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Saints of the Shadow Bible (Inspector Rebus, Book 19) Audio CD – January 14, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Rankin took the gutsy step in Standing in Another Man’s Grave (2013) of bringing back his much-loved maverick hero, John Rebus, and setting him opposite Malcolm Fox, internal-affairs cop, hero of The Complaints and The Impossible Dead (both 2011), and, seemingly, Rebus’ polar opposite. That experiment was a resounding success, so, naturally, Rankin ups the ante still further. This time the formerly retired Rebus, now back on the force but at a lesser rank, and Fox, facing the dissolution of his IA unit and the prospect of becoming a real detective again, find themselves working together, taking advantage of a new Scottish law allowing the reprosecution of old crimes by digging into a 30-year-old murder. Ah, but there’s a wrinkle. Rebus was a rookie at the time of the murder, the newbie in a squad of take-no-prisoners detectives who called themselves the Saints, and it looks like the new investigation may implicate the Saints, or at least some of them, in a cover-up or worse. Rebus investigating his buddies and, by extension, himself? Echoing the similar situation in which New Orleans detective Remy McSwain finds himself in Jim McBride’s 1986 film The Big Easy, Rankin’s narrative forces Rebus to come to terms with a shocking truth about himself: he’s a cop first and a maverick second, a truth seeker before a rule breaker. That’s a tough blow for the cantankerous Rebus to absorb, equaled only by the fact that he winds up respecting—even, for God’s sake, liking—the hardworking Fox. Longtime fans of the series will savor every nuance in the subtle interplay between characters here, but Rankin doesn’t forget the thriller plot, either, corkscrewing the narrative into a surprising and satisfying conclusion. Hats off to a writer who can keep a long-running series fresh by upsetting our expectations and rummaging ever deeper into the rag-and-bone shop of his characters’ hearts. --Bill Ott --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


''[Rebus] is a superbly drawn character, matched by the edgy authenticity of the Scottish locale and dialogue.'' --Sunday Times (London), praise for the series

''John Rebus comes out of retirement in Edgar-winner Rankin's stellar 20th novel featuring the Edinburgh cop (after 2013's Standing in Another Man's Grave). Rebus, though, must accept a demotion from detective inspector to detective sergeant not that he cares about rank. It's the case that counts, which in this entry involves ''conspiracies, connections and coincidences.'' Malcolm Fox, the officer in charge of the Complaints department (the Scottish version of Internal Affairs), leads an investigation into whether a fast and loose group of cops in the mid-1980s known as the Saints of the Shadow Bible might have tainted a murder trial back when Rebus was a young officer. Rankin deftly ties the old case into a fresh one that begins with a seemingly routine car accident involving the daughter of a powerful businessman that soon expands to involve the suspicious death of the public face of the Scottish nationalist movement. The immense and intricate canvas includes dozens of characters, plots within plots, and multiple themes, from Scottish independence to the insidiousness of corruption, public and private. Too much may be going on at times for some readers, but distinctive characters (including Edinburgh itself) make the book memorable. 'The good guys are never all good and the bad ones never all bad,' says Rebus, and that certainly applies to Rebus himself, willful, determined, and droll.'' --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

''A novel densely packed with incident and intrigue, and Rankin's thriller plotting is sublime as ever.'' --Independent (London)

''Set against the campaigns in the run-up to the referendum on Scottish independence, it is a fascinating exploration of ideas of loyalty and allegiance in a changing world, as well as a welcome return for a battered but tenacious survivor.'' --Guardian (London)

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Product Details

  • Series: Inspector Rebus (Book 19)
  • Audio CD: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio and AudioGO; Unabridged edition (January 14, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1478981733
  • ISBN-13: 978-1478981732
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (416 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Ian Rankins Rebus is one of those.
Amazon Customer
Rebus is always interesting, and Rankin creates very believable characters as well.
M. Weir
Very good plot that keeps you reading to the very end.
Bonnie Welch

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By FictionFan TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
When the 'double jeopardy' law is relaxed, the Solicitor General asks Malcolm Fox to reinvestigate a case from the '80s, one involving a young DC Rebus. It had been thought at the time that the officers of Summerhall had tampered with the evidence to allow a murderer to go free - a murderer who also happened to be an informer to the head of the Summerhall team. Meantime, in the present day, Siobhan Clarke and Rebus are back working as a team. With the new rules on retirement age, Rebus has been taken back into CID but has had to take a downgrading to Detective Sergeant, meaning Siobhan now outranks him. They are called out to what looks at first like a straightforward road accident, but a couple of things about the scene make them suspect there may be more to it than that.

When I try to pin down why Rankin is head and shoulders above most crime writers, it really comes down to two things. Firstly, the quality of his writing never wavers - he knows how to tell a good story, his pacing is superb and his plots are always both complex and believable. His characterisation is second to none - Rebus and Clarke have been real people to us for years now, people we feel we know, and Fox is rapidly joining them as just as important a character. They don't perform superhuman feats, nor does every book end with them being saved from hideous danger. There is a realism that makes us believe this is how the police really work - we've even seen Rebus over the years learning to toe the line as the Police Force has tightened up on mavericks and corruption in real life.

Secondly, Rankin has his finger on the political pulse of Scotland - his books always relate to the main concerns of the day, without ever obsessing about them and without ever taking a stance.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Bookie on November 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Once again, reading a Rebus novel is like settling down with an old friend; you know you're in good company. This latest outing is a series of complex contrasts with a number of diverse threads to the plot. There's an immediate role reversal with Rebus back in CID, full time but as a Sgt. to Inspector Siobhan Clarke. They still spark off one another and despite Clarke's best efforts, Rebus has his own take and style.

Malcolm Fox from Complaints is working his final case in his 'rubber heel mob' role, conscious that he'll soon be working alongside officers he's investigated. He's looking into a 30 year old murder case where Rebus was a young DC working in a team which knew no boundaries other than those they made. Old style policing where any means was justified and the team swore allegiance on the Bible of the title. Who are the Saints and who are the Sinners? Which way does the moral compass point and how long should allegiances last? Events from the past once again spill over to the present. Fox needs Rebus onside and the relationship between the two differs from their earlier encounters.

An investigation into an unexplained car crash is the initial backdrop for a lively paced story which weaves a complex and highly satisfying mix of past and present, black and white, right and wrong. Set in Edinburgh in the context of current issues around Scottish independence, the whole book has a real time feel.

To fully appreciate some of the relationships and nuances, it would certainly help to have read other Rebus books. The backfill is cursory. But it would work as a stand alone. Once again, this story was worth the wait and I'm only sorry that the next one is likely to be a while longer. A cracking story proving Rankin is still heads above many others in the crime genre and Rebus has got what it takes. A big 5 stars from me.

Copy of my Amazon .uk review.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Rusty the Hamster on November 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
John Rebus is back again, again, but this time he's back on the police force and demoted down to DS, which his friend and comrade Siobhan, now a DI, likes to remind him of every so often. In jest of course.

He's really on form this time and I loved every minute of it. As ever, the plot revolves around current events that concern Scotland but with a killer plot to go with it. I liked that Rebus and Fox join forces, I wondered when that would happen and I hope that they continue to have adventures in the future as Fox just got a whole lot cooler. I hope the three of them stick around for a while, at least until Rebus finally retires, as Edinburgh will be a safer place with them around!

It's the little details that I love - Rebus is like a bloodhound when he's on a case but can also provide with some light relief, such as his insistence on biscuits in a meeting or asking out a woman in the most inopportune moment. You get to know the other characters quickly and then you rattle on with the plot, intelligent but without too much navel gazing. And you always know exactly what car everyone is driving as well, you can tell a lot about someone by the car they drive.

This is a rattlingly good story and November is now my favourite month, because it means there's another Rankin ready to download!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Suncoast TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Ian Rankin is a top British crime writer and this is #19 in the extremely successful Inspector Rebus series. Recently I have read a lot of books by popular authors who try to put new life into a series that should be running out of steam. With this book Rankin is doing the same by taking us back to the John Rebus's early days in the police force and reviewing what he really is and what he has become.

John Rebus is back in the force which is his only life. The only way at his age he can continue to work in the force is to take a demotion to Detective Sergeant and he is now working for his old protegé Detective Inspector Siobhan (pronounced shiv-on) Clarke. Their first case together is a car crash where the daughter of an important London businessman is badly injured in a single driver car crash. What is strange is that her seat belt is unbuckled and one of her shoes finished up under the passenger seat, suggesting that someone else was driving and had moved her into the driving seat to cover up his part in the crash. Her boyfriend happens to be the son of Pat McCuskey, the Scottish Justice Minister and a top protagonist in favour of an independent Scotland.

At the same time DI Malcolm Fox of the Complaints Division (their Internal Affairs) is looking at a 30 year old case that involved the detectives at the Summerhall Police Station who were well known for keeping down the crime rate by doing things their way and sometimes bending the law to do this. Rebus was a raw Detective Constable at the time and was recruited to become one of the "Saints of the Shadow Bible" who swore to uphold their own policing standards. Rebus admits that at times he did a few things he now regrets but he was never knowingly involved in really bad things.
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