Sunday, June 2, 2013

Strip Jack

Inspector John Rebus may be congenitally incapable of happiness.  Either that, or he's incredibly unlucky.  His new relationship seems to be failing from the start, he's a pawn in the battle between his alcoholic boss and the man who wants to replace him, and he's dealing with three totally unrelated crimes (a politician named Gregor Jack caught in a prostitution sting, stolen rare books, and a homeless murder suspect who's disappeared).  Normally, I'd consider it too coincidental for these three threads to tie together, but Ian Rankin manages to combine them cleanly, and with a murder - that of Jack's wife.  As Rebus investigated her wealthy, fast-lane friends and Jack's "old gang," it becomes clear that Jack has been betrayed and doesn't know it.  The final scenes, with the murderer holding Jack hostage before being chased through a wooded area during a thunderstorm are a bit contrived, but somehow the book held together for me.

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