And More...

And while Rebus is in Aberdeen rubbing up the local constabulary the wrong way Johnny Bible strikes again, in circumstances that bring Rebus into the frame for the killings since he was in the area at the time. Flights to the Shetlands and the platform where Mitchison’s worked reveals an environmentalist leaning, to the extent where he was actively involved in a Save Our Oceans charity concert.

Along the way, he manages to figure out the real identities of Bible John and the Upstart Johnny Bible, but it's not really possible to go into more detail without giving things away,is it?

And, also along the way, he picks up a health kick thanks to his old mate Jack Morton, set in place to monitor Rebus after his superiors decide not to suspend him from duty. There's a bit of home redecorating in Rebus' flat as well, with those elements artfully intertwined with the three plot lines, with an abundance of intrigue as things tie themselves together. It's probably the best of the Rebus stories up to this point, with Rankin really starting to hit his straps as he realises the possibilities in the cast of characters he's managed to come up with.

Sure, you can look at these as crime thrillers, or an ongoing series of police procedurals but from the start Rankin was using the genre to tackle issues he really wanted to write about rather than producing a series of genre exercises.

Looking back over the preceding couple of titles, we've got politicians, actors and the offspring of the well-heeled elite in Strip Jack, a nexus between those elements and organized crime in The Black Book, Scots nationalists and Irish paramilitaries intersecting with the crims in Mortal Causes, the offspring of the well-heeled and rorting government funds for economic development in Let It Bleed and, this time around, issues with North Sea oil and gas, ecology and what you do when drilling platforms are decommissioned.

© Ian Hughes 2012