Genre: Detective Fiction
Narrative Style: Third person from various points of view
Synopsis: John Rebus is in trouble. So much trouble that he has been sent back to cop school to re-learn how to be a team player. There he meets with a group of equally disgruntled and mis-behaving cops but why is he especially interested in three of them? Meanwhile Siobhan Clarke is working the death of an art dealer and although they have a suspect, she is unconvinced. Could there be a link between her case and Rebus’ tribe of bad cops?
Reading Challenges: Full House Reading Challenge – Genre – Plot twist.
You know it’s going to be a good Rebus novel when it starts with the surly detective throwing a mug of tea at his superior officer, Gill Templer. He is then stuck onto a training course with other equally badly behaved coppers. It’s apparent straightaway that all is not quite what it seems and Rebus is there for more than just his own betterment. This is the first plot twist in a typically twisty effort.
All of the typical elements are here. Rebus goes to extremes in trying to out the corrupt cops and quickly gets in over his head. There in the background is his nemesis, Big Ger Caffety, fingers in all of the pies but also as usual, nothing can be pinned on him. Then there is Clarke and her new partner trying to solve the murder of art dealer, Eddie Marber. Clarke is a compelling character worthy perhaps of a series of her own. Not that she plays second fiddle to Rebus. They are both interesting leading characters.
This hooked me straightaway. Reading about Rebus’ exploits always involves a certain level of despair and worry as to whether this will be the time he finally gets caught. When he comes up with a scheme to steal some drugs from a warehouse in order to test the three cops he is supposed to be flushing out, you know it is not going to go smoothly. (It did make me wonder why you would choose such a loose canon as Rebus to do something so sensitive but that is my only quibble.)
Some of the twists were easy to work out. It is apparent that Rebus is acting when he throws the mug of tea before his ulterior motive is revealed. But Rankin to get the balance right, offering just the right amount of hints to the reader while not revealing everything. I was actually worried for Rebus’ life when at the end, he is kidnapped by the rogue cops. Of course, I knew he must survive because this is the middle of the series but quite how that would happen, I didn’t know. The best twist I feel was the way that the drugs were able to be stolen. I won’t reveal it because its just too good a moment when you read it for yourself. Sometimes it’s good to be fooled when it’s by someone who so clearly knows how to do it.