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Some people retire gracefully. John Rebus is not some people. It turns out that after leaving the Lothian and Borders Police (in 2007's Exit Music), bad penny Rebus has returned to the fold as a civilian employee of a cold case unit. Presumably never having seen New Tricks on the telly and so being unaware of how to act properly in those circumstances, Rebus can only resort to his bag of old tricks: getting up the nose of his superiors, meeting regularly with crime kingpin "Big Ger" Cafferty, drinking more than he should, mentoring Siobhan Clarke, much to her professional detriment-and solving crimes. Armed with only a laminated guest pass and an industrial-strength dose of tartan chutzpah, Rebus, when he gets wind of a possible serial killer operating along the A9, the roadway snaking through the desolate landscape between Perth and Inverness, takes his long-running show on the road. Verdict Fans of this landmark series, now in its 25th year, will cry "Hosannah!" at Rebus's triumphal return. That the mandatory retirement age for the police force has been raised and Rebus is thinking of re-upping (if he can pass the physical) bode well for the future. As Arthur Conan Doyle might attest, it's bloody hard to keep a good detective down. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/12.]-Bob Lunn, Kansas City, MO (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Rebus is back! Well, you didn't really think Rankin's cantankerous Edinburgh copper would stay retired, did you? Rankin has moved on since Rebus' retirement party in Exit Music (2008), beginning a new series starring another Edinburgh cop, Malcolm Fox, but Fox couldn't be more different from Rebus: a reformed drunk rather than a functioning one; a rule follower rather than a habitual rule breaker; and, most important, an internal-affairs officer rather than a detective. Oil and water, right? So who could resist the temptation to put them together in the same novel? It turns out Rebus has been spending his time since retirement as a civilian volunteer in a cold-case unit; one of those cold cases, the 15-year-old disappearance of a young woman, turns very hot when Rebus finds a connection to several more recent disappearances. His bloodhound's scent aroused, the detective is on the trail with a vengeance, crossing lines and bending rules just like in his salad days, which, naturally, brings him afoul of Fox, who abhors Rebus' nonconformity and is convinced the maverick must be dirty. (Or is he just jealous of his worst enemy's prowess as a detective?) Crime-fiction readers are trained to hate internal-affairs cops, but Rankin made us see Fox's humanity in The Complaints (2011) and The Impossible Dead (2011); now he sets the IA guy against our favorite bullheaded maverick. Ambiguity has never tasted so bittersweet. A gutsy experiment on Rankin's part and a completely successful one. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Crime-fiction fans will swarm when the news of Rebus' return spreads, and Rankin won't disappoint them.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist