Another classic outing for one of the better detective series.
In fact there is a moment when Rankin transcends his genre. John Rebus goes to Alan Renshaw, the bereaved parent of one of the boys in the school shooting, who happens to be his cousin. He finds him in the loft, playing with his dead son's discarded racing car track. The two men play with the kit for a while until reminiscence gives way to anger. This scene provides one of the very best portraits of the grief of a bereaved parent that I have read.
The many bits of business possible for a character with heavily bandaged hands is a master-class for novelists. Lighting a cigarette and lifting a glass to his mouth (favourite occupations for Rebus) offer original descriptions; wearing gloves elicits 'fascist' comments; Rebus needs Clarke to drive for him.
Rankin is also particularly good at providing a new twist on sayings. Many of these are too diffuse to quote but they offer an original way of viewing the character.
- "Patience: the one thing he had no time for." (C 1)
- "The woman was not cooking with a full set of saucepans." (C 13)
- "The kettle's trailing the pot one-nil at half-time." (C 14)
Other interesting quotes:
- "Inside, the flat was musty. There was a fug which could have been bottled as eau de Bachelor." (C 3)
- "What was he watching for? Because it satisfied the voyeur in him? He'd always enjoyed surveillances for the same reason: glimpses into secret lives." (C 16)
A great addition to the Rebus corpus. I also recommend:
November 2018; 440 pages