When the leaders of the free world descend on Scotland for an international conference, every cop in the country is needed to control the mob of protestors in Edinburgh's streets . . . except one. Inspector John Rebus's reputation precedes him, so while Presidents Bush and Putin confer in isolated splendor, Rebus mans an empty police station, safely out of the way where he can't offend any visiting dignitaries.
Then a delegate falls to his death during a preconference dinner at Edinburgh Castle, and Rebus is given what looks like a simple suicide to write up. But even as he keeps it out of the headlines, Rebus probes where no probing is wanted-and doesn't like the sidesteps and powerplays his questions engender. And this week Edinburgh is a dangerous place to be: Rebus also investigates the death of a recently paroled rapist, murdered in a particularly grisly fashion. The discovery of more bodies leads Rebus to consider an unexpected and politically unacceptable possibility.
Amid political drama and street theater, and with egos on parade at every level, Rebus works the thorniest case he's ever encountered, with danger at a scale beyond his darkest imaginings. A state-of-the-world novel peopled by real characters, The Naming of the Dead is Rebus's most challenging case yet, and Edgar Award winner Ian Rankin at his very best.
At the start of Rankin's overly complex 18th book to feature Edinburgh's Insp. John Rebus (after 2005's Fleshmarket Alley), Ben Webster, a Scottish delegate to the Group of Eight summit, dies suspiciously a couple of days before the world's leaders gather in Scotland in 2005. While his colleagues are preoccupied by ensuring security at the conference, Rebus is devoting his energy to the murder of Cyril Colliar, a recently released violent sex offender. No one really cares about the case except for Rebus, and that's mainly because Colliar was muscle for Edinburgh's crime boss "Big Ger" Cafferty, with whom Rebus has tangled in earlier novels. Rebus is more than willing to flout authority in his dogged pursuit of Colliar's killer, who may be a vigilante intent on punishing rapists. Webster's death, never wholly resolved, does connect with Rebus's investigation, but the link is tenuous at best. Rankin deftly captures the mad circus-the media, the security, the demonstrators-of the G8 summit, but this background muddies the narrative waters. He's at his best when he focuses on Rebus and the city of Edinburgh itself. 6-city author tour. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . definitely read The Naming of the Dead
Posted May 09, 2009 by Nancy S. , HopatcongI love Ian Rankin and the Inspector Rebus series, and this book did not disappoint. I learn something interesting in every book and the settings are fascinating, the characters well-developed and the plot of this book will keep you "glued to the page". Read ths series in chronological order to save yourself some confusion. It's worth it-Rankin's books are fantastic.
Little, Brown and Company
April 01, 2007
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Excerpt from The Naming of the Dead by Ian Rankin
In place of a closing hymn, there was music. The Who, "Love Reign o'er Me." Rebus recognized it the moment it started, thunderclaps and teeming rain filling the chapel. He was in the front pew; Chrissie had insisted. He'd rather have been further back: his usual place at funerals. Chrissie's son and daughter sat next to her. Lesley was comforting her mother, an arm around her as the tears fell. Kenny stared straight ahead, storing up emotion for later. Earlier that morning, back at the house, Rebus had asked him his age. He would be thirty next month. Lesley was two years younger. Brother and sister looked like their mother, reminding Rebus that people had said the same about Michael and him: the pair of you, the spitting image of your mum. Michael...Mickey, if you preferred. Rebus's younger brother, dead in a shiny-handled box at the age of fifty-four, Scotland's mortality rate that of a third world nation. Lifestyle, diet, genes--plenty of theories. The full postmortem hadn't come through yet. Massive stroke was what Chrissie had told Rebus on the phone, assuring him that it was "sudden"--as if that made a difference.
Sudden meant Rebus hadn't been able to say good-bye. It meant his last words to Michael had been a joke about his beloved Raith Rovers soccer team in a phone call three months back. A Raith scarf, navy and white, had been draped over the coffin alongside the wreaths. Kenny was wearing a tie that had been his dad's, Raith's shield on it--some kind of animal holding a belt buckle. Rebus had asked the significance, but Kenny had just shrugged. Looking along the pew, Rebus saw the usher make a gesture. Everyone rose to their feet. Chrissie started walking up the aisle, flanked by her children. The usher looked to Rebus, but he stayed where he was. Sat down again so the others would know they didn't have to wait for him. The song was only a little more than halfway through. It was the closing track on Quadrophenia. Michael had been the big Who fan, Rebus himself preferring the Stones. Had to admit, though, albums like Tommy and Quadrophenia did things the Stones never could. Daltrey was whooping now that he could use a drink. Rebus had to agree, but there was the drive back to Edinburgh to consider. The function room of a local hotel had been booked. All were welcome, as the minister had reminded them from the pulpit. Whiskey and tea would be poured, sandwiches served. There would be anecdotes and reminiscences, smiles, dabs at the eyes, hushed tones. The staff would move quietly, out of respect. Rebus was trying to form sentences in his head, words that would act as his apology.
I need to get back, Chrissie. Pressure of work.
He could lie and blame the G8. That morning in the house, Lesley had said he must be busy with the buildup. He could have told her, I'm the only cop they don't seem to need. Officers were being drafted in from all over. Fifteen hundred were coming from London alone. Yet Detective Inspector John Rebus seemed surplus to requirements. Someone had to man the ship--the very words DCI James Macrae had used, with his acolyte smirking by his shoulder. DI Derek Starr reckoned himself the heir apparent to Macrae's throne. One day, he'd be running Gayfield Square police station. John Rebus posed no threat whatsoever, not much more than a year away from retirement. Starr himself had said as much: Nobody'd blame you for coasting, John. It's what anyone your age would do. Maybe so, but the Stones were older than Rebus; Daltrey and Townshend were older than him too. Still playing, still touring. The song was ending now, and Rebus rose to his feet again. He was alone in the chapel. Took a final look at the purple velvet screen. Maybe the coffin was still behind it; maybe it had already been moved to another part of the crematorium. He thought back to adolescence, two brothers in their shared bedroom, playing 45s bought down Kirkcaldy High Street.