While browsing through a book stall in London, in 2002, I found Ian Rankin's "Black & Blue", the winner of the 1997 CWA MacAllan Gold Dagger Award. The book was also short-listed for the Mystery Writers of America 'Edgar" award for best novel. I decided to try it. It looked interesting enough and hefty enough (490 pages) to get me back home, so I think I can say that I "met" John Rebus in a waiting room at Heathrow Airport and got to know him as I crossed the Atlantic. Wow. I could not put it down.
When I decided that it was time to list my Ian Rankin books here, I decided to read this one again. Wow. STILL good.
Should I ever make it to Edinburgh, I'm going to look for the pubs and bars mentioned and, who knows, I might run into John Rebus!
If you like police mysteries, set in Scotland you will like this one.
Inspector John Rebus (my favorite of all the mystery detectives) investigates a situation with a murdered oil-rig worker from the North Sea, a copycat serial killer and a reopened case. If that was not enough, there is always the weather in Edinburgh.
Bible John killed three women, and took three souvenirs. Johnny Bible killed to steal his namesake's glory. Oilman Allan Mitchelson died for his principles. And convict Lenny Spaven died just to prove a point. "Bible John" terrorized Glasgow in the sixties and seventies, murdering three women he met in a local ballroom--and he was never caught. Now a copycat is at work. Nicknamed "Bible Johnny" by the media, he is a new menace with violent ambitions.
The Bible Johnny case would be perfect for Inspector John Rebus, but after a run-in with a crooked senior officer, he's been shunted aside to one of Edinburgh's toughest suburbs, where he investigates the murder of an off-duty oilman. His investigation takes him north to the oil rigs of Aberdeen, where he meets the Bible Johnny media circus head-on. Suddenly caught in the glare of the television cameras and in the middle of more than one investigation, Rebus must proceed with caution: One mistake could mean an unpleasant and not particularly speedy death, or, worse still, losing his job.
Written with Ian Rankin's signature wit, style and intricacy, Black and Blue is a novel of uncommon and unforgettable intrigue.
This was another great Inspector Rebus read. The characters were interesting and the plot took us from Edinburgh to Glasgow, Aberdeen, an offshore oil rig, and the Shetland Islands. All these locations contributed greatly to the atmosphere of the novel. Rankin mixes both his fictional account of "Johnny Bible" and his theories on Bible John ( a real life serial killer who is still at large) in this tale involving drug dealing, murder and gangsters in Scotland's three major cities. There are a lot of twists and red herrings throughout but it is Rebus' struggles with his own personal demons that make it a worthwhile read.