cover image Let It Bleed: A John Rebus Mystery

Let It Bleed: A John Rebus Mystery

Ian Rankin. Simon & Schuster, $21 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-684-83055-1

At the start of Rankin's powerful and absorbing latest tale, Edinburgh Detective Inspector John Rebus (Mortal Causes, etc.) looks on helplessly as two young kidnapping suspects avoid capture by diving to their deaths from the icy Forth Road Bridge. Unable to drink away that image, Rebus must investigate another suicide. Ex-con ""Wee Shug"" McAnally shotgunned himself as local government councilor Tom Gillespie watched in horror. Rebus believes that McAnally chose his witness carefully, but when political higher-ups pressure the police brass, Rebus is forced off the inquiry. Pursuing his hunches with covert help from sympathetic colleagues, Rebus tries to decipher a document that might connect the suicides to development plans for ""Silicon Glen,"" home of Edinburgh's computer industry. His suspicions increase when influential Scots hint at rewards if he'll let the case slide. Rebus sorts out these machinations while battling loneliness, toothache (it figures in the solution), alienation from his daughter and the tense reappearance of a former lover, Gill Templer, as his new boss. Rankin portrays an intriguingly complex Scotland, where a good copper, battling frigid winds and cruel manipulators, needs plenty of warming whiskey and selfless friends. (Dec.)