Edinburgh, Scotland has all the same problems we have in a major
American city --- what we don't have here, and it's our loss --- is
Ian Rankin's Detective Inspector John Rebus. Fortunately we can
read about him instead.
DEAD SOULS is Rankin's ninth Inspector Rebus novel, plus two short
story collections and one novella, yet here in the USofA we're just
catching on to how good these books are. So grab hold! If you like
mysteries, and perhaps even if you don't (try it, you might change
your mind), you have a treat in store.
When I'm reading one of Rankin's Rebus books it's like
hearing/feeling echoes that well up from someplace down deep. I
think that happens because I, like a whole lot of us Americans, am,
by heritage, a Scot myself. My ancestors came here by way of
Ireland in the 18th century. Who was it who said the Scots and the
Irish formed American character while the English weren't looking?
I can't remember, but I think it may be true. Certainly John Rebus
seems familiar, akin to the deepest and most difficult part of
myself: dour, disillusioned down to his toenails, yet moral to the
bone. A fighter who can't even make himself give up, not even when
quitting would be the most sensible thing to do.
For example, toward the end of the book, a certain character says
to Rebus: "That's how it is these days, Rebus. Nobody gives a
shit." Rebus replies: "Nobody but me." And the other guy says:
"Nobody but you. Ever wondered why that is?"
Sure hit me right between the eyes. I expect DEAD SOULS will hit
lots of people right between the eyes, whether they're of Scots
descent or not.