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Summary

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

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thank you Mr Rankin - loved it!

Would you consider the audio edition of Rather Be the Devil to be better than the print version?

Went straight for the audio

What other book might you compare Rather Be the Devil to, and why?

Incomparable!

What about James Macpherson’s performance did you like?

He brings it to life & maintains the character voices brilliantly. Such a lovely accent

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Ageing disgracefully...

Rebus back on his old manor against old sparring partners. Nothing new but engaging as always. Strong, if familiar, writing and excellent performance.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

No Half Measures Here!

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.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

A little less conversation, a little more action p

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love it! Thanks Mr Rankin absolute classic!

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 !?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Rebus and Cafferty are both back!

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

There is life in the old dog yet

What made the experience of listening to Rather Be the Devil the most enjoyable?

James Macpherson has always been synonymous with Rebus' audiobooks and without his dulcet tones it would be a different experience.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Rather Be the Devil?

A good book does not have just one memorable moment, but a gripping story and Rather be the Devil is a prime example of this.

Which character – as performed by James Macpherson – was your favourite?

After 21 books the title character would have to be the answer, although the development of Malcolm Fox and Rebus' recent love interest made the story different to others before it.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Most crime books worth their salt are impossible to listen to in one sitting because they are too long. However, the characterisation in the Rebus books did lead me to listening to it late at night, risking falling asleep to finish it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Rebus is getting old

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

First Audio Book

A massive fan of Rankin but this was my first audio book. Fantastic and I have now found a new way of enjoying books.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Story less engaging than previous books

I’ve read or listened to all the Rebus novels and was surprised to be disappointed by this latest offering. I realize I’m in the minority here, but, uniquely for this author, found quite a few parts tedious. As usual I enjoyed Rebus’s sardonic banter, being able to recognize the Edinburgh landmarks and social niceties, but felt the interweaving stories lacked narrative drive. There are too many characters who are difficult to differentiate populating seemingly disconnected stories that only eventually come together. It would be even more confusing if you hadn't followed the series and recognized at least some of the players.

The book meanders along with a lot of chit chat among characters, the best bits of which are interactions between Rebus and his longtime criminal adversary Ger McCafferty. In previous books, the interplay and verbal jousting between Rebus and Siobhan Clarke is part of the pleasure, but is lacking in this novel where she, (and Malcolm Fox) are lacklustre side kicks.

Part of the weakness of this book is bringing Rebus back out of retirement to help with solving past and present crimes as it is a unconvincing contrivance to keep the series going. It would be better to hand over the baton to Siobhan, who, at least in previous novels, could be a worthy successor.

The narrator does a wonderful job, but even he couldn't conjure up enough Scottish accents to differentiate the numerous characters.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • George Fogden
  • 27-11-16

Mr Rankin at his best

Where does Rather Be the Devil rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is vintage Rebus, nothing has been lost on this one

Who was your favorite character and why?

Rebus, of course

What does James Macpherson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Understanding the accent

Any additional comments?

Ask Mr. Rankin for more of the same please. I see Cafferty is back so I expect some more in the near future.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Simon
  • 24-11-16

Never fails to entertain, Rebus is as good as ever

If you could sum up Rather Be the Devil in three words, what would they be?

Like an old friend

What did you like best about this story?

Character relationships

What does James Macpherson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Brings out the characters own personalities.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes but it would be a spoiler to write about it, although Hank Marvin will suffice.

Any additional comments?

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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anna
  • 14-01-17

Very consistent Rankin

Always very consistent, engaging and painfully well written. Worth 5 stars but saving one for in case.n

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Doha Punk
  • 14-01-17

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Edie
  • 03-12-16

great book

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.