21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2007
With this new addition to the long running Rebus saga, Rankin/Rebus have re-confirmed their top ranking in the world of cop fiction. Silver goes to the Michael Connelly/Harry Bosch team.
Rebus and Bosch have a lot in common. Both are usually a pain in the neck to their superiors. Both are near retirement (Bosch actually was already retired but could not bear it and came back), both were married and are fathers, but live alone. Both are boozers, but not druggies, both music addicts, though one more in rock, one in jazz.
This sequel is set in the surroundings of the G8 summit in Scotland in 2005. Rebus is being sidelined by his superiors, i.e. assigned to side shows and not the main event, so as to minimize embarrassments for his bosses, but of course that idea fails.
Rebus' protege Siobhan Clarke is involved in the protest demo against the summit. This is part of her family background. She became a cop out of contrariness against her parents, who are aging hippies and beacons of righteousness, with a long track record of political lecturing back into the good old 60s.
Security forces try to keep the summit trouble free, which is upset by an apparent suicide and an emerging serial killer, not to mention the usual anarchists' and neo-nazis' attempt to surf the good people's demo. Not to mention either the bickering among the services and their pecking order fights.
Though the whole is a trifle over the top in political patronizing, it is solid cop fare.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2006
The book is set in Scotland in July 2005, when one of the most important events in modern history is due to take place. The G8 summit, a meeting attended by some of the world's most powerful men. Virtually every day there is some form of demonstration or protest and the thin blue line is stretched to its limits.
Detective Inspector Rebus has been sidelined, until an MP's apparent suicide coincides with clues that a serial killer may be on the loose. The powers that be are keen to keep the lid on both the suicide and the possibility of a killer on the loose. They would not make good headline reading while such important people are around and the possibility of overshadowing such an important meeting does not bear thinking about. But they have not taken into account the fact that Rebus has never been one to stick too closely to the rule book.
When a colleague of Rebus, Siobhan Clarke becomes involved in finding the identity of the riot policeman who assaulted her mother, it looks as though both of them may be involved against both sides in the conflict.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The setting is Edinburg, Scotland, the year is 2005. And the story begins as everyone is watching for the upcoming G8 summit. Reinforcements are called in from all over the country as a few hundred thousand demonstrators have come to protest poverty aimed at the World leaders. Detective Inspector John Rebus is originally to stay on the sidelines away from the scene, but as luck would have it a routine murder investigation turns up with a clue that throws him right in the middle of things.
Rebus and his partner Clarke are on the case and due to the clues they are turning up believe they may have a serial killer. All the while tensions are running high between Rebus and Special Branch Commander Steelforth. The investigation leads to many questions of suicide or murder. Crime fiction enthusiasts will not want to miss this one. This is an astounding 5 stars!
Ian Rankin was born in the Kingdom of Fife and graduated from the University of Edinburg. The first of his Rebus novels, "Knots & Crosses" was published in 1987. Rankin is the UK's number one best-selling crime writer and lives in Edinburg with his wife and their two sons.
Naming of The Dead won the Worldbooks Crime Thriller of the Year Award. Ian Rankin has developed an intriguing plot that is loaded with twists and turns, and has created some very witty and memorable characters. Looking for a great read that holds your attention through to the end, that is difficult to put down and is a real page turner, then this is a must read, especially for the crime fiction enthusiasts every where.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Ian Rankin's "The Naming of the Dead" is a convoluted and lengthy police procedural that takes place during a chaotic time in the career of Detective Inspector John Rebus. The novel opens with John attending the funeral of his younger brother, Mickey, who died at fifty-four of a sudden stroke. Rebus is feeling his age in many ways; too many cigarettes and too much alcohol have taken their toll on his physique. He has been a cop for thirty years, but the job that has defined him for so long no longer earns him the respect of his colleagues. John's supervisors have little use for a detective who is often insubordinate and tends to follow his own instincts rather than standard police procedure. His bosses are waiting impatiently for John to retire, a step that he is reluctant to take.
Rebus and Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke become embroiled in what appears to be the murder of three sex offenders by a serial killer. Their investigation takes place against the backdrop of the G8 summit in Scotland, a conclave that is threatened by waves of protestors who have vowed to make their voices heard. Suddenly, one of the delegates, a Labor MP who was staying in Edinburgh Castle, falls or is pushed to his death. Although this is not, strictly speaking, John's case, he soon starts digging for evidence, and before long the cynical and sarcastic Rebus manages to get himself and Siobhan into a great deal of hot water.
"The Naming of the Dead," at four hundred and fifty pages, could have been trimmed quite a bit. The plot is extremely busy, there are too many secondary characters, and the narrative quickly loses steam. John's penchant for trouble leads him to confrontations with some thugs working for Special Branch as well as with James Corbyn, Edinburgh's chief constable, Morris Gerald Cafferty, known as Big Ger, "a villain of long standing" who has "fingers in every imaginable criminal pie," and a lay preacher, Councilman Gareth Tench, an unctuous politician with a thirst for power. Cafferty may know something about the killings that John is investigating, but Big Ger wants something in return for his cooperation. Rankin introduces a host of red herrings that keep the detectives busy chasing down leads before they finally learn the horrifying truth.
Rankin relies far too much on coincidences and far-fetched connections to tie up his loose ends, and the story's sluggish pacing makes reading "The Naming of the Dead" more of a chore than a pleasure. Still, John Rebus is a delightfully irreverent and sharp character who seeks justice even for victims whom most people would consider better off dead. Siobhan Clarke, a promising detective on her way up the ladder, is torn between loyalty to John and a desire to please her superiors. She knows that her friendship with Rebus is becoming a distinct liability. Until the last page, John frantically tries to even every score, regardless of the enemies that he makes in the process. Alas, even Rebus and Clarke cannot carry this book all by themselves and, like John's career, this series may at last be winding down.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
'Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown, the dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.' Pink Floyd
My favorite nonconformist Detective Inspector Rebus infuriates everyone including his bosses. He is based in Edinburgh, and this is 2005 the week of the G8 summit
Ian Rankin was in Edinburg during the G8 and he conveys the atmosphere to perfection, from the people with ideals, wanting to make a difference for the poorest people in the world through to the disaffected people of the poorest parts of Edinburgh who'd like to make a difference to their own lives. Rankin catches the protestors, the gung-ho attitude of some of the police and the edginess of the crowds. I felt I was there: On occasions I could feel the anxiety. There are contrasts with the situation at Gleneagles, where no expense or detail is spared to protect the leaders and to provide facilities for their staff. The futility of the summit against the backdrop of what was happening in the real world is real and palpable.
The 16th Inspector Rebus novel is a big read set against the backdrop of one of the most tumultuous weeks in recent Scottish history: the G8. Rankin digs deeper into Rebus's psyche and continues to explore themes of justice and retribution, impermanence, loss and regret. Rebus is the same truculent character he has always been and impending old age - his 60th birthday and consequent retirement - is preying on his mind.
The Naming of The Dead which Rankin took from a ceremony to honour those who had died in Iraq which took place in Edinburgh in 2005. While every cop and his dog is pulling overtime to cope with the daily marches and demonstrations surrounding the summit, Rebus has been sidelined. Who wants him getting close to world leaders? But when a body is discovered in a glade in Auchterarder, Rebus, as the only person left in the office and he is assigned the case and finds himself visiting the G8 after all.
Almost immediately, he clashes with the English police commander in charge of G8 security. Before long, he has everybody's backs up as he explores the possibility that an MP's drop off Edinburgh Castle's ramparts was murder, not suicide, and that a serial killer is preying on convicted rapists harvested from a vigilante website. Rebus' s close friend - Siobhan Clarke - is also at odds with her superiors as she attempts to find the riot cop who clobbered her mother during one of the many demonstrations. She's also getting entangled with Rebus's nemesis, thuggish crime boss Big Ger Cafferty, who is showing an unhealthy interest in her while getting in the way of Rebus's investigations.
The strength of this novel lies in the way that Ian Rankin places the murders and the G8 to his exploration of character: We get more insight into Siobhan Clarke as she struggles with her parental relationships. Rebus is brooding on his age and increasing isolation, thinking about the unexpected death of his brother and the way he has messed up with the rest of his family. And, Rebus, has his love of rock music, Pink Floyd, The Who, U2, the Stones-he has every record and Cd and knows every verse and lyric. He often ties the crime to a lyric of a song. Some have mentioned the length of this novel. It may be overly long, but Ian Rankin was able to keep my attention with the depth of his characterization, and he has tied the plot lines together with a twist. There may be but one Rebus novel left. Policeman in Scotland must retire when they reach age 60. Ian Rankin's almost certainly the best crime novelist writing at the moment and there are few to beat him in any other genre
Rebus, as usual battles with a local crime boss, apolitical boss, his police bosses, a corrupt arms dealer and an arrogant Special Branch official from London. He's formed alliances with a reporter, a computer whiz and several police colleagues who can gather data that he cannot. Technology has become of Rebus's 'life and a web site plays heavily into the three murders. He is technically quite proficient as a detective and Rebus is someone I want on my side. Not much escapes him. Rebus and Siobhan are becoming closer and we can see the emotions in Rebus come to the fore. There is respect and love, but unmentioned as of yet.
Ian Rankin has said in an interview , "At the core of The Naming of the Dead is a pretty basic question: What difference do we make in the world? Rebus is cast as the aging cynic, while his colleague Siobhan is younger and more idealistic. So while Rebus is dismissive of the power of rock stars to change the situation in Africa, Siobhan is hopeful. Can concerts alter world events? Can marches and protests change politicians' minds? Can the individual make a difference? Rebus is beginning to realise that during all the years he's been a cop, and for all the bad people he's put behind bars... crime is always with us. As for my own view on all the above... it's somewhere between Rebus and Siobhan!"
Highly Recommended, Comfortably Numb or Not. prisrob 5-27-07
Fleshmarket Alley: An Inspector Rebus Novel
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2007
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This covers a set of interlocking events, including several murders, around the 2005 G8 Summit in Scotland. It is a fine read as a murder mystery, but much of the fun comes from Rankin's study of the darkly cynical Detective Inspector Rebus's interactions with a wide range of G8 visitors and with the local troublemakers they bring out.
I was a student at Edinburgh and I enjoy the way Rankin captures the feel of the city, not just in the physical locations but in the mood and style of the locals. Unfortunately this flow is sometimes undermined by changes made for the American edition. In several places everyday British words are replaced with jarringly out-of-place American equivalents.
If you aren't familiar with British English then these relatively minor translation changes will probably be invisible and you should happily enjoy the American edition. But if you are accustomed to British English and prefer a more authentic style, you might want to consider buying via amazon.co.uk. (I plan to do that for other Rankin novels.)
In either version, it is well worth a careful reading!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Remember the G8 conference and the tube/bus bombings in London? Inspector Rebus' latest case revolves around those incidents, which captured the attention of the world. In addition to the hellacious security problems, Rebus is faced with the death of his brother, a serial killer, the apparent suicide of an MP, and the death of a local politician. The higher ups have had it with him anyway, and forbid him to rock the boat while the eyes of the world are upon Edinburgh.
Rebus and his protege, Inspector Siobhan Clark, aren't the type to just let things go, and they forge ahead, under the radar, regardless of what the chief constable thinks. They lose their way quite a few times, and it when they finally figure out what's what, they are astonished. Author Rankin brings his readers on a crawl through Edinburgh, from the richest to the seamiest, from the powerful to the punks. Nothing cozy here, nothing fancy, just gritty, dogged, intelligent police work. And real, multidimensional characters.
Naming of the Dead is worth a second perusal, just to pick up on all the missed cues and clues. Great crime fiction.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2010
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Two star rating for the Kindle Edition.
I really love Ian Rankin and among the many things I enjoy about reading his work is the feeling that I've been transported from this side of the Atlantic to the other.
So you can imagine my disappointment (bordering on disgust), when I discovered that, in the kindle version of the book, almost every trace of the UK idiom(s) had been expunged. Mobile phones were transformed into cell phones - lorries became trucks. The editors of this version must have imagined that we 'poor yanks' were even too dumb to figure out what `I reckon' means.
While I appreciate that the meaning of `boffin' may be somewhat obscure (albeit perfectly comprehensible from the context), I find it hard to believe that any American capable of reading would have difficulty understanding `a load of washing' or a `postbox' translated, without so much as a footnote, respectively, as a `load of laundry' and `mailbox' for our 'benefit'. And the list continues; some thing had been changed on almost every other page; sometimes whole phrases had been rewritten to make them sound more 'American'.
If the editors really think that we are incapable of understanding Anglicisms, perhaps they should just include a glossary; why rewrite the thing? At the very least, Amazon should warn readers that they are about to insult our intelligence by selling us an adulterated version of the book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Wow, Ian Rankin really knows how to construct a storyline that pulls readers in from the first page and keeps them interested to the end. "The Naming of the Dead" is set at the time of the 2005 G8 conference in Scotland and uses the meeting as a plausible backdrop for a number of murders that should be related, but don't seem to be. Great characters here in Detective Inspecter Rebus and his partner as well as virtually all of the supporting members of the story. This is a first-rate mystery with a good dollop of wry humor.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
How you rate this Inspector Rebus story may depend to some extent on what you think of the solution to the mystery, which is obviously something a reviewer ought not to give away. On the other hand it will take you nearly 500 very enjoyable pages before you get there. So far as this reader is concerned, there is nothing much wrong with the solution. I can't persuade myself that it is the job of a detective story to turn out like a factual police investigation in real life, and although the outcome should not be preposterous it ought to be imaginative, and it is imaginative here.
I have no idea whether Ian Rankin belongs to the Agatha Christie school of whodunit plotting, or to the Raymond Chandler school. We know from Chandler himself that he wrote most of his Marlowe tales without knowing who the murderer was: Mrs Christie was not so forthcoming so far as I am aware, but surely she must have had the final denouements in mind from the outset and structured the rest of it round them so that we can be as amazed as the respectful and silent gatherings who listen to Poirot or Miss Marple explaining all over ten or a dozen pages. Where Rankin seems to me to side with Chandler is in making the rest of the story and the characterisation more significant in their own right than they are in the solution-focused Christie style, and I find that to my own liking. In fact this is the first Rebus story I have ever read, but it will not be the last. The glum, dogged and cantankerous old corner-cutter is getting on in years, now within a year of compulsory retirement and obviously facing a bleak outlook when that comes, as there is nothing much in his life except the job. His portrayal is sympathetic and quite convincing if not exactly delineated in as much depth as Hamlet, so is that of his oppo Siobhan Clarke, and convincing also, if less sympathetic, is that of the other main players. The storyline is absolutely excellent in my own opinion, and it held my interest completely through what is quite a long book. Rankin has true storytelling technique, the result of experience as well as of talent. Links between episodes are very artfully done and if one's attention wanders at all it is liable to mean rereading a couple of paragraphs. The background in July 2005 - the Gleneagles summit of the G8, the British Olympics bid for 2012 and the 7/7 bombings in London - is inspired, and the scene-setting in the author's native Edinburgh is as authentic as we would expect. The writing is of high quality, but in case anyone was wondering, a `rammy' is a fight and `Shug' is `Hugh'.
One detail in particular has not worked out in quite the way Rankin obviously expected, and Mr Blair's brainwave of obtaining `loans' rather than donations to the Labour party (the idea being to avoid declaration) blew back in his face in spectacular fashion. This very excusable misprognostication does affect the credibility of one aspect of the final outcome, I suppose, but at the end of the day this is fiction, and the historical backdrop is very convincing by and large. I don't believe I would have wanted the story to resemble the miserable real-life murder investigations that I have become all too familiar with. There is an appropriate standard for different kinds of things, or `Est modus in rebus' as they say in the Classics, and that suits me very well provided the narrator is good enough at his job. I was sorry to come to the end of this book. Dear old Rebus may be bowing out, but I have all his previous adventures to get to know, and I am looking forward to it.