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Dead Souls: An Inspector Rebus Novel (Inspector Rebus Series) Hardcover – October 1, 1999

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Product Details

  • Series: Inspector Rebus Series
  • Hardcover: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (October 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312202938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312202934
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 6.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

When an author as successful as Rankin has been with his tough and idiomatic Scottish thrillers, a problem sets in after several books: how to keep the formula fresh.

Rankin has delivered a powerful series of books featuring his beleaguered Detective Inspector John Rebus, and while never less than gripping, a certain tiredness seemed to be setting in. Thankfully, Dead Souls is a resounding return to form, with a plot as enjoyably labyrinthine as any Rankin enthusiast could wish for, and pithy dialogue that fairly leaps off the page. Stalking the streets of Edinburgh on the trail of a poisoner, Rebus hits upon a freed pedophile and his subsequent outing of the man leaves him with very mixed feelings. But another problem develops for Rebus: a convicted murderer has him in his sights for some lethal games. And the tabloid press lionizing of Rebus won't help him in this situation.

As always, Rankin is perfectly ready to tackle contentious issues--precisely the thing that gives his books their powerful sense of veracity. And Rebus, no longer in danger of having a soap opera-like accumulation of personal problems, seems as fresh and well-observed a character as in those first exhilarating books. Rankin has caught his form again, with even more assurance. --Barry Forshaw,

From Publishers Weekly

Edinburgh's Det. Insp. John Rebus is beset by troubles from the past and the present in the loose and rangy 11th installment (after The Hanging Garden) of Rankin's popular (and, in England, bestselling) series. At the outset, Rebus, who's been drinking too much, endures frequent visitations from his recently deceased comrade-in-arms, Jack Morton, and suffers helplessly as his daughter struggles to recover from a hit-and-run accident that's left her paralyzed. Rebus's troubles are soon reflected in the old city around him: violent grassroots vigilantism breaks out in a housing project when Rebus informs the press that a convicted child molester is living in one of the flats; Cary Oakes, a serial killer just released from a U.S. prison, returns to Edinburgh; a rising star in the police department dies in an apparent suicide. In addition, as Rebus testifies in a high-profile case of sexual abuse of children, two old school friends ask him to search for their missing son. And as the cop pursues each of these cases, Oakes draws him into a sadistic game of cat-and-mouse. While the many plot lines pull the narrative in disparate directions, the whole is held together by Rankin's drum-tight characterization of Rebus as a man deeply shaken in his convictions, but unwilling to fall apart. Author tour. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By John DiBello on October 1, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm a fan of contemporary British mysteries, and Ian Rankin's extraordinary John Rebus series ranks among the best. This recent entry in the Edinburgh police procedural series is a great starting point for a new reader; for the long-time Rebus-fan, it's a look inside Rebus's dark past. When the son of a former love goes missing, Rebus takes up the (unofficial) investigation; never mind that he's already got his professional life full of a few other major cases including the suicide of a colleague, a hunt for a former child molester, and a manipulative, charismatic serial killer released into Edinburgh and wooed by a glory-seeking journalist. A "perfect" detective would solve every one of the cases, wrapping all four cases up by the final chapter in time for a drink and a witty denouement at the local pub. Thankfully, Rebus is not such a cliche. A happy ending isn't the goal here--cases are flubbed, go awry, and entangle Rebus's personal life, friends, and family in dangerous ways.
Sounds dark, no? But that's one of the reasons I love the Rankin mysteries. No one is better than Rankin at setting the scene of Edinburgh: from the crowded, tempestuous housing projects to the smoke and lager filled pubs. But it's the characters, razor-sharp dialogue, and personalities that make Rankin the master he is: once again Rebus is the troubled hero, his time and attention divided between his complicated personal life and police cases. He doesn't just make an attempt to figure out whodunit, he digs deep into the human mind to find out "why"...and drags himself deeper into his own personal hell in the process. He is motivated by a sense of justice--whether or not it conflicts with the law or the wishes of his long-suffering superior "The Farmer.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Once again Ian Rankin is responsible for the dark circles under my eyes. In a series that just keeps getting better it's impossible to put down the latest Rebus at a human hour and yet appropriate to be reading when it's dark and silent all around you. Dead Souls is a grim and thoroughly enjoyable read.
With a tangled web of sub plots featuring a coworker's suicide, a pedophile, a serial killer, and a missing person I found myself turning pages. In addition we are allowed a glimpse of Rebus's past and made to worry about his present in a way I haven't done since Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder started drinking again. Personal dilemmas and professional questions haunt Rebus across every page of Dead Souls. Present day ethics and morality are explored in such a seamless way you don't even realize that you along with Rebus are indeed pondering "Is there such a thing as free will?" And of course there's Scotland itself, presented as no travelogue ever would, but as perhaps, it is.
For the mystery fan who enjoys their protagonist's layers being peeled away like birch bark no series currently being written offers more for a reader to chew on,savour and spit out. Here's hoping neither the author or we ever get to the core of the man.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By David Cohen on December 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A new Parliament is being built and people are drinking single malts and Irn-Bru...yes, we're in Scotland - Edinburgh, to be precise, and our host is Detective Inspector John Rebus of the Lothian and Borders police. Dead Souls takes Ian Rankin into double figures with his Rebus crime novels, and thankfully they are as fresh and inventive as his first, Knots & Crosses. Rebus is still the same compelling character: haunted by dead friends, prone to imbibe too much of the electric soup and a bit of a loose cannon - but still a tough and determined enforcer of the law. Just as well, because his triple challenges here are investigating the disappearance of his childhood sweetheart's son, looking into a colleague's suicide and keeping tabs on a serial killer who returns to Edinburgh after his release from a US prison. Tight plotting, laconic dialogue and the urban whiff of the Edinburgh tenements make Dead Souls more than a wee bit better than the standard crime thriller.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wendt on August 9, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Since "Black and Blue," Rankin's novels have had very tight, complicated plots, with about four independent strands coming together (or not). Here the plot lines are more thematically linked than anything else, further illuminating the character of DI Rebus, one of the most interesting characters in crime fiction. He's hard-boiled, he smokes and drinks, he's too wrapped up in his work to have satisfying relationships, yada yada, but he's always trying very hard. He comes away from the stories if not changed, at least recognizing something and working at some aspect of himself. He's not a forever constant, Marlowian hero. In this one, novel #9, the crimes are of a personal nature, no business dealings, no crime syndicates, so the story inevitably is more about Rebus, and less about the puzzles to be solved. It's a matter of personal taste, perhaps, but probably for that reason I felt this one wasn't quite up to the level of the last two (B&B, and "The Hanging Garden"). Rankin should be better known, and would probably be compared to Michael Connelly if he was American and writing about a cop in a US city. He remains one of the best writers of police procedurals out there.
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