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Fleshmarket Alley Hardcover – February 2, 2005
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John Rebus is close to being put out to pasture. Since his bosses have no use for him, he finds himself in Knoxland, a run-down, fetid, and crime-ridden housing development in Edinburgh. Knoxland has become a dumping ground for desperate refugees seeking asylum in Scotland; it is now a crime scene where an unidentified man was brutally stabbed to death. Meanwhile, a desperate couple has enlisted Siobhan to find their eighteen-year-old daughter, Ishbel, who packed a bag a week earlier and disappeared without a word.
Rebus is an inspector of the old school. He has a wide range of contacts, both legitimate and shady, whom he calls upon for inside information. It is amazing that Rebus can take a breath or stand up, since he seems to smoke and drink constantly. However, he is as sharp as ever, and what he lacks in youth, he makes up for in instinct, experience, and dogged persistence.
"Fleshmarket Alley" is a frank and disturbing look at the seamier side of Scotland. Rankin's characters range from racists who want all immigrants to go back "where they came from" to greedy opportunists who enrich themselves at the refugees' expense.Read more ›
And I needed a new mystery writer! Agatha hasn't written anything for quite some time (could be because she's dead), P.D. James hasn't had anything new (is she still writing?), and Elizabeth George is still working but I just couldn't wait any longer for her next book.
So it was with a great deal of pleasure that I was given an advanced reading copy of Fleshmarket Alley to review.
Why do I find British mystery writers so much better than their American counterparts? I know that a lot of people will take umbrage with this comment, but I always enjoy the British authors' writing styles compared to those in the States (if you agree with this sentiment, I have no doubt you'll enjoy this novel).
I found the story's complexity, depth, and length (a comfortable 420 pages) a very satisfying read. I don't know much about detective Rebus, but this book makes me want to read all of Mr. Rankin's earlier novels based on this character (starting with Knots and Crosses). This is my favorite type of murder mystery; it's not important who did the dastardly deed, it's the road to discovery as to why the murder(s) took place that make it a rich reading experience.
I also found this novel especially intriguing because of the political and sociological atmosphere (in Scotland) that surrounds the action and investigation-which gives you a lot to ponder, besides just the murders.Read more ›
The murder that starts this book is almost incidental to the journey of discover that it causes for Rebus and his compatriots. There is a subordinate story that may or may not hook into the primary murder involving the search for a missing girl. It is a heartbreaking development following the suicide of her sister, who was raped and never mentally recovered from the ordeal. The rapist is now out of prison and we don't know what to make of this information. Did he nab her as well? When he turns up dead, she moves from potential hostage to potential murderer...but nobody can find her.
This is more quickly paced than most Rebus books and with denser plotting. You don't need to know Scotland to read this effectively, but it is a good idea to keep track of the story locations in your mind. It might tend to get a little confusing, and "place" means everything to the effectiveness of this story. As if that weren't enough, there is also a very unusual potential romance for Rebus in this book that will have you scratching your head right along with him!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you want a book that keeps you reading and lets you forget about time. This would be one.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
As always, Rebus never fails to entertain the reader throughout the entire story!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is number 15 in this much-beloved series. I have enjoyed each and every one of the previous books in the series. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Shirley Schwartz
Ian Rankin's Rebus series is great for anyone that loves police procedurals like the Wallander series by Henning Mankell or any international Crime novels. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Thomas B. Lewin
Well constructed as usual. Gook look at the immigration issues facing Britain.Published 6 months ago by Jack Lyons
very entertaining read .Paints a darker picture of Edinburgh Scotland than normally one gets from travel hype ,I'd want Inspector Rebus to be on my side if circumstances called for... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dave Follman