Ian Rankin






Orion Books, 2007
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill

Detective Inspector John Rebus is just ten days away from retirement. At his age, retirement is mandatory. He is trying not to think about what he’s going to do with his life once he doesn’t have work.

A dissident Russian poet who has lived in Scotland for a number of year is found beaten to death on the street. Although Rebus is the ranking officer, his deputy, Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke, is put in charge. She still has Rebus to advise her but this is Siobhan’s first case in which she is the leading investigator. The investigation takes them to a Russian businessman wanting to invest in Scotland, Scottish Nationalist MPs, and John Rebus’ arch-enemy, Morris (“Big Ger”) Cafferty.

Rebus doesn’t want to end his career without one last chance at bringing Big Ger to justice. However, the evidence of Big Ger’s involvement is flimsy at best. The temporary assignment to CID of a young Police Constable whose grandfather Rebus was responsible for jailing further complicates things. Can Todd Goodyear be trusted?

Over the years Rankin’s John Rebus has gradually evolved from an outspoken detective at the top of his game into a sad and lonely figure taking more and more risks with his life and his career because he feels he has nothing to lose. In EXIT MUSIC, Rebus is bordering on self-destructive.

Rankin is one of the biggest names in UK Crime fiction and deservedly so. EXIT MUSIC is one of his best books to date. I found the book hard to put down and I couldn’t wait to pick it up again. I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

The author has used the old axiom, ‘write what you know’, and Edinburgh is vividly described, down to the decor of the pubs Rebus frequents. I imagine anyone who has ever visited the city would have no problems at all in visualising the locations.

Will this be the last of John Rebus? Rankin has left one or two things tantalisingly un-resolved. Perhaps he’ll be back, maybe as one of those retired officers they hire to review cold cases, although Rebus can’t see himself doing that. Or will Rebus bow out and leave the field clear for Siobhan Clarke to come into her own? There will be a promotion to take Rebus’ place, but will it be Clarke? No one knows except perhaps Ian Rankin himself and he’s not telling!

March 2008


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