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Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin
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Saints of the Shadow Bible

by Ian Rankin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Inspector Rebus (19), Malcolm Fox (4)

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Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
Inspector Rebus and Malcolm Fox meets in this book, with the plot surrounding Rebus. Fox plays a secondary role, with Ian Rankin giving him credit for solving the Saunders case, one of three deaths in the book. Rankin builds up carefully to an ending that is too rushed. It was weird that Forbes McCuskey and Jessica Traynor would be so interested in a dead body in a car, and that Traynor senior chose to kill Rory Bell at his daughter's flat instead of asking to meet him somewhere else. ( )
  siok | May 21, 2017 |
John Rebus, newly returned to the force and rescued temporarily from an obscure retirement. The main condition of his reinstatement is the demotion of his rank from Detective Inspector to Detective Sergeant. He is working under the auspices of Siobhan Clarke who ironically is now promoted to DI, of no real concern to Rebus as he is just pleased to have been returned to his old hunting ground.

Rebus and Clarke arrive at the scene of an accident; a VW Golf travelling at speed suddenly leaves the road and impacts with an oak tree. It would appear there is only one casualty, Jessica Traynor, but Rebus is suspicious that Traynor was not actually the driver and is covering for this unknown person who has fled the scene. As with all Rankin books events as initially portrayed rarely tell the truth and as avid fans will be pleased to know, on closer investigation, our two intrepid heroes discover unscrupulous underhand activity with political undertones. The author is very fond of introducing a secondary plot and usually involves John Rebus at a different time in his career. Malcolm Fox (just returned from the Complaints/Professional Standards dept) is investigating a newly reopened 30 year old case. At that time it could be argued that police enforcement was more akin to an episode of "Life on Mars" (British tv series 2007 where officers were content to physically abuse a suspect in order to attain a confession) and Fox is tasked with investigating the suspicious death of Douglas Merchant, the seemingly unreliable evidence of snitch Billy Saunders, and the shadowy underhand involvement of "Saint of the Shadow Bible" a number of police colleagues who swore a bond on something called the shadow bible.

However, all of the above is I feel incidental to what is really at the heart of Ian Rankin's writing; his Scottishnes and his unbelievable drawing of characters, in particular John Rebus. Rebus is an isolated individual, separated from his wife Rhona and daughter Samantha, living a lonely existence in his Marchmont flat, surrounded by his booze, cigarettes and endless vinyl records of 70's/80's music icons...."He led the way up two flights of stairs to the door to his flat. Unlocked it and scooped up the mail before switching on the hallway light. She followed him into the living room. The ashtray next to his armchair needed emptying. A couple of beer bottles sat alongside, plus an empty whisky glass." Rebus is best described as an old fashioned "dogged" copper, not for him meetings, protocols and endless google searches....and this is what makes us love him!..."She hadn't known John Rebus long, but she knew he was good at this, like a bloodhound given a scent and then left to do what it was best at. Form-filling and protocols and budget meetings were not Rebus's thing-never had been and never would be. His knowledge of the internet was rudimentary and his people skills were woeful....he was a breed of copper that wasn't supposed to exist anymore, a rare and endangered species."

D I Siobhan is the complimentary opposite to Rebus and holds a great respect and platonic love for him. She is highly intelligent and understands how JR operates, curtailing even cautioning him but values his deep understanding of the criminal mind and how it operates. She feels for him and worries about him; his out of control drinking, smoking, loneliness and what, she wonders, will finally become of him when he is no longer able to operate and contribute to the Scottish Constabulary.

I as a reader adore John Rebus, I see him as a real and living individual and for that I hold the greatest admiration for his creator Ian Rankin. I highly recommend this book and in closing this review leave the parting words to Detective Sergeant John Rebus..."I'm from the eighties, Peter- I'm not the newfangled touchy-feely model. Now get out of my f***ing car!" ( )
  runner56 | Dec 13, 2016 |



What's a "rebus"? The first time I came across the term was in a Stieg Larsson's novel, where he used it as a possible explanation for a mathematical equation.

Allow me: "Saints of the Shadow Bible" is not exactly "GR 8" (an example of a rebus...), but it comes pretty close.

I’ve been a longtime fan of Ian Rankin. One of the things that draws me the most into his work is his deliberate avoidance of the literary. Here I’m going to take the easy way out. I’m not going to define what I mean by “literary fiction” (thus avoiding sounding moronic), because everyone knows what the term means. Rankin’s books are on the other side of the “barricade”, ie, they’re mostly based on character studies and huge chunks of the real world.

Ian Rankin’s books always have me hooked from page one. He’s able to make the difficult seem easy. His technique is embedded with confidence, location, pace, wit, narrative, dialogue and wonderful detail of characterization that makes me forget I’m reading fiction and really believe I’ve been immersed in a true-crime investigation.

I’ve never needed to call up Suspension of Disbelief, which is a real killer for me writing-wise. That’s always the manifestation of a truly gifted writer.
" ( )
  antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
More and more of Rebus behaving badly. It became a little irritating, the whole "old cops used to do things their way and that's what got results, kids these days are just worried about their suits looking good on the telly".
Apparently, back in the day, Rebus used to be in a little clique called Saints of the Shadow Bible. Erm, a group of officers who worked at one police station shortly before it was closed, who were all a little bit prone to taking the law into their own hands. Will Rebus stick up for his old pals against Malcolm Fox, the Complaints man?
Well, no. He sits on the fence for a while and then his love of detecting and getting to the truth jumps in. Again, he is portrayed as dodgier than I imagine him which was a bit annoying. It passed a plane journey though. ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
This is a solid Rebus story, with the addition of Malcolm Fox as a supporting character. The old workmates that Rebus started with in the force were a shady lot and they're now all under investigation. Fox is part of the investigating team and doesn’t trust Rebus at all. Rebus is also looking into something that looks perfectly straight-forward, but he can sense something isn't right.
We follow Rebus trying to do a balancing act between supporting/investigating his old mates and also carrying on an investigation of a simple accident that turns out to be a lot more complicated that it first started to be. Siobhan is also on hand and shows herself to be a very competent Inspector and well worthy of her mentor, Rebus.
( )
  quiBee | Jan 21, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian Rankinprimary authorall editionscalculated
MacPherson, JamesReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The saints of the shadow bible following me
From bar to bar into eternity...
Jacki Leven, 'One Man, One Guitar'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Reinstated on the force, demoted, and wearing a chip on his shoulder, Rebus reteams with internal affairs officer, Malcolm Fox, to solve a cold case from 30 years ago in the 19th book in the Rebus series and the third one featuring Fox.

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