Saints of the Shadow Bible

Ian Rankin. Little, Brown, $26 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-22455-0
John Rebus comes out of retirement in Edgar-winner Rankin's stellar 20th novel featuring the Edinburgh cop (after 2013's Standing in Another Man's Grave). Rebus, though, must accept a demotion—from detective inspector to detective sergeant—not that he cares about rank. It's the case that counts, which in this entry involves "conspiracies, connections and coincidences." Malcolm Fox, the officer in charge of the Complaints department (the Scottish version of Internal Affairs), leads an investigation into whether a fast and loose group of cops in the mid-1980s known as the Saints of the Shadow Bible might have tainted a murder trial back when Rebus was a young officer. Rankin deftly ties the old case into a fresh one that begins with a seemingly routine car accident involving the daughter of a powerful businessman that soon expands to involve the suspicious death of the public face of the Scottish nationalist movement. The immense and intricate canvas includes dozens of characters, plots within plots, and multiple themes, from Scottish independence to the insidiousness of corruption, public and private. Too much may be going on at times for some readers, but distinctive characters (including Edinburgh itself) make the book memorable. "The good guys are never all good and the bad ones never all bad," says Rebus, and that certainly applies to Rebus himself, willful, determined, and droll. 8-city author tour. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/23/2013
Release date: 01/14/2014
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