Reviewed by Helen Lloyd
Mike Mackenzie is very rich and very bored, so when a friend suggests the
perfect crime he is more than a little interested. Professor Robert
Gissing, the head of the Art School, annoyed about the amount of art
locked away from public view, in private collections and warehouses,
proposes the "repatriation of some of those poor imprisoned works of art".
Mike, Gissing and another friend, banker Allan Cruikshank, devise a plan
to use the annual Doors Open day to steal a number of paintings from the
National Gallery of Scotland's warehoused collection and make it appear
that nothing is actually missing. As their plans begin to take shape they
realise they are going to need some "professional" help. A chance
encounter with Chib Calloway, a local gangster and an old school
acquaintance of Mike's, suddenly makes it all possible.
But it all starts to go very wrong when Mike finds he is much more deeply
involved in the criminal world than he ever wanted to be. Bringing Chib
into the plan may not have been such a good idea after all. But Chib is
not their only worry – there's the dogged policeman, the talented but
dangerously mischievous student, the greedy girlfriend, not to mention the
very large Norwegian bikie called Hate.
DOORS OPEN is the eagerly awaited first post-Rebus book by Ian Rankin. It
is not a totally new work, but a reworked and extended version of a
serialised story originally written for the New York Times. Set in the
Edinburgh art world, it is a very different environment to that inhabited
by Rebus, however there are some common themes. The two faces of Edinburgh
again feature strongly and the association of characters from both sides
has echoes of Rebus and Cafferty, but Mike and Chib are quite different
characters, and their relationship is very different as well.
While DOORS OPEN does not have the depth of the Rebus books, it is written
with Rankin's usual flair, and so can't fail to entertain. It doesn't
pretend to be anything other than what it is - a terrific fast paced
thriller. Fairly lightweight but with a dark edge, the plot has enough
twists and turns to make for a satisfying read. The book really comes into
its own in the last third when it becomes much edgier, and I had trouble
putting it down from that point. Much as I enjoyed this book, I'm hoping
that Rankin was just using it as a palate cleanser before returning to
something with a bit more substance.
Nov 2008 review originally posted on Murder and Mayhem
All cover art used at Reviewer's Choice Reviews is copyrighted by the
respective publisher. All reviews and articles found at Reviewer's Choice
Reviews are the sole property of the contributor and are copyrighted by