Rather Be The Devil

By: Ian Rankin

This was a discovery at my library. I was looking for a good mystery to sink my teeth into. This book featured a retired detective named John Rebus. Now that he has all this free time, he asks an associate (on the sly) to bring him a cold case file about a socialite who was killed, over thirty years ago, in a hotel the same night a famous rock star and his entourage stayed there. There is also a current day investigation which ties into this past mystery.

This book is part of a much larger series. I give the author credit for making me feel a part of these character’s lives even though I haven’t read any of the other books in the series.My guess is John Rebus is recently retired and is an active detective in the other books. He has long established friendships with the younger officers. I’m not sure if he was their official mentor or if he ever partnered with any of them, but his relationship with them is sort of fatherly in an I- know-more-than-you, kind of way. (Plus he’s a wise guy.)

I enjoyed the characters. Their personal lives came through as authentic. There was a (former romantic) relationship between two of the detectives, Siobhan Clake and Malcolm Fox, I’m guessing here, and a definite falling out over Malcolm Fox’s promotion.

So, did I enjoy the book?  In some ways yes, and some ways no. It could definitely be read this as a stand alone, but I think it would  be more enjoyable if I read some earlier books in the series, especially if John Rebus is an active detective.

I did get confused about a quarter of the way into the book. While the dialogue was good it wasn’t always clear who was speaking. Partly because the author references the characters by their first name, then in other areas references them by their last name. Keep introducing characters and all of sudden, confusion. I eventually straightened it out in my mind.

If you enjoy detective stories or police procedurals I would give these books a try.

I’m definitely going back for more. 🙂

Three and 1/2 stars.



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