Description from the back of the book
In a shadowy, crumbling Edinburgh housing development, a junkie lies dead of an overdose, his body surrounded by signs of Satanic worship. Inspector John Rebus could call it an accident―but won’t. Now he’s got to scour the city―from the tunnels of its dark underbelly to the private sanctum of the upper crust―to find the perfect hiding place for a killer.John Rebus is the first detective on the scene after the body of a young man is discovered. The case seems straightforward enough, but Rebus follows up by talking to the young woman who reported the death. She and the victim had been living in the boarded up house where he was found She tells him that the body was in a different location in the house when she found him; also she is worried that someone is trying to kill her. All of this enforces Rebus's feeling that something more is going on.
Rankin does not paint a pretty picture of the police force in Edinburgh. This is the dark and gritty side of Edinburgh. The plot deals with corruption in the police department and in city government. I always like a story about corruption and how people deal with it.
There are hints of personal issues in Rebus's life but they never come to the forefront in this book. Two continuing characters are introduced: Detective Sergeant Brian Holmes, who does footwork for Rebus, and his boss, Detective Superintendent Watson. I especially enjoyed the sections involving Holmes.
This is our introduction to Rebus in this book:
John Rebus stared hard at the dish in front of him, oblivious to the conversation around the table, the background music, the flickering candles. He didn't really care about house prices in Barnton, or the latest delicatessen to be opened in the Grassmarket. He didn't much want to speak to the other guests—a female lecturer to his right, a male bookseller to his left—about… well, what ever they'd just been discussing. Yes, it was the perfect dinner party, the conversation as tangy as the starter course, and he was glad Rian had invited him. Of course he was. But the more he stared at the half lobster on his plate, the more an unfocussed despair grew within him. What had he in common with these people? Would they laugh if he told the story of the police alsatian and the severed head? No, they would not. They would smile politely, then bow their heads towards their plates, acknowledging that he was… well, different from them.This is not the best police procedural I have ever read, nor is it the worst. I found it believable, interesting, and it kept me turning the pages. I plan to continue reading the series, not the least because I have the next eight books in the series, plus a few more. And I have heard that the series gets better and better.
This is my first submission for the Read Scotland 2017 challenge hosted by Peggy. Peggy is now blogging at Peggy's Porch.
Publisher: St. Martins Paperbacks, 1997. Orig. pub. 1991.
Length: 210 pages
Series: John Rebus, #2
Setting: Edinburgh, Scotland
Genre: Police procedural
Source: I purchased my copy.