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Exit Music (Inspector Rebus) Hardcover – September 17, 2008

Book 17 of 19 in the Inspector Rebus Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Insp. John Rebus has just 10 days to solve the apparently motiveless murder of Alexander Todorov, an expatriate Russian poet, before he reaches 60 and mandatory retirement in Edgar-winner Rankin's rewarding 17th novel to feature the Edinburgh detective (after The Naming of the Dead). When the dogged Rebus and Det. Sgt. Siobhan Clarke look into the crime, they find an array of baffling conspiracies involving Russian businessmen, Scottish bankers and local politicians pushing for an independent Scotland. A second murder, of a man who'd taped one of Todorov's poetry readings, ensures the case gets extra resources, and Rebus's own interest is whetted by the possible involvement of Edinburgh crime boss Big Ger Cafferty. Clever, insightful prose more than compensates for the byzantine plot. There's an appropriately wistful tone to this final entry in the series. Fans will miss Rebus and wonder what on earth he'll do in retirement. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

This nostalgic farewell for the aging, rebellious, and popular Rebus raised an all-consuming question for critics: is this really the end to the beloved detective, or will he return? The cliffhanger ending, as well as the general belief that Rankin would never give up his adored character, suggests that Rebus could make a comeback. “Exit Music does leave the door open for more Rebus stories as well as a series featuring Siobhan, who has become more of a presence in each novel,” notes the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Either way, the novel, framed by the fight for an independent Scotland and another labyrinthine case, is a fitting end to Rebus’s career. A few clichés are unavoidable for this prolific author, and a slow start bothered some critics. Still, most agree with the New Yorker: “Rankin’s work is crime fiction at its most consuming, cerebral best.”
Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC

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Product Details

  • Series: Inspector Rebus
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (September 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316057584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316057585
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #987,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This is the last in the series of Inspector Rebus novels written by Ian Rankin.
K. Schonlau
A very well written, if rather complex, police procedural, with some excellent characters, an interesting setting, strongly recommended for fans of police mysteries.
The reason this one is getting four is I thought the story dragged on a little too long and there were too many characters.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Jim Tenuto VINE VOICE on September 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Ian Rankin has crafted one of the best mystery series ever written. While many novelists fade after half a dozen books, in "Exit Music" Rankin has kept the character of John Rebus as fresh, human, and complex in the seventeeth novel in this series as he was when he first appeared in "Knots and Crosses."

The sense of inevitability, frustration, and a man out of sorts is palpable. Rebus, ten days away from mandatory retirement, tries to tie up a career's worth of lose ends through the murder of a Russian expatriate poet. The connections between the "underworld and the overworld", the threads that run through the fabric of Edinburgh's society, once again weave a rich and satisfying story. There is vintage Rebus, verbally abusing a senior member of the force and breaking all the rules but none of the laws. There is the shadow of Big Ger Cafferty, Rebus' Moriarty, falling over the city. There is Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke, the London transplant, who tolerates, understands, and reveres her iconoclastic partner.

In a trip to Scotland in late 2005, we spent a couple of days in Edinburgh. The city itself has always been one of the richest characters in Rankin's work. We peered down Fleshmarket Close, visited the Parliament building, stood near the Mound, and had a whisky at the Oxford Bar. All have featured in one or several of the novels.

A strong sense of character, a strong sense of plot, and a strong sense of place make the John Rebus series literature.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In Ian Rankin's "Exit Music," Detective Inspector John Rebus is ten days away from retirement, a prospect that appeals to him as much as root canal. His superiors eagerly await the departure of this maverick, with "his mistrust of teamwork" and his "two-decades-plus of bets hedged, lines crossed, and rules broken." Although John gets results, he rarely does anything by the book, since he has little regard for authority or proper procedure. It is a miracle that this chain-smoking and whiskey-guzzling detective has lived long enough to turn in his warrant card. Rebus's protégée, Detective Sergeant Siobhan (Shiv) Clarke, has mixed feelings about her friend and mentor's departure. She is grateful for everything he has taught her. On the other hand, his unorthodox methods are troubling and she is impatient to get out from under Rebus's imposing shadow.

Their final case together begins as an apparent mugging that results in the death of Alexander Todorov, an émigré Russian poet living in Edinburgh. Todorov was a dissident who was vocal in his criticism, not only of his former government, but also of the new class of Russian oligarchs. He considered these multi-millionaires to be materialistic, corrupt, and greedy--selfish men who spend their ill-gotten gains on fancy clothing, high-end cars, pricey real estate, precious metals, and expensive artwork. Was Todorov bludgeoned to death to silence his scathing criticism of his countrymen? A subsequent murder adds to the mystery, and Clarke is placed in charge of a team with a challenging and time-consuming mission. They must ascertain if the two crimes are related and if so, who was behind them. Rebus is intrigued to learn that his archenemy, a gangster knows as Big Ger Cafferty, may be involved.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Richard Cumming on September 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
John Rebus is facing mandatory retirement from the Edinburgh police in nine days as EXIT MUSIC opens. Rebus has lost many things over the course of Rankin's marvelous series. A few years ago they banned smoking in the pubs. That was a heavy blow. Now in November of 2006 Rebus is on the verge of surrendering his badge.

Rankin is prescient in his plot. Russian oligarchs are infesting Scotland. Making deals. Building networks of contacts in high places. Perhaps even ordering murders? Rebus doesn't like it.

His arch enemy Big Ger Cafferty is still on the loose, mocking Rebus. Over the years they have built a strange fraternal bond. Pursuer and the pursued. Rebus will miss him mostly because he won't be able to arrest him.

Siobhan Clarke has taken over most of the duties Rebus once savored. He is being put out to pasture sooner than later. They pull him off a big murder case. Fans of this series would expect that. They also know that John will ignore the commands of his superior officers.

Is this the end for Rebus? I don't think so. Rankin will surely start a new series about Siobhan Clarke and Rebus will be a valuable resource and sounding board for her as he savors his retirement.

Rebus will be playing his music. Nursing a single malt. Puffing away. His cell will ring. Rebus will be back on the case.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Stephen T. Hopkins VINE VOICE on April 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Could Exit Music really be Ian Rankin's last John Rebus novel? The Edinburgh detective faces mandatory retirement and has ten days to bring Big Ger Cafferty to justice while solving the murder of a Russian poet. There are more than enough plot twists in Exit Music and a cast of fascinating and distracting characters to keep readers alert and engaged from the first through the last page. Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke does her best to give Rebus the opportunity to make his final days as a detective productive and successful, despite his spending part of the time on suspension. Rankin respects the intelligence of readers, and Exit Music will keep your brain active as you try to figure out who did what.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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