Thursday, February 19, 2015
Review: STANDING IN ANOTHER MAN'S GRAVE
Reviewed by Craig Sisterson
Five years before STANDING IN ANOTHER MAN'S GRAVE, Ian Rankin rocked the crime fiction world by retiring, to howls of protest, one of the most popular characters in the history of crime writing: anarchic yet noble Detective Inspector John Rebus of the Lothian and Borders Police. Readers around the world were devastated.
Rankin had always said Rebus would age in real-time, so when the copper reached retirement age, he retired. Such was the outcry that there were even talks in the Scottish Parliament to up the police’s retirement age, so Rebus could return to the beat.
But now Rebus is back, as part of a team of retired detectives who sift through cold cases, hoping to find something long overlooked. He's tempted by a return to CID duties, thanks to a rise in the official retirement age (mirroring real life, Rankin inspired or not). But does the police force, especially DI Malcolm Fox of Internal Affairs, want the maverick copper back?
In Rebus’s absence, Fox has become the central figure in Rankin’s tales, starring in two very good crime novels. He’s the anti-Rebus, a straight man who upholds the system rather than giving it the proverbial middle finger. Intriguing in a completely different way.
While delving into a series of seemingly unrelated disappearances dating back more than a decade, Rebus stubbornly continues to put himself, and those around him, in jeopardy.
Sparks certainly fly in STANDING IN ANOTHER MAN'S GRAVE - not just between Rankin's two series heroes, Rebus and Fox, but also Rebus and plenty of other people. Series favourites like Siobhan Clarke and Ger Cafferty feature strongly in this page-turning story that also muses on the passing of time and an ever-changing world. The world is shifting, will Rebus too?
A cracking crime novel that demonstrates Rankin is still very much at the top of his game.