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Black and Blue: An Inspector Rebus Mystery (Inspector Rebus Novels) Mass Market Paperback – February 15, 1999

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If you're a cop long enough, you will sooner or later have to make a tough choice: Detective Sergeant Mickey Dolan is at this point. Take a look at all of author G. M. Ford's books

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Product Details

  • Series: Inspector Rebus Novels (Book 8)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Dead Letter (February 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312966776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312966775
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,169,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

"I'm a peeper, he thought, a voyeur. All cops are. But he knew he was more than that: he liked to get involved in the lives around him. He had a need to know which went beyond voyeurism. It was a drug. And the thing was, when he had all this knowledge, he then had to use booze to blank it out..." In his ninth outing, Edinburgh's glowering and tenacious Inspector John Rebus finds a unique way of cutting back on alcohol. Convinced that Rebus might lie or try to destroy evidence in the reopened case of a man convicted of a murder he probably didn't commit, the investigating officer assigns him a babysitter. Luckily, the minder is one of Rebus's old mentors, Jack Morton, a former drinking buddy now waging a successful battle against the bottle. Rebus and Morton burn off energy and anger repainting Rebus's apartment, while trying to clear Rebus's name and exploring the connection between a recent string of murders and a real-life Scottish serial killer of the 1970s known as Bible John. The cases take Rebus to Aberdeen and an oil platform in the North Atlantic, but as usual the main action happens within the mind and soul of Rankin's meticulously crafted creation. Previous entries in the memorable Rebus series are also available, including Let It Bleed, Hide and Seek, Knots and Crosses, Mortal Causes, and Tooth and Nail. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Nearly 30 years after a serial killer dubbed Bible John abruptly retired after three vicious murders, he's back in the news again. Johnny Bible, an equally perverted killer who seems to be much younger, is imitating him with a gusto that suggests close research. Even though he knew one of Johnny Bible's victims, Edinburgh's Inspector John Rebus is in no position to take on this new case; he's got his hands full with a murdered oil-rig painter and the threatened reopening of a case in which he and his mentor, Inspector Lawson Geddes, may have planted evidence years and years ago that framed Lenny Spaven, who went to his death insisting he was innocent. When Rebus takes a few days in Aberdeen to visit the oil company's headquarters and incidentally chat up the locals about another of Johnny Bible's victims, he ends up under suspicion of killing a fourth victim himself and gets stuck with a minder who'll report his every move back to the very same Chief Inspector who's been put in charge of the Spaven case. Can things get any worse? Of course they can. For even though Rebus is behind the eight-ball, another avenger- -Bible John himself--is prepared to do whatever it takes to catch the copycat. Rebus's eighth case (Let It Bleed, 1996, etc.) is his biggest and most grueling so far. Yet Rankin's dexterity in juggling plots and threats and motives lights up the darkness with a poet's grace. Reading him is like watching somebody juggle a dozen bottles of single malt without spilling a drop. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

The plot is interesting and the characters are very well written.
So much so that I have already read the first four books in the Rebus series and am reading them in sequence.
Jim McCullaugh
The plot is interesting, but there is just an attempt to cram too much in.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on October 13, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In recent months, word has come that authors of several of the very best police procedural series have decided to put an end to their heroes adventures. John Harvey is apparently retiring Charlie Resnick, Archer Mayor may do the same with Joe Gunther and Colin Dexter killed off Inspector Morse. This leaves something of a void in the genre, particularly at the more noirish margin, but luckily, Ian Rankin and Detective John Rebus seem to be just hitting their stride and, with the ranks of the competitors thinned, these tartan noir novels will hopefully gain the audience they richly deserve.
Rankin began the series in 1987 with Knots and Crosses. His creation, John Rebus, a former SAS special op turned Scottish police detective, is driven by Calvinist guilt, fueled by whiskey, cigarettes and pop music and is willing, even eager, to cut corners and push boundaries in his pursuit of a pretty harsh justice. But now, eight books and ten years into the series, Rebus is reaching a crisis point as an overwhelming confluence of events threatens to swamp him. First, he's been transferred to a backwater division in the wake of the fallout from his last case and his first investigation there seems to tie into both the North Sea oil industry and the mobs. Second, an old case where he and his mentor played fast and loose with the rules has been reopened. Third, a copycat killer has started imitating the murder pattern of Bible John (a true life killer) who terrified Scotland in the late 60's. The new killer has been nicknamed Johnny Bible and Rebus is obsessed by both killers. Finally, one of his old partners is assigned to keep an eye on him and starts talking to him about the changes that AA has made in his life and pushing Rebus to reexamine his own.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "scottish_lawyer" on October 9, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ian Rankin is described as the father of tartan noir, and Scotland's answer to James Ellroy. I would disagree with the latter description - Ellroy being a great prose stylist, with an approach, and an ability to plot all of his own. However, Rankin is a good writer, and with Black and Blue he has written a great novel.
This novel probably stands comparison with Ellroy more then some of Rankin's other work. There are two principal reasons for this. Firstly, Rankin brings together fact and fiction, merging them seamlessly into an entertaining whole; secondly, he demonstrates a mastery of running four concurrent labyrinthine plotlines that come together in a gripping conclusion.
The novel focuses on a series of killings by an individual nicknamed, Johnny Bible. These crimes echo those of late 1960s Glasgow where "Bible John" killed three women in a series of unsolved crimes that ended as abruptly as they started. The meshing of fact and fiction is handled adroitly.
The interlinking plots have as their hub, Rankin's regular Inspector John Rebus. Rebus is divorced, hard-drinking, and a compelling presence over the series of novels.
Here, the plots include the Johnny Bible killings, a vicious gangland murder on the outskirts of Edinburgh, and a media programme on miscarriages of justice reviving an elderly case Rebus was involved in as a young detective. Navigation around the plots is not straightforward, but the links between the seemingly disparate strands are made with mastery.
Rankin's prose style is not innovative, but he deftly draws characters, and some of the incidental characters here, e.g.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Untouchable on November 3, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rebus really outdoes himself in this book. He manages to get himself into serious trouble by annoying superior officers in three different cities at the same time...and I don't think he was even trying all that hard. Part of the trouble even goes as far as becoming a suspect in his own investigation, earning Rebus a fellow detective to watch over him to ensure he stays out of mischief - much to his extreme chagrin.
The result of ticking his superiors off in Edinburgh was his transfer to what is acknowledged as the worst police station in the city. It's good to see that nothing has changed and Rebus is prepared to attack his cases with the usual mule-headed stubbornness.
Two cases head Rebus' consciousness in this book. The first case sees him teetering on the brink of obsession over a serial killer who is on the loose around the country. The unusual and intriguing part is that the M.O. and the killer's nickname are very similar to that of a killer who operated 25 years ago, but was never caught. The second case seems to be a more straightforward murder investigation, but this too is proving a difficult one to follow and leads Rebus a merry dance around Scotland.
John Rebus fans will be satisfied with Black and Blue, as everything we've come to love about him is here in spades. He flaunts the rules with abandon in his dogged pursuit of his quarry, he works quite comfortably alone, yet he still enjoys the assistance of Holmes and Clarke. One watershed moment is his passing dalliance with sobriety, as an old partner, Jack Morrow, exerts his reformed alcoholic influence on him.
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