Rebus, previously retired, is back working for the CID in Scotland. Having accepted a demotion Rebus is now supervised by his previous mentee Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke. They're investigating a car accident in
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review to come
Mal Warwick
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Let us count the ways that Ian Rankin’s antisocial Scottish police detective, John Rebus, is worth following, book after book (Saints of the Shadow Bible is the 19th in the Rebus series):

He is delightfully contrarian, always finding openings to new perspectives in the cracks between revealed facts, and thus he frequently surprises.
His dialogue with his longtime partner (now his superior), Siobhan (“Shiv”) Clarke, is so palpably believable that you can picture yourself in the room hearing their
Rankin neatly dovetails two series (those featuring Inspector Rebus of the Edinburgh Police and Malcolm Fox of the Complaints), and in this latest novel the longtime adversaries work together to solve a cold case involving Rebus's old associates in the police force.

Rebus has come out of retirement to work on unsolved crimes but finds himself involved in a new case as well. Siobhan Clark has taken over Rebus' old role as Detective Inspector and now commands Rebus, rather than the other way
L.K. Jay
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
John Rebus is back again, again, but this time he's back on the police force and demoted down to DS, which his friend and comrade Siobhan, now a DI, likes to remind him of every so often. In jest of course.

He's really on form this time and I loved every minute of it. As ever, the plot revolves around current events that concern Scotland but with a killer plot to go with it. I liked that Rebus and Fox join forces, I wondered when that would happen and I hope that they continue to have adventures
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
“Conspiracies, connections and coincidences,” says Malcolm Fox, Rankin’s younger detective who has been brought on the scene to replace the aging Rebus and who teams up for the first time with the old curmudgeon to solve a double murder, and those three Cs become the modus operandi of this book.

The plot is rather sketchy. There are actually two plots: one dating back to the ‘80’s when a young Rebus was introduced to a secret police team, Saints of the Shadow Bible, that used unconventional
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Each of Ian Rankin's Rebus novels is a gem, but this one is the best yet. If you've never read Rebus, this is a fine place to start. If you're already a fan of the series, you're in for an extra-special treat.
Sandy Buchanan
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A classic Rebus, a return to form after the lacklustre (in my opinion) previous 'Standing in Another Man's Grave', could we be seeing a more permanent partnering of Rebus, Fox and Clarke?
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the road...note to self: We see what should be a more sedate, controlled Rebus still on probation, yet part of team headed by Siobhan, now a DI. And Rebus a DS. Right. Of course he shines, even when faced with having to deal with 30-year old mishandling of suspects by a team he was a part of, a group of men coined as saints. Rebus must find harmony, working alongside Fox of Complaints. Will he manage with these and other challenges? Well, he is our man.
Very good read if familiar with series;
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
John Rebus flirted with retirement for a while but found out it didn't suit him. He went back to the Borders and Lothian Police in a civilian capacity, working on cold cases, in Standing in Another Man's Grave but that just increased his itch to get back into the fray once again.

When the retirement rules were loosened, allowing old guys like him to continue to work, he applied to get back in harness. He was given a job, but since the police had no openings for Detective Inspectors, he had to
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Double jeopardy...

When the 'double jeopardy' law is relaxed, the Solicitor General asks Malcolm Fox to reinvestigate a case from the '80s, one involving a young DC Rebus. It had been thought at the time that the officers of Summerhall had tampered with the evidence to allow a murderer to go free - a murderer who also happened to be an informer to the head of the Summerhall team. Meantime, in the present day, Siobhan Clarke and Rebus are back working as a team. With the new rules on retirement
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the early 1980s I defended a man in the High Court. He had been charged with armed robbery and the main evidence against him was a signed confession. According to the police, he had dictated this two-page document and signed it after tripping, falling and breaking his jaw on the way in to the interview room. In those days, questions of fairness were left up to the jury and despite me asking them to disregard the 'confession' they convicted, no doubt being more interested in whether he had ...more
Alex Cantone
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, read-2018
‘Ever since I started hanging out with you, I seem to be seeing conspiracies everywhere – conspiracies, connections and coincidences...

Arts student Jessica Traynor, daughter of English businessman Owen Traynor, a man known for his temper, is found behind the wheel of her crashed car outside Edinburgh, possibly run off the road, and is taken to hospital. John Rebus, formerly with the Cold Cases unit and now back in CID as a Detective Sergeant under DI Siobhan Clarke, investigates, with evidence
Rob Twinem
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Rebus, newly returned to the force and rescued temporarily from an obscure retirement. The main condition of his reinstatement is the demotion of his rank from Detective Inspector to Detective Sergeant. He is working under the auspices of Siobhan Clarke who ironically is now promoted to DI, of no real concern to Rebus as he is just pleased to have been returned to his old hunting ground.

Rebus and Clarke arrive at the scene of an accident; a VW Golf travelling at speed suddenly leaves the
Aunty Janet
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More Rebus from Ian Rankin... I've read and enjoyed them all.
''When a young woman is found unconscious at the wheel of her car, evidence at the scene suggests this was no ordinary crash. Especially when it turns out her boyfriend is the son of the Scottish Justice Minister and neither of them is willing to talk to the police.
Meanwhile, John Rebus is back on the force, albeit with a big demotion and an even larger chip on his shoulder. A new law has been passed allowing the Scottish police to
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Usually I really enjoy Rankin's very Scottish style and this is really no exception. The bloodimindedness, the snarky sense of humor, the tenacious hold the job has on the characters, the convoluted mysteries and clues - everything written to hold the reader including the familiarity of the characters. And I did enjoy it. Just not as much as usual. Rebus needs to mature just a bit and learn to look in all directions before he crosses the line. I do enjoy his former underling now outranking him. ...more
Mar 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
This cigarette smoking deputy inspector is not my cup of tea. 2 of 10 stars
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ian Rankin has been writing stories about Inspector Rebus (sort of a Scottish Harry Bosch) since 1995 and about Malcolm Fox, of the complaints, Scotland's equivalent to internal affairs for just a few years. Both are major characters in this book and their relationship, somewhat predictably, evolves from nearly polite friction to one of companionable collegiality - I don't think that's a spoiler but, if it is, disregard it and wipe it from your mind as judges often instruct juries.

Rebus and Fox
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rebus and Clark and Fox, murder, car accident, floater, 3-4 different cases and events are they are they not connected
Nigel Bird
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The latest Rebus novel is a real treat. The tagline on the cover reads ‘Saint or Sinner?’ and we all know there’s no easy answer to that one. It’s his duality that makes the man such an interesting character. It’s that duality that allows us to excuse some of our own extremes.
For a law-enforcer who began his career in a very different climate than we have today, the contradictions of Rebus are marked. He’s to live with the things he sees and understands about human nature and, at the same time,
The law of double jepordy in England is reversed and the Solicitor General wants a case from 30 years ago, reviewed. It includes men John Rebus worked with and was from a time when police took more liberties to put criminals in jail. There had been a murder and the accused went free due to tampered evidence. This person was a source of information to one of the police officers at that time.

There are two levels to this story. In both Rebis is back on the job as a Detective Sergeant. First he
Tom Greer
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ian Rankin is still the premier exponent of "Tartan Noir" despite these days having several challengers. And Rebus is the best of Rankin.

In Saints of the Shadow Bible the tables are turned because Siobhan Clarke is now his boss although Rebus doesn't treat her as his superior... surprise, surprise. Also, Rankin has one of his less successful characters, Malcolm Fox of "the Complaints" join forces with Rebus, and as Fox is about to rejoin CID I can see this pairing becoming Rankin's norm, for a
Rebus is back but demoted to Inspector Sergeant. He was required to retire due to age and when he came back, he couldn't return at his old rank. Little happens in this novel. There is a car accident with one young woman found injured at the scene of the accident. But Rebus isn't satisfied it's as simple as that. Well, why not? In the end when he finds out, and it is a convoluted, I didn't care. Rebus is faced with Malcolm Fox, the officer who works in the Complaints unit, investigating police ...more
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm a Rebus fan, and it was always going to be difficult for me not to enjoy this book; too difficult, as it turns out.

Things to like: Well, John Rebus. Siobhan Clark's development continues, and Malcolm Fox is on form. A good deal of humour running through the book and I liked the interplay between these three. The story itself was engaging and, as always, developed quickly.

Things not to like: Not much. It's primarily reading the Rebus series that got me hooked on books again, so the style I'm
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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

Other books in the series

Inspector Rebus (1 - 10 of 22 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)
  • Black and Blue (Inspector Rebus, #8)
  • The Hanging Garden (Inspector Rebus, #9)
  • Dead Souls (Inspector Rebus, #10)
“parked and placed the POLICE sign on the dashboard.” 0 likes
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