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Exit Music

(Inspector Rebus #17)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  15,302 ratings  ·  726 reviews
It's late autumn in Edinburgh and late autumn in the career of Detective Inspector John Rebus. As he tries to tie up some loose ends before retirement, a murder case intrudes. A dissident Russian poet has been found dead in what looks like a mugging gone wrong. By apparent coincidence, a high-level delegation of Russian businessmen is in town - and everyone is determined t ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published 2008 by Orion (first published September 6th 2007)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  15,302 ratings  ·  726 reviews

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Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written as though it was possibly the last in a long and excellent series. Now of course we know it was far from the final book about Rebus, thank goodness!

I love Inspector Rebus. He takes no nonsense from anyone, largely prefers to work on his own, or at least with just DS Clarke, and by the age of sixty is growing increasingly cranky with life and everything. He is also very smart and sees connections between events long before anyone else does.

In Exit Music Rebus is working his final week bef
James Thane
Jul 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the seventeenth and allegedly last book in Ian Rankin's excellent series featuring Edinburgh Inspector John Rebus. Rebus was already nearly sixty years old before his creator was stunned to discover that sixty was the mandatory retirement age for detectives in Scotland. Accordingly, this book finds Rebus in the autumn of the year and of his career as well.

Rebus has ten days do go when Alexander Todorov, a Russian poet, is brutally murdered after a reading. To all appearances Todorov was
Sep 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone.
I had extremely high expectations prior to reading this book. After all, this is the culmination of a long and amazing series. Perhaps, I would say, the best series of crime novels since Chandler. Maybe even better. This was the last one. DI John Rebus's last days before retirement.

It was with a mix of dread and hope, that I picked it up and started reading. I wanted things to end well for Rebus, but I knew it wasn't going to be all rosy and happy either. It just wouldn't be Rebus, if that had b
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a proper ending to the Rebus saga. Rebus investigates the murder of a dissident Russian poet whose body is found by a car park. There are some Russian businessmen on a business trip in Rebus neck of the wood.

He is almost there... ten days to the end of his watch. Can he solve the murder and leave the force in peace and give Siobhan the promotion she needs.

Rankin gets more political in this novel and showcases the various political parties and ideas in the Scottish parliament.

After a Hiat
Exit Music by Ian Rankin.

I was more than sad to learn that this entry may be Rebus' last. Personally, I don't accept that or believe it for a minute! It seems since I first discovered Rebus I haven't been able to stop reading this series. My latest reviews in my Scottish groups and other mystery groups has me almost feeling a need to apologize for submitting one review after another all Rebus. It's actually not since Morse that I've become so attached to an Inspector and a series. His scotch, th
Mar 27, 2020 rated it liked it
A four-star final quarter brought this book to three stars for me.

This is my second read in the series but the 17th published. I happened to start at 13 and hopscotch up to here. Rankin doesn’t write to bring new readers on board informationally or emotionally, so it’s apparently a series to be read in order.

He starts his books at a trot and keeps them rolling, but without feeling I know these people or the background for their choices or situations, I feel like I’m slogging through a busy cro
Pris robichaud
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing

As We Say Goodbye, Let Me Wish You Grace and Danger, November 18, 2007

"I never knew the road that carried me along
Crazy sidewalk, concealed by pretty song
You want my life from me
I'll give you two
You'll be no strife for me
As we say goodbye
Let me wish you as you fly.

Grace and danger
Sweet grace
No danger
Sweet grace
No danger
Grace and danger."
John Martyn

John Rebus hooked me into his life with his love of music and his style, and that is how he ends his career, style with 'Exit Music'-ho
Jon Mountjoy
Apr 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Okay, I've read all of the Rebus series. I suspect this is the final book, given the title. I don't often read the genre, but I've grown to love the warty, very human Rebus. He fights the world, and himself. I suppose I started reading these books because Rebus is set in Edinburgh, where I live. It adds a wonderful dimension when the story takes place in streets and pubs that you know (and I've just learned about a bodysnatching lookout tower from the book). So, you'll enjoy this book if you've ...more
May 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Anyone who follows my book reviews is probably already aware that I am a big fan of Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus series. Mysteries are my favorite genre and the Rebus series is really one of the best, in my opinion. Rankin can always be counted on to give us believable characters and situations and always there is in the background the wonderfully funky and historic city of Edinburgh, a smallish town in a smallish country where everybody and everything seems intertwined. And always in the middle ...more
Nov 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Rebus has personality and onus. He just holds it. And this book occurs just prior to his scheduled retirement. It had a good plot and interesting balance to the Russian poet's murder. I've only read a few of these. It is the Scottish location police department hierarchy and peer pub snark factor that nearly always puts me off with these Rebus books, coupled with a bit of overload word verbosity. It did this time too, which knocks off an entire star.

I bet he comes back as an unauthorized consult
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This audio CD version of Exit Music is superbly narrated by James Macpherson who brings the characters to life.

The story itself is also absolutely brilliant. The streets of Edinburgh have never seemed so alive as they do from the pen of Ian Rankin. The characters are well thought out and interact well with each other throughout the story. The reader becomes totally immersed in the action from the outset.

I heartily recommend this book and audio cd to everyone who enjoys a good crime story
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have not read the Rebus series in order so I suspect that people who have would like this one even more than I did. An excellent police procedural (though with not a lot of procedure as Rebus isn't a rule-following kind of guy!) and I love the way Rebus (& Rankin) describes Edinburgh. ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-reads
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
Before I get into this, last week my son was playing some EASports game -- FIFA something, I think. Anyway, I notice that he's playing Hiberian, and my first thought is, "Hey, that's Siobhan's team." That's a sign that I'm probably reading too many Rebus novels, right? Anyway, on with this post...

“No sign of any abandoned cars in the multistory?”

“Good point, Shiv, I’ll have someone check. Talk to you later.” The phone went dead, and she ma
Kathy Davie
Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Seventeenth in the Inspector Rebus detective mystery series set in Edinburgh, Scotland.

My Take
Please. Please, don't let Rebus retire…I want to read more about him! He's too interesting a character to sit back in an armchair with his music and Scotch.

Rebus reminds me of Inspector Morse in that he's a bit cantankerous, "knows-all" (usually true!), and he has an eye for the ladies — besides the drink and the music! As for other characters, there's really only Siobhan Clarke who has been stuck with
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is it. Rebus is over. For the first time, anyway. Rankin famously was not a fan of the TV versions of his work, and retired Rebus until the option expired. That's how we ended up with two standalone Malcolm Fox novels before Rebus shows back up to cause a ruckus.

So now you have to read Exit Music in the knowledge that it's not the end, but was intended as a possible end. It works pretty well on that front, although it would have left a lot of people dangling over the precipice as Rankin lef
Chuck Slack
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
It is with sorrow that I read another in this great series as with each passing book I get closer to the end. To say this series has been a joy is an understatement. Rankin, through his wonderful character, Rebus, has introduced me to Edinburgh. So much so that my family and I, my wife is a huge fan of the series as well, travelled to Edinburgh for holidays. Seeing Waverley Station, Princes Street, the Oxford Bar, and all of Rebus' haunts was a lot of fun. Reading this book was too. A great read ...more
Feb 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
Unfortunately, this story lacked interest over a pace too slow for my liking. I could not finish this novel because I kept falling asleep.
John Machata
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
John Rebus' Exit Music is wonderfully done police procedural with wheels within wheels. ...more
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Brilliant! Just the book to read before heading to RebusFest this weekend :D Love the message of 'Less than meets the eye' and the beautifully wound up story involving such an interesting range of characters. Rebus is a class act. My first read of this and I'm actually glad to come to it after knowing that the characters will go on... ...more
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was originally supposed to be the final Rebus book; I'm glad it wasn't. The ending was satisfying, yes, but inconclusive. I think I'm going to end my Rebus reread here. ...more
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-fiction
"That was that, then. End of the line, end of the job. These past weeks, he'd been trying so hard not to think about it - throwing himself into other work, any work. For three decades now this job of his had sustained him, and all it had cost him was his marriage and a slew of friendships and shattered relationships. No way he was ever going to feel like a civilian again; too late for that; too late for him to change. He would become invisible to the world..." And so it ends. Exit Music marks DI ...more
Shirley Schwartz
Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is the one. This is the one where we see Rebus leaving the police force. The book covers the last ten days of Rebus and his life as a police officer. Does he leave in a quiet, laid-back manner? Not Rebus. He is actually working on two cases in these last days. One is a Russian poet who is found beaten to death in a dark alley, and the other is a British sound tech who is burned in his home. Are they murders, and are they connected? Rebus and Siobhan try to figure it out. The investigat ...more
EXIT MUSIC (Police Proc-John Rebus-Scotland-Cont) – Ex
Rankin, Ian – 18th in series
Orion, 2008, UK Hardcover- ISBN: 9780752868608

First Sentence: The girl screamed once, only the once, but it was enough.

DI John Rebus is one week from retirement. What begins as the murder of a Russian poet becomes much more complex. Does it involve the Russians meeting with Edinburgh real estate agents and bankers? How does it link with a second murder? What is the connection to Rebus’ nemeses Ger Cafferty?

When Re
Amanda Patterson
Dec 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-remember
This is Ian Rankin’s second masterpiece. The first was Black & Blue.
I have grown old with DI Rebus. I define the way I enjoy crime fiction from Ian Rankin’s, and Michael Connelly’s, writing. I read Exit Music as slowly as I could. I don’t want Rebus and his arch-enemy, Big Ger Cafferty, off my reading radar. I was not disappointed. Rankin is a fine storyteller. He and Rebus work through Edinburgh as one in this swan song. Or is it?
The crime Rebus investigates is cleverly concealed and revealed b
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction, u-k

I finally got there, last of the original 17 Inspector Rebus novels, and Exit Music is Rankin's masterpiece. Everything is here - the rich bankers, the lazy parking lot attendants, young flatmates into drugs and partying, Big Ger Cafferty and several Russians. Throughout Rankin makes Edinburgh as large a character than it has ever been before. The spooky Kings Stables Rd. where the mysterious parking garage DOES exist (Google maps and street view a constant companion), where
Nov 23, 2008 rated it liked it
What did I learn from this book? Easy. Don't come into a series on the 16th and final book. Why, you may ask? Because apparently the primary characters in the book have a long and complex history of which I was ignorant. And the author did little to bring a novice reader up to speed. I was urged to read this book by a long-time reader of Ian Rankin, who, apparently, also read them in order. Anyway, the book takes place in Scotland in 2006 as Detective Inspector John Rebus is facing imminent mand ...more
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I fell into a touch of luck with the selection of this book to read having just read A Gentleman in Moscow. I like it when I can follow a theme. The 17th Rebus book kicks off with notice that it will soon be Christmas (another apropos theme considering the date) and Rebus will soon be retiring after decades of police work. The focus of his final week of work is the investigation of a brutal murder of a Russian poet. The book can be enjoyed as stand alone. The working relationship between Rebus a ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There is a point in the career for the best crime fiction series writers that they have so much comfort with the world they have created and their characters it is like drinking a cold, smooth, milkshake made from the best homemade ice cream. And by the point Ian Rankin wrote "Exit Music" he was there. While I have some minor quibbles with the plot, the perfection of the interplay between Rebus and Siobhan makes this book special. ...more
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished
A page turner thriller as all Ian Rankin books are . Rebus was as good as ever and crimes in Edinburgh are his specialty . Rankin brings the city to life and it is great to read about places and streets seen when visiting the city
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Do u think there should be another book after Exit Music? 5 22 Oct 13, 2014 12:30PM  

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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 23 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)

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