Thursday, April 29, 2010

a review of "Exit Music" [28]

Exit Music by Ian Rankin
(Little, Brown and Company, ISBN 978-0-316-01887-6)

It seems that Detective Inspector John Rebus, the very popular protagonist of some 20 books by Rankin, is about to retire from the Edinburgh police department in just a little over a week. But he will not be sitting on his laurels in these last days. No, he and his partner, Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke, are called to a crime scene of a man beaten to death in a small street, a man who turns out to be a rather well known Russian poet. Before you know it, Rebus finds himself in the midst of an investigation that includes Russian businessmen,  Scottish independence, crime bosses, Scottish bankers, politicians, and drugs.
As if that is not enough for one book, things get even more complicated when a second murder takes place, a man tied into the first investigation. To top it all off, one of Rebus's nemesis, the local crime boss Big Ger Cafferty, a man Rebus would love to take down before he retires, may be tied into the whole thing as well.

It is going to be a very busy week for Rebus.

As I said, this is the latest of many books in the Rebus series,  and I have not read any of the previous books in the series. But happily, it is not necessary to have done so to enjoy this one.
Now I will admit, not being familiar with the characters or the setting, it took a little while to get into the swing of the book. And even once you get into the book, I will warn you that it is complicated tale and it takes a bit of effort to keep the ins and outs of the various aspects of the plot all straight. But it is well worth the effort.

Rebus is a wonderful character, one that I will most certainly have to go back to the previous books to get to know better. He is a bit of a trouble maker in the force and many in power will not be unhappy to see him gone. He is a loner, enjoys his drink, has an interesting taste in music and a personal life we only get a hint of in this book. Now, there is some question whether Rankin will really retire him totally and the ending leaves open a few possibilities to see him in the future. But if he does, that leaves behind the also quite good character of Siobhan Clarke, someone who, one way or another, I hope we see again in the future as well as a few aspects of this story that could be wrapped up.

A very well written, if rather complex, police procedural, with some excellent characters, an interesting setting, strongly recommended for fans of police mysteries.

My thanks to Tutu's Two Cents, from whom I won a copy of this book.


  1. I've had this one on the pile since I ran that contest! I decided to read another Rhebus first, which I thoroughly enjoyed and am looking forward to reading several in the series. I really must tho get to Exit Music....I owe them a review. Of course, I could just refer them to your more than excellent testament.

  2. I've got to try one of Rankin's books - I know he has tons of fans!

  3. I actually just read Knots and Crosses (the first in the series) during the read-a-thon, and it was a good yarn. Slightly typical plot, but the characters were great. I intend to try to work my way through the series at some point, little by little. Good to know he hasn't lost his mojo!

  4. Tina, I am glad to know, as behind as I am, that I reached it

    Kathy, yes, he has a huge number fans...which can be good or bad ..(look at the number of daVinci Code sold) But so far, in this case it seems to be deserved.

    Sandy, this one had what I thought was an interesting twist to the conclusion. But admittedly, a lot of the appeal is in the strong characters.
    and I too have Knots and Crosses around here somewhere...

  5. I have wanted to read an Inspector Rebus novel for quite some time. I am afraid that compulsive tendencies require me to start with the first in the first in the series.

    This one sounds like a good one, though.

  6. Molly, I certainly understand that feeling. which is why I bought the first one in the series...but with 20 books, it would have been a long time until I had gotten to this one...
    Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do! lol

  7. What a way to end a long career. I think Rebus deserves a break after that long a career.


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