- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 48 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Hachette Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: January 31, 2017
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01N1UOWHL
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Rather Be the Devil Audiobook – Unabridged
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Rankin uses a health scare to get in a mile of new character development in Rebus while Clarke and Fox's own character arcs plateau: Clarke continues as sharp but frustrated successor to Rebus (with hints of the job taking its toll on her) and Fox plods along hinting at brilliance while serving as somewhat inept foil to Clarke and Rebus. Some tension develops between Clarke and Fox when Fox is promoted to a post in the prestigious Gartcosh crime-fighting center, but it only serves to deliver some terse exchanges by SMS and the two making amends at the end of the story.
The crime and ensuing investigation at the heart of the story tacks too closely to clean, modern police stations and the domains of wealthy criminal organization heads. I missed the Edinburgh streets and underbelly of the earlier Rebus novels. Also, some key moments in the solving of the crime felt borderline deus ex machina with sudden developments that couldn't be broadly intuited, much less predicted.
But, as a long time Rebus fan, I did enjoy it, and look forward to a future novel with meaty development in the triangle of Rebus, Clarke and Fox.
Evidently, so did Ranking, which is why his writing has become better, it gave him more to write about. I kind of got a feeling that he'd written himself into a corner. No fears, he found a way to get the old boy out and about.
Rebus now has a paramour that is more than his foil, and his cohorts from the old days: Clarke and Fox have become more visible characters, so it isn't just Rebus' brooding that is carrying the weight of the novel. And then there is the character of Bir Ger Rafferty, a soulmate/antagonist for Rebus, a worthy foe in a game of cat and mouse.
It almost didn't matter what the crime is, in this case a murder of a society wife who was murdered under mysterious circumstances years ago in a hotel where a rock band was staying, and an attempted attack on one of the villains that had put Rafferty out of business.
Indeed, the typical Rankin formula, and believe me when I say that it is a great formula, because Rankin had my attention every step of the way, even though I know his style.
As I said before, it isn't the mystery it self that matters, it is the characters, how they have grown, and how Rankin manages to weave the characters into each others story line that is of greater interest.
The man delivers, once again.