What could be better than settling down to listen to an elegantly crafted, intricate mystery thriller fraught with tension and excitement? Set in Edinburgh, Ian Rankin's best-selling Inspector Rebus series makes its return with a dark installment that revisits the haunting unsolved murder of a young woman.
Some cases never leave you.
For John Rebus, 40 years may have passed, but the death of beautiful, promiscuous Maria Turquand still preys on his mind. She was murdered in her hotel room on the night a famous rock star and his entourage were staying there, and Maria's killer has never been found.
Meanwhile, the dark heart of Edinburgh remains up for grabs. A young pretender, Darryl Christie, may have staked his claim, but a vicious attack leaves him weakened and vulnerable, and an inquiry into a major money laundering scheme threatens his position. Has old-time crime boss Big Ger Cafferty really given up the ghost, or is he biding his time until Edinburgh is once more ripe for the picking?
In a tale of twisted power, deep-rooted corruption and bitter rivalries, Rather Be the Devil showcases Rankin and Rebus at their unstoppable best.
©2016 John Rebus Ltd (P)2016 Orion Publishing Group
A man with a child in his ears - @shutterspin.
Another few hours spent in the company of James Macpherson's silken Edinburgh tones and Ian Rankin's brilliant characters. An unsolved case from Rebus's past is skilfully interwoven with events happening in the current day to set up another quality installment in one of crime fiction's longest running series.
The delicious interactions between Rebus and yes, he's still there, Big Ger Cafferty are an absolute highlight for me. Two men with enmity boiling under the civilised veneer of their conversations. Each of them having to face up to their own mortality in their own characteristic ways.
It's not completely without its problems though. The leeway that Rankin gives the retired Rebus in his involvement with the police investigations probably does go a bit further past the realms of the believable. I'd say more so than Rankin would normally have allowed himself. If you are like me and love the old curmudgeon and his associates you'll likely let it go but if that kind of thing bothers you then warning flags will raise themselves throughout.
For the rest of us, there's just about life in this old dog yet! Though be prepared for a jolt very early on in the story . . . Rebus with a half in his hand! If you can get over that shock the violence and criminality that follows should be a breeze.
Went straight for the audio
He brings it to life & maintains the character voices brilliantly. Such a lovely accent
It's not what you'd call a moving book. What I love about Ian Rankin is that his portrayal of violence is bearable. Some writers go over the top with blood & gore to the point of making if too unpleasant! I want to be entertained & kept in suspense not made depressed by the horrors of our world - there's enough of that in the daily news. I hope there's another Rebus in you Mr R.
Rebus back on his old manor against old sparring partners. Nothing new but engaging as always. Strong, if familiar, writing and excellent performance.
Another good narration James, but a very weak story. It was like listening to a transcript of a never-ending conversation. Very little actually happens.
Loved this great read, couldn't stop listening, hmm big Ger might just be a lovable rouge, can't help but like him thanks Mr Rankin total class can't wait for the next one !?
but he's still got it. Lots of twists and turns, many evil wee rat bags. Fox and Clarke are there too. How do they manage without Rebus?
James MacPherson is his usual brilliant self with many voices (does anyone else think of Scunner Campbell when they hear Big Ger's voice?).
My husband and I both loved it. Quite a few laughs thrown in. Use a credit. You won't be disappointed.
What a story! Performance Class A. Hope there's more to follow, PLEASE. Rebus, Clark and Fox are all flawed in different ways but make a brilliant team.
I feel that this series is waning, I find Rebus's bad behaviour and lies quite tedious. Big Ger too gets away with murder and I find that difficult to believe.
Too many things I didn't enjoy while reading this book - I don't think I'll go for any more Ian Rankin books.
Rebus used to be quite 'pithy' and although he bent his rules a bit it seemed to be excusable - but in this book - he was a blatant liar and I really didn't enjoy it.
While Rebus is having dinner with his long-term girlfriend, forensic pathologist Deborah Quant, in the Caledonian Hotel, he tells her of a murder that took place there years ago, when a famous rock star and his entourage were staying in the hotel – a woman who, it appeared, was probably murdered by her lover, except that the lover had an alibi. The murder was never solved and, as he tells the story, Rebus's interest in it revives. Time for a little amateur sleuthing! Meantime, gangster Darryl Christie has been beaten up and Siobhan is on the case. The obvious suspect is Big Ger Cafferty, the older gangster whom Darryl has pushed aside, but Cafferty hints to Rebus that there's a Russian connection. (No, fear not, Comrade Trump isn't in it!) Malcolm Fox has been moved to the Specialist Crime Division in Gartcosh. They are quietly looking into some of Darryl's business interests and reckon the investigation into his beating will be a good opportunity to nose around his affairs, so Malcolm is sent back through to Edinburgh to liaise with Siobhan. And so the scene is set for another full-cast outing, all the detectives and gangsters gathered together one more time.
Rebus is up there at the top of my list of favourite detectives, and Ian Rankin can really do no wrong in my eyes. As always, the plotting is great, with the various strands crossing and interconnecting. The old murder story is a traditional whodunit, where alibis and motives are key, while the gangster story allows for plenty of action and a good, believable thriller ending. There's lots of room for the regulars to interact with each other, which is always one of the major joys of the books – tension between Siobhan and Malcolm because she's jealous of his move to Gartcosh, concern over Rebus's health as he undergoes some tests, and Rebus and Big Ger continuing their roles as the elder statesmen of policing and crime, running rings around the young'uns as usual.
However, in truth, I couldn't help but notice that there are a good deal of similarities to the last book. The rivalry among Darryl, Big Ger and their Glasgow counterpart, Joe Stark, has been rumbling through a few books now, and shows no signs of coming to a conclusion. In retirement, it's harder to create reasons for Rebus to be involved, and the excuse of Big Ger only being willing to deal with him is becoming a little worn. I hate to say it because I love the old man so much, but I think it's time to let Rebus go and allow Siobhan and Malcolm to take over as the lead characters. Either that, or Rankin should break his own rule and take us back in time to revisit Rebus as a younger man, when he was still on the force. That's not to suggest I didn't enjoy this one – I did, thoroughly, and I'm sure other Rebus fans will too. But this and the last one have felt like encores, given as a treat to those who've watched the whole show and want a little bit more. And I think it would be better if Rebus left the stage while the audience is still applauding.
I listened to the Audible audiobook version of this, narrated by James Macpherson whom some of you will remember as Chief Inspector Michael Jardine in the long-running STV series, Taggart. I'd listened to him narrate Rebus before, in the short story collection The Beat Goes On, so knew he'd be good. But actually he's even better in this one – the length allows him to create different personalities for all the characters, and his range of Scottish accents and voices is fabulous. From posh Morningside gents to wee Glesca nyaffs, he can do them all brilliantly! He has a real understanding of the recurring characters, so his interpretation never jars. And his timing for the humour is perfect – he often made me laugh out loud. I heartily recommend his readings to any Rebus fans out there – I can't imagine a better narrator for them, and fully intend to back track and listen to his readings of some of the older books.
For anyone coming new to the series, I'd definitely recommend starting much further back – this one depends to a large extent on familiarity with all the relationships amongst the regulars. But for existing Rebus fans, another thoroughly enjoyable book. Rankin writing and Macpherson narrating are a dream team – pure pleasure! Highly recommended.
"Mr Rankin at his best"
This is vintage Rebus, nothing has been lost on this one
Rebus, of course
Understanding the accent
Ask Mr. Rankin for more of the same please. I see Cafferty is back so I expect some more in the near future.
"Never fails to entertain, Rebus is as good as ever"
Like an old friend
Brings out the characters own personalities.
Yes but it would be a spoiler to write about it, although Hank Marvin will suffice.
After 20 previous books, with not even a slightly 'iffy' one amongst them, this book shines. Rebus is on form and every bit as good as he's always been, albeit slightly less edgy than his younger days, he still packs a punch! highly recommended! Patrica Cornwell could well learn some lessons about her character's appeal from this!
"Very consistent Rankin"
Always very consistent, engaging and painfully well written. Worth 5 stars but saving one for in case.n
"Another great Rebus novel"
Took me a couple of chapters to warm to the narrator and then the voices he used for some of the well know characters didn't gel with what I thought they would be.
But that is my preferences, great story by Rankin.
The only complaint i have with this book is thst sometimes i found it very hsrd to determine who was talkingng because the voices of Fox and Rebus are almost indistinguishable.
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