Sunday, October 22

Bleeding Hearts by Ian Rankin

Review by Theodore Feit


It's taken 12 years for this novel to cross the Atlantic, and the wait certainly was well worth it.  Originally published in the UK under the Jack Harvey pseudonym, it is still Rankin, although not a Rebus novel.   The Harvey books resulted from Rankin's publisher believing he could sell more than one novel a year, after the initial Rebus success, using another name.  Current editions show the author as Ian Rankin, of course.


Parenthetically. Rankin has been quoted in a Scottish newspaper as stating that he is going to end the Rebus series next year, so that there are only two new novels in that series to look forward to—one this fall and the finale.  Say it isn't so, Ian!  He said he's thinking of writing children's books.


Well, Bleeding Hearts is no children's tale.  It's about an assassin who shoots his victims through the heart on the theory that it's humane.  His latest assignment is a lady journalist, who he shoots as she is leaving a hotel with a lady politician.   It is complicated by the presence of an Eastern European diplomat, and the question arises who was the intended victim.  Was the hit a mistake?


The plot then develops because the police arrive almost simultaneously and Michael Weston, the shooter, believes he was set up.  He escapes capture narrowly through a ruse and decides to find out who hired him, something he usually never wants to know.   The journalist was investigating a cult, and it appears they might be responsible.


Michael chases all over England and the United States, where the main cult headquarters is located, before returning to England to discover the truth.  In his wake are a lot of bodies, and in the end the question of his distaste for continuing his profession is raised.


It may not be a Rebus Novel, but it certainly is a Rankin Book.  There hardly is any better praise.  A Rankin by any other name is still a Rankin.


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