THE FALLS: An Inspector Rebus Novel
Ian Rankin, . . St. Martin's Minotaur, $24.95 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-312-20610-9
A number one U.K. bestseller, Rankin's 13th novel featuring Scottish Det. Insp. John Rebus may be his breakout book in the U.S. Rankin's brilliant evocation of a moody Edinburgh, deeply human characters and labyrinthine plot give dimension to this always absorbing series. With his stubborn insistence on tying up the frayed ends of every knotty clue, and iconoclastic refusal to be a team player, hard-drinking Rebus is a bane to his superiors but a blessing to readers. University student Philippa Balfour, daughter of the powerful head of a private bank, disappears; the few clues are incongruous—a puzzling Internet role-playing game she participated in and a doll in a tiny wooden coffin found near her discordant family's home. Rebus's assistant, Det. Constable Siobhan Clarke, tackles the mysterious Internet game; Rebus ignores his superiors by obsessively following the coffin's obscure historical implications, aided by museum curator Jean Burchill, a friend of newly appointed Det. Chief Supt. Gill Templer and a promising anodyne to Rebus's lonely personal life. Readers won't be able to skim this dark, densely written novel, but they won't want to. Artfully placed red herrings, a large cast of multifaceted characters and a gripping pace will keep them engrossed. And Rebus is a character whose devils and idiosyncrasies will leave them eager for more.
Reviewed on: 10/01/2001