Saints of the Shadow Bible
Rebus is back. But he had to agree to step down from being an Inspector and take on a lesser role as Sergeant. Siobhan Clarkehas been promoted to Inspector, which means Rebus now works for her. Or at least that is the plan.
The novel opens at a celebration of the force that includes the Solicitor General for Scotland, Elinor Macari. As she enters the room, Rebus makes his escape to go out and have a cigarette. As the event moves on, Macari takes Malcolm Fox, head of Professional Standards, away from his friend and escorts him out of the room. While watching this, Siobhan decides that whatever is to be discussed will be done behind closed doors.
"Ian Rankin is such a practiced and successful writer that he always can be relied upon to deliver a well-planned plot, populated with well-drawn characters."
The narrative moves on to the investigation of the site of a car crash. As the team goes through the car, they find one Ugg boot on the passenger side, which meant two people were in the vehicle, not one. The car belongs to Jessica Traynor, the daughter of a well-known businessman. They surface later on in the book. As Rebus and Siobhan continue their inquiry, they discover that Jessica has a boyfriend named Forbes, last name or first name unknown at this time. We do learn that his father is a bigwig on the scene, as is Jessica’'s.
Another investigation keeps Rebus busy in SAINTS OF THE SHADOW BIBLE. Thirty years ago, early in their careers, a small group of young cops had their own ways of solving crimes and called themselves "The Saints." Rebus was a rookie when he was inducted into this crew of rogues swearing allegiance on a "Shadow Bible." Ironically, not only did the good guys grow up and still live in the neighborhood, the bad guys did too. And old hates die hard.
Now one of their cases has emerged from the depths of the past, and an investigation has begun into whether or not a murder was covered up to meet the ends of certain people. Some of the old men who were around then don't want to talk about that case and are infuriated when Rebus, Clarke and Fox call upon them for questioning.
The role of Malcolm Fox is interesting. He is in between assignments and may come back to CID after years as an IAB officer. He stays close to Rebus, and they have many old adversities to overcome.
The two cases merge and separate, then merge again as readers make their way through the book. High tension and a mounting body count give readers a run for their lives. Ian Rankin is such a practiced and successful writer that he always can be relied upon to deliver a well-planned plot, populated with well-drawn characters. And he doesn't disappoint here. If anything, he is at the top of his game, and SAINTS OF THE SHADOW BIBLE is one of the best novels he has produced.
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on January 17, 2014