Exit Music

This is the seventeenth and final novel in the Rebus series. While the plot is not the most endearing of the series (check for instance Fleshmarket Close), it is certainly a fitting ending. As in most of the recent novels, there is a political undercurrent, connecting some cynical Scottish nationalists with Russian seedy entrepreneurs looking for oil deals. There are also the usual threads on Rebus’ musical tastes, on detectives more interested by career than by cases, on Edinburgh and Scotland, as well as the fairly recursive suspension of Rebus in the middle of the book for having overlooked the rules again once too many. Nonetheless, it is mostly about closing the case of Inspector Rebus himself. In a paradoxical twist, he ends up trying to protect his old nemesis Cafferty against a fellow policeman (and even to somehow resurrect him). The pressure to solve the crime that starts the novel by the end of his retirement week is well-set, even if the solution is rather predictable, and the corresponding tension in his ambiguous relation with his partner Siobhan is certainly as enjoyable as ever (and a wee more). It remains to be seen whether or not this is truly the announced retirement of Rebus or if Ian Rankin will keep capitalising on this most Edinburghian of cops: “He could not see himself ever leaving Edinburgh. It was the oxygen in his bloodstream, but still with mysteries to be explored. He’d lived there for as long as he’d been a cop, the two – job and city – becoming intertwined. Each new crime had added to his understanding, without that understanding ever coming near completion. Bloodstained past mingling with bloodstained present; Covenanters and commerce; a city of banking and brothels, virtue and vitriol…

One Response to “Exit Music”

  1. […] makes a good read nonetheless, thanks to the secondary characters. (It is easy to find links with Rankin’s Rebus, especially through the relation with the reporter’s daughter and the dependence on alcohol. […]

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