Death Is Not the End: An Inspector Rebus Novella by Ian Rankin
Inspector John Rebus of Edinburgh's finest has been knocking readers' socks off for years, in 10 full-length police procedurals by Ian Rankin that star the thoughtful, intelligent Scot. In this neat little novella, he does in 73 pages what many of his peers take three times as long to do--set an interesting scene, solve a crime, develop a character, and allow him to grow and change without sacrificing either pace or plot. Agreeing to track down the missing son of his high school sweetheart and her husband, a friend of his youth, Rebus takes the reader into the gritty back streets and criminal byways of Edinburgh, following Damon Mee from the nightclub where he was last seen through gambling casinos, football matches, and face-to-face encounters with the mobsters who may have been involved in his disappearance. Along the way Rebus confronts his own mortality, the choices he's made, and the obligations he owes his past. The theme of vanishing was spun off from Dead Souls, a full- length novel; according to Rankin, he wrote this brief but fully-realized piece first, then cannibalized part of it as a sub-plot for Dead Souls, "while altering the histories of the characters involved so that both can be read independently." Which is why American fans who haven't yet read Dead Souls will pick it up right after this one. Death Is Not the End is short enough to read on a shuttle flight and still have time for a nap. But like Rankin's other solid Rebus stories, it will stay with you even after you wake up. --Jane Adams
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Novella retells novel subplot, July 13, 2000
from Marathon, FL USA
Ian Rankin writes crisp, dark, atmospheric police procedurals set in Edinburgh featuring Inspector John Rebus, a brooding loner with occasional regrets, given to bottling his strong feelings. Rankin's unadorned, complexly nuanced writing, his ability to breathe life into characters as much with what is not said as what is, makes the series a particular stand-out. Since his novella "Death Is Not the End," focuses on a subplot in Rankin's 1999 novel "Dead Souls," I expected a sequel. But as Rankin explains in a note at the end, the novella was written first. The story concerns a missing young man, 23 years old, the son of an old highschool girlfriend. The narrative follows Rebus' investigation over much the same time period as "Dead Souls," though Rankin extended his investigation in the novel. And there is a different subplot featuring crooked casino operators. New readers, or those who missed "Dead Souls" will enjoy the journey into Edinburgh's seamy side - the grim amorality of those who make their living from "punters" - and Rebus' exploration of his own past and the choices that have made him who he is.