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Standing in Another Man's Grave (edition 2012)

by Ian Rankin

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6194115,730 (3.92)52
Member:Amsa1959
Title:Standing in Another Man's Grave
Authors:Ian Rankin
Info:Orion (2012), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:2013, crime, Scotland, police

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Standing in Another Man's Grave by Ian Rankin

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Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this latest addition to the Rebus canon but I found it somewhat disturbing. Rebus takes the law into his own hands and goes to the very edge of acceptability in his justifiable pursuit of justice. Rankin seems to be suggesting that the police force in Scotland can’t be trusted to get it right and that therefore an outsider like Rebus has to help them out.

I agree with other reviewers that this is much a study in character as it is a procedural. Rebus has become a civilian attached to the cold case unit but clearly he doesn’t accept this role and tries to edge his way back in. In fact he dithers between trying to return to a traditional role as police detective and being effectively a PI conducting his own investigation and tipping the balance in favour of justice. In the process, he corrupts Siobhan Clarke.

This is not an original plot idea. Poirot did the same thing in his final case – in fact Poirot acted as executioner when he realised that the criminal would never be brought to justice. At least Rebus stopped short of that!

But if Malcolm Fox doesn’t catch up with him, where the hell else can Rebus go now? ( )
  DavidKilner | Apr 7, 2014 |
John Rebus comes out of retirement to work on the cold case unit. He works as a civilian with no police authority. He doesn't like his superior and maintains his reputation as a loner and not a team player.

A woman comes to his office and asks for his help in finding her daughter who has been missing for twelve years. Her daughter was age eighteen when she disappeared. Rebus promises to look into it but doesn't have much hope.

He gets the files out of this girl and other missing girls of the time frame. He discovers enough similarities that he thinks a serial killer might be at work. He brings his findings to an old friend, Siobhan Clark who is now a deputy inspector.

In a side story there is an officer in internal affairs who is after Rebus. He doesn't like Rebus and thinks that since he has a gangster for a friend, he might be passing information to him. In fact, Rebus saved the man's life and the man, Cafferty, likes to stop by Rebus's flat and go for drinks with him.

Rebus goes to northern Scotland and learns more about the missing girls. Soon, he has a suspect but has difficulty getting enough information on the suspect.

The most engaging part of the novel is Rebus's smooth narrative when speaking to other law enforcement personnel or with suspects. It also shows his ability to get other people to help him with his investigation.

As a story of a serial killer, the story is engrossing. There are some surprises and roadblocks placed in Rebus's path but he overcomes them. His development as a character is well done and we see him as an older man who enjoys drinking, cigarettes and has a poor diet. He is also thinking about re-applying to get back on the job. ( )
1 vote mikedraper | Mar 6, 2014 |
This is a good, solid addition to the Rebus canon. It's not surprising, and it doesn't seem to me as intellectually or politically ambitious as some of the earlier ones. It's more a novel of character than a social novel -- which is fine. I enjoyed being back in Rebus's gruff, sodden company.
1 vote rmaitzen | Feb 7, 2014 |
John Rebus is retired, sort of. He now works cold cases, sorting through dusty cartons of old files, looking for the missed clue or the piece of evidence modern technology might be able to unlock. It gets him up in the morning, limits his drinking and gives shape to his life. In Standing in Another Man's Grave, Rebus is drawn into a current investigation when a series of disappearances is shown to be possibly linked. Rebus is both part of and excluded from the investigation. He's no longer a real police officer and the center of the crimes being investigated is in the north of Scotland, not in his familiar turf of Edinburgh. But he's the one who drew the connections to the eyes of the investigators and he has a talent for hanging around where he's not officially supposed to be. His old-fashioned methods may be frowned upon, but they show results, even if those results might not hold up in court.

I'm probably alone in this, but when Ian Rankin announced that Rebus was retiring, I thought that it was none too soon. I've loved Rankin's books about the cranky detective who alienates many of his colleagues and isn't adverse to a wee bit of violence from the beginning. But Rebus grew jaded over the years and his cutting of corners had less and less to do with necessity than habit. Rankin began a series featuring a new investigator, Malcolm Fox, who looked into the criminal and unethical behavior of cops and who was as different from Rebus as it was possible to be. I liked Fox, tightly wound and diligent, and I was enjoying getting to know him. He and Rebus were, under the skin, more similar than either would admit; both dedicated to their jobs and lonely. I began looking forward to the new Fox novel in the way I had once anticipated the new Rebus.

Then Rankin brought Rebus back. The short break has done both author and character good, with this novel being among the best in the series. I'd be happy if Rankin divided his attention between these two characters, but this book indicates that this will not be the case as in it Rankin has transformed the complex and diligent character he spent two books developing into a one-dimensional bad guy who jumps out of dark corners to threaten Rebus while twirling his villain's mustache. So while I was happy to have a solid crime novel to enjoy, I'm disappointed with what Rankin has done to his new protagonist. Ian Rankin has some 'splaining to do. ( )
2 vote RidgewayGirl | Nov 26, 2013 |
Loved it. By 50 pages in I felt like I had walked into the Oxford Bar and all my old friends were there: Rebus, DI Clarke, Big Ger Cafferty, and others. Very comforting. Enjoyed it immensely. ( )
1 vote richardcjennings | Nov 11, 2013 |
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RIP Jackie Leven
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He'd made sure he wasn't standing too near the open grave.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Two Scottish detectives investigate the disappearance of a hitchhiking teenage girl, their only clue a photo sent from the missing girl's cell phone.

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