Edinburgh police detective John Rebus, Ian Rankin's popular series detective, is a brilliantly realized character, as moody, dark, and melancholy as Edinburgh itself. In The Falls, he's almost certain that missing university student Philippa Balfour is dead, but he's less sure how she died or what her misadventure has to do with the tiny doll in a hand-sized coffin that turns up near a waterfall on the Balfour family estate. It's not the first coffin found near the scene of a crime; could Philippa be the victim of a serial killer? The only other lead the police have is a cryptic e-mail from someone called Quiz Master, inviting Philippa--and then constable Siobhan Clarke, who responds using Philippa's screen name--to join him in a bizarre scavenger hunt that might lead Clarke to Philippa's body, her killer, or her own death.
This time out Rebus has a new boss, who's no happier with his unorthodox style or impolitic attitude toward the Edinburgh establishment than his last one was. But even under department suspension, Rebus manages to tie a number of seemingly disparate and unconnected clues together and deliver a killer in a scene that even the most discerning reader may not see coming until it jumps off the page. A bestseller in the U.K., The Falls is Rankin's best yet. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
A number one U.K. bestseller, Rankin's 13th novel featuring Scottish Det. Insp. John Rebus may be his breakout book in the U.S. Rankin's brilliant evocation of a moody Edinburgh, deeply human characters and labyrinthine plot give dimension to this always absorbing series. With his stubborn insistence on tying up the frayed ends of every knotty clue, and iconoclastic refusal to be a team player, hard-drinking Rebus is a bane to his superiors but a blessing to readers. University student Philippa Balfour, daughter of the powerful head of a private bank, disappears; the few clues are incongruous a puzzling Internet role-playing game she participated in and a doll in a tiny wooden coffin found near her discordant family's home. Rebus's assistant, Det. Constable Siobhan Clarke, tackles the mysterious Internet game; Rebus ignores his superiors by obsessively following the coffin's obscure historical implications, aided by museum curator Jean Burchill, a friend of newly appointed Det. Chief Supt. Gill Templer and a promising anodyne to Rebus's lonely personal life. Readers won't be able to skim this dark, densely written novel, but they won't want to. Artfully placed red herrings, a large cast of multifaceted characters and a gripping pace will keep them engrossed. And Rebus is a character whose devils and idiosyncrasies will leave them eager for more. (Nov. 8)Forecast: A bestseller in Ireland, Australia and Canada as well, this novel may achieve similar heights here, spurred by a tour by the Edinburgh author, winner of Britain's Gold Dagger Award.
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