BY IAN RANKIN
It's late in the fall in Edinburgh and late in the career of Detective Inspector John Rebus. As he is simply trying to tie up some loose ends before his retirement, a new case lands on his desk: a dissident Russian poet has been murdered in what looks like a mugging gone wrong. Rebus discovers that an elite delegation of Russian businessmen is in town, looking to expand its interests. And as Rebus's investigation gains ground, someone brutally assaults a local gangster with whom he has a long history. Has Rebus overstepped his bounds for the last time? Only a few days shy of the end to his long, controversial career, will Rebus even make it that far?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
"I grew up in a small coal-mining town in central Scotland. I was always interested in stories. Even though the town had no book stores (and my parents were not great readers), I made full use of the local library. It was mind-boggling to me that (at the age of 11 or 12) I could not gain access to a movie theatre to see such classics as 'The Godfather', 'A Clockwork Orange' or 'Straw Dogs', yet no one stopped me from borrowing these titles from my library. Books seemed to have about them a whiff of the illicit and the dangerous. That was all the encouragement I needed. I went to university in 1978, joined a punk band (on vocals), and continued to write a lot of song lyrics and poems. However, I found that my poems were actually 'telling stories', and so started to write short stories.
A few of these found publication and even won some awards. Then one story raged out of control and became my first novel. It was never published, but that didn't matter: I was now a novelist. I stumbled on Detective Inspector John Rebus by accident while attempting to write an update of 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde': Rebus would be my Jekyll, his Hyde a character from his past. Along the way, I discovered that a cop is a good 'tool', a way of looking at contemporary society, its rights and wrongs. Rebus, I decided, would stick around. Meantime, I finished unviersity, moved to London for four years (where I worked first as a college secretary, later as a hi-fi/audio journalist), then rural France for six years. Both my sons were born in France. By the time the oldest had reached school age, we'd decided to move back to Scotland. I now live and work in Edinburgh, and the Rebus novels have gone from strength to strength in terms of sales and recognition.
My favorite we site is www.oxfordbar.com - the official web site of Rebus's favourite Edinburgh tavern!
Favorite/inspirational books include: pretty much anything by James Ellroy, Ruth Rendell, Raymond Chandler. Plus classics of Scottish Literature such as Robert Louis Strevenson's 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', James Hogg's 'Confessions of a Justified Sinner', and Muriel Spark's 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie'. If I had to choose a few others to take to my desert island, I'd probably opt for Martin Amis's 'Money', Anthony Burgess's 'Earthly Powers', Anthony Powell's 'A Dance to the Music of Time' and Ian McEwan's 'First Love, Last Rites'.
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