Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin – review

Old soldiers may never die and John Rebus hopefully will never fade away. After a couple of years in retirement he’s back as a civilian consultant on cold cases (which seems to be becoming a trend in resurrecting protagonists in crime fiction). In the course of this work he is informed by the mother of a girl who disappeared many years before that her daughter may have been the first in a series of disappearances ( and presumably murders) along a northern highway (serial murders apparently are becoming de rigeur among retired detectives as well). And Rebus is off to the wars, albeit with no official standing.

Rebus worms his way into an active investigation with the help of his old sidekick, Siobhan Clarke. And he uses all the old techniques frowned upon by his old nemesis, Malcolm Fox, of the Complaints, including consorting with the likes of gangsters such as Rafferty to gain information. While a massive police force goes about the investigation by the book, of course Rebus goes it alone.

It’s good to have Rebus back, and hopefully more is in store because the rules have been changed and he has applied for reinstatement. All he has to do is pass the physical. Can he do so, despite all that hard liquor and cigarettes? And, of course, if successful, Fox is looking forward to Rebus making a colossal mistake on the job to justify his enmity.

As with all the previous novels in the series, this one is highly recommended.

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