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A Song for the Dark Times

(Inspector Rebus #23)

by
4.39  ·  Rating details ·  1,552 ratings  ·  165 reviews
"He’s gone…"
 
When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it’s not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days.
 
Rebus fears the worst – and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect.
 
He wasn’t the best father – the job always came first – but now his daughter needs him more than ever.  But is
...more
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published by Orion Fiction (first published October 1st 2020)
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Average rating 4.39  · 
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 ·  1,552 ratings  ·  165 reviews


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Paromjit
It's always a joy to read the latest in Ian Rankin's Edinburgh based now retired John Rebus series, even as his health declines, he is suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), meaning he struggles to climb the stairs to his flat, which has him and Brillo, the dog, moving to a smaller place, helped by DI Siobhan Clarke. Clarke is on a new murder investigation, run by her work colleague and lover, DCI Graham Sutherland, with a team that includes DS Tess Leighton and DC Christin ...more
Ceecee
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Following a diagnosis of COPD Rebus and Brillo the dog are moving ..... into a smaller garden flat downstairs from where he’s lived for years! DI Siobhan Clarke has a new lover, DCI Graham Sutherland. Clarke, Sutherland and DI Malcolm Fox from Major Crimes investigate the apparently motiveless murder of Saudi Salman bin Mahmoud, 23 years old, rich and killed in the unlikely venue of a carpark of a carpet warehouse. As Rebus is settling in on his first night, he gets a call from his daughter Sama ...more
Andrew Smith
Oct 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As this twenty third book in the series opens Rebus is moving house. Well strictly speaking he’s still in the same building but moving down from his upper floor flat to the ground floor. He’s suffering from COPD, a chronic disease that obstructs the flow of air to his lungs. That means no ciggies and no booze. Oh dear, this isn’t going to be quite the same John Rebus regular readers (like me) have grown to know and love. He’s retired now from his role as a senior Edinburgh detective but he stays ...more
Bill Lynas
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It may have been a while since John Rebus retired, but the aging ex-detective still finds trouble follows him whereever he goes.
Ian Rankin's Rebus novels have always been thoroughly entertaining. However, the recent entries in the series show that the author is having trouble squeezing his legendary creation into the crimes he is investigating. This latest story is more personal, so Rebus becoming involved is more natural.
I've been reading the Rebus novels for many years & it's great to see this
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Linden
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rebus is retired from the police, and is moving into a new apartment with Siobhan's help. He gets a call from his semi-estranged daughter Samantha saying her partner, Keith, is missing. He drives up to the north of Scotland, where he learns that Keith was a history buff who who been researching some Scottish WWII prisoner detention camps. Could this hobby have had fatal consequences for Keith? What is Samantha's role in his disappearance? And does this case relate in any way to the one Siobhan's ...more
Donna Hines
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
Rebus and Siobhan are at it again in this tag team (male/female) detective piece.
This time it's to investigate a murder of a 23 yo Saudi student found in a carport of a carpet warehouse all while John Rebus's health declines with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Rebus also receives a call from his daughter that her partner has gone missing near Tongue.
He would do anything for his daughter Sammy and so he is determined to assist in bringing back Keith Grant. That's until he's located at an i
...more
Rach
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Rebus is retired from the police force and adjusting to changes in his life. He gets a call from his daughter Samantha whose partner Keith has gone missing. Rebus goes to the remote part of northern Scotland to visit his daughter. Rebus gets drawn into investigation to find Keith. Meantime Siobhan Clarke, Rebus former colleague investigates the murder of a wealthy 23 year old.

An excellent read.

Rebus is a excellent protagonist . You just know he will never be able to turn the investigated
...more
Maine Colonial
It’s a shock to me to realize that I’ve been reading Ian Rankin’s books for over 30 years now. With writers like P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, and Reginald Hill gone, Ian Rankin is one of the few remaining of my favorite traditional British police procedural writers.

Rankin has allowed John Rebus to age, and he’s done it in a realistic way. Rebus used to be a heavy drinker and smoker. Now he’s cut way back on his drinking and he no longer smokes, but his old ways have caught up with him and he has CO
...more
Garrett
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rankin's cast of characters continues to age well and realistically, making the ongoing adventures of Rebus and crew still a joy to read (I had to look it up) 25 books later. Every book now, I worry could be the last, but Rankin continues to seamlessly stitch real world events and new (or in this case old) developments and the passage of time in the real world together with his established Edinburgh to make books that are satisfying and worth the time to read. In this one, Rebus has had to move ...more
Eric
Oct 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Song For The Dark Times by Ian Rankin is number twenty-three in the now-retired Inspector John Rebus series.

Rebus has received a late night telephone call from his daughter Samantha telling him her partner and father of their daughter is missing. While their relationship is still strained, Rebus, in the midst of moving down to a ground floor dwelling due to his COPD, then travels to her town to assist in locating the missing man. While doing so, local coppers make it clear to Rebus they requi
...more
Sid Nuncius
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ian Rankin has definitely still got it. After reading a couple of rather disappointing new books from long-established authors I approached this with a little trepidation, but I enjoyed it very much.

Rebus is ageing with the rest of us and is now suffering from COPD. He is, therefore having to make changes to his way of life, including giving up smoking and cutting down on the booze. He is retired, of course, but he is still his old, dogged, determined, contrary and sometimes bloody-minded self.
...more
Heather
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before I start I have a confession to make, this is my first foray in to the world of Rebus and as a Scottish book blog I am a little ashamed. I’ve always been aware of Rebus but for some reason I never got around to reading about his exploits in the Lothians, now that I’ve finished A Song for the Dark Times I know I need to get my hands on the books that came before this utter gem of a read.

Rebus has retired, hung up his badge and has settled in to cosy new flat with his dog Brillo. His visitor
...more
Daniel Shindler
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The latest entry in the Rebus saga is one of the better entries in the series. In this book, Rebus is again coping with his retirement and deteriorating health.He has moved to a new flat on ground level to accommodate his shortness of breath stemming from COPD. In the midst of his move, his daughter Samantha calls him to inform him that her partner has gone missing from their home in rural Scotland.
This call sets the narrative in motion as Rebus travels to his daughter’s aid, intent on both as
...more
Alex
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
After taking a breather in 2019, John Rebus is back for dark times indeed. In a post-Brexit-vote but pre-COVID world, is there room for a retired detective for whom everything is changing too fast? Ian Rankin returns with his most enduring character and his two sidekicks still on the force, for whom he feels varying degrees of affection, and none of them are found wanting.

Change is afoot in John Rebus’ life. After spending 22 books in his upstairs apartment, Rebus relocates to the ground floor.
...more
Sid Nuncius
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ian Rankin has definitely still got it. After reading a couple of rather disappointing new books from long-established authors I approached this with a little trepidation, but I enjoyed it very much.

Rebus is ageing with the rest of us and is now suffering from COPD. He is, therefore having to make changes to his way of life, including giving up smoking and cutting down on the booze. He is retired, of course, but he is still his old, dogged, determined, contrary and sometimes bloody-minded self.
...more
Monnie
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My only acquaintance with this author's police Inspector John Rebus character came several years ago via a short story co-written with Peter James for the "FaceOff" compilation. That was sufficient, though, for me to be very interested in reading one of the full-blown books - which I was able to do with a pre-release copy courtesy of the publisher (via NetGalley). Quite enjoyable, and I'll definitely be on the lookout for the next one.

As the story opens, a mostly retired Rebus, whose COPD has ma
...more
Maxine
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rebus is retired (sorta) and, thanks to a diagnosis of COPD, he is moving to a ground floor apartment. Siobhan Clarke is helping him move when she receives a call to investigate the murder of a Saudi student. Then Rebus receives a call from his daughter, Samantha telling him her partner, Keith, has gone missing. Despite their rather strained relationship, Rebus rushes to be with her. His reception by her is less than happy and soon, she makes it clear his presence is not needed. Still, he is con ...more
Alan Taylor
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Proof that retirement is not the end. Ian Rankin made the decision many years ago that his central character, John Rebus, would age in real time meaning that he was forced to leave the police force several novels ago, yet the subsequent books have been no less thrilling or entertaining. A SONG FOR THE DARK TIMES is no exception.

Rebus heads north having received a call from his daughter, Samantha, whose partner, Keith, has gone missing. Back in Edinburgh, Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox investigat
...more
Elaine Tomasso
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would like to thank Netgalley and Orion Publishing Group for an advance copy of A Song for the Dark Times, the twenty third novel to feature retired DI John Rebus.

John is awakened by his daughter Sammy asking for help as her partner Keith has been missing for days. He leaves immediately for the north, knowing that it may be nothing but if it is something Sammy will be the prime suspect. In the meantime Rebus’s former work partner, DI Siobhan Clarke has teamed up with DI Malcolm Fox from Seriou
...more
Michael
This is the least successful Rebus for a long time. The highlight is the superbly crafted prologue. The writing throughout is crisp and the story rattles along. The dialogue and the interplay between Rebus, Shiv and Fox are as good as ever. The real problem is the plot which peters out about three quarters in. The Brexit backdrop and the parallel with the 30s are clumsy and never really amount to much. Rankin is usually so deft at handling big themes and aligning them to the drama. The ending is ...more
C.S. Daley
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
While there is a good bit of Rebus in this book. It is as much a Clarke and Fox mystery and I loved it. I have sensed for a long time that Rankin is closing the books on Rebus and this brought us one step closer. While saddened about the prospect of losing Rebus intake great joy in knowing that Ian Rankin will almost certainly continue writing amazing crime novels. I think when the last Rebus story is written I will take great joy going back and rereading the whole series.
Jen
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is something very reassuring about delving back into the world of John Rebus and Siobhan Clarke. Whilst things on the home front may be all change, and Rebus' health certainly isn't getting better, you know that, as stubborn as he is, he won't let that get in the way of solving a good mystery. This is never more true than when the mystery involves his own family and when he gets that call from his daughter, Samantha, early on in the book, you know there is nothing that will stop him from m ...more
Susan Aldridge
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I did enjoy having a signed copy of this – although I'd have preferred a real life chat with Ian and a personalised message, as I have enjoyed at his readings for the last three launches. And, as a story, I enjoyed this more than the other 'retired Rebus' books. There are two murder plots going on here. One is of Keith, the partner of Rebus's daughter Samantha (and father of his grandchild), up on the north coast of Scotland. Keith was delving into the history of a World War II internment camp i ...more
Janet
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it's not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days. Rebus fears the worst - and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect. He wasn't the best father - the job always came first - but now his daughter needs him more than ever. But is he going as a father or a detective?
As he leaves at dawn to drive to the windswept coast - and a small town with big secrets - he wonders whethe
...more
Vickie
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can’t believe this is the first book I have read by prolific writer, Ian Rankin. It won’t be the last!
The twenty third novel featuring now retired Edinburgh police Inspector John Rebus finds him trying to help out his somewhat estranged daughter, Samantha, when her partner disappears. Meanwhile, former colleague DI Siobhan Clarke is caught up in the investigation of the murder of a wealthy Saudi student. At some point, some of the people in both cases intersect…could the cases be related? Or n
...more
Debbie
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Perfect. I stayed up into the wee hours finishing this in one sitting and then bummed out because there wasn't more. Rebus has health problems and he's getting older and I KNOW at some point he will pass on - but I am not ready for that. Until then I will enjoy some of the best mystery writing ever. I loved the shout outs to Lee Child - another author who had created the perfect character.

As usual, I now go into these new stories worried that Rankin is going to do something tragic to Brillo and
...more
Kieran McAndrew
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Rebus is getting old. Forced out of his tenement by advancing COPD, he has resigned himself to living out the rest of retirement in a ground floor flat.

When his estranged daughter calls to tell him that Keith, her partner and the father of Rebus' granddaughter, has disappeared, he treks north from Edinburgh to her home near Thurso and soon finds his old police skills are desperately needed when Samantha is arrested in connection with Keith's murder.

Rankin's wily detective has lost none of h
...more
Sally
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rebus is still going strong in spite of his copd. He’s just as tenacious as ever when solving a crime especially now with his daughter involved. It’s always a pleasure to visit with this group of detectives esp Rebus, Clarke, Fox and the dog, Brillo. I think Sammy is a pain, although she was better by the end of the book. It also looks like Cafferty may be in trouble.

The crimes were excellent, but sad Sammy’s partner, Keith, had to die. Several deaths over the years and all attributed to jealous
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Judy Odom
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Rebus I am so glad you are back in A Song for Dark Times.

Rebus having moved as faces a health set back receives a call from his daughter saying her partner is missing.

Rebus is off the north coast of Scotland ( lots of history in the story of interment camps) . The village and townsfolk are described so well you feel like you are sitting in the pub having a pint with them.

Rebus wears two hats: one as a Dad and the other as a detective. One he wears so much better than the other but he is re
...more
Kevin McMahon
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As far as I'm concerned this one was a return to form with the cantankerous and belligerent Rebus travelling north in relation to the disappearance of his daughter's partner. At the same time Siobhan and Malcolm Fox are involved in a murder investigation in Edinburgh and tentative links begin to emerge between both crimes.

I'm still not sure about the Malcolm Fox character but Siobhan is developing well.

Until next year then!
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4,423 followers
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
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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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