When an author as successful as Rankin has been with his tough and idiomatic Scottish thrillers, a problem sets in after several books: how to keep the formula fresh.
Rankin has delivered a powerful series of books featuring his beleaguered Detective Inspector John Rebus, and while never less than gripping, a certain tiredness seemed to be setting in. Thankfully, Dead Souls is a resounding return to form, with a plot as enjoyably labyrinthine as any Rankin enthusiast could wish for, and pithy dialogue that fairly leaps off the page. Stalking the streets of Edinburgh on the trail of a poisoner, Rebus hits upon a freed pedophile and his subsequent outing of the man leaves him with very mixed feelings. But another problem develops for Rebus: a convicted murderer has him in his sights for some lethal games. And the tabloid press lionizing of Rebus won't help him in this situation.
As always, Rankin is perfectly ready to tackle contentious issues--precisely the thing that gives his books their powerful sense of veracity. And Rebus, no longer in danger of having a soap opera-like accumulation of personal problems, seems as fresh and well-observed a character as in those first exhilarating books. Rankin has caught his form again, with even more assurance. --Barry Forshaw, Amazon.co.uk--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Rebus is torturing himself and making his bosses mad..., September 5, 2003 Reviewer: Karen Sadler from Freedom, Pa. USA Rebus is one of the best cop protagonists out in the market today. He is a very complex person, who is no longer sure of himself or of the job he is supposed to be doing as a detective inspector in Edinburgh. His family is broken up, his daughter injured in an 'accident' that was intended for him, his relationship with his new significant other is on the rocks, and his relationship with his bosses is in the toilet. Probably from his rather unorthodox methods. Rebus is not afraid to mingle with the morally-challenged underside of Edinburgh... he makes his own rules up as he goes, and that particular trait of his tends to get him in trouble. In this book, Rebus has way too many strings to hold onto. A young man has gone missing who just happens to be the son of one of Rebus' old flames. The U.S. is ever-so-nicely sending home a known serial murderer, who continues to wreck as much havoc as possible in Scotland. Rebus also gets involved in another case concerning a pedophile (I hate reading books on that particular topic!), and the embarrassment leads to bad press for the cops. Rankin is a good writer. Trouble is he puts way too many off-shoot plots in his books. It makes it very difficult to keep track of these guys and the plots. I do like Rankin's ability to characterize. His characters come across as real people, with real problems, and this is one of the traits I look for in books. Karen Sadler