The Black Book by Ian Rankin

It’s only this year that I’ve discovered Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novels and I’m not sure what kept me! I think there are 20 Rebus novels, dating right back to Knots and Crosses, which was published in 1987, and they are still being published now.

Having read the previous four books, I was keen to keep reading with The Black Book, the fifth novel in the series.

Rankin’s novels lack the class of some more literary crime thrillers, like After the Crash and Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi, but there is something very addictive about them. The stories move quickly and each book seems to be more complex than the last.

In The Black Book, Rebus is on the trail of ‘Big Ger’ Cafferty, the man behind much of Edinburgh’s crime, but the police have never been able to pin anything on him. Rebus’s team is given the task of running a surveillance operation to try to catch Big Ger and his money lending and protection services in the act, but Rebus is sceptical.

In the meantime, a man is stabbed in a butcher’s shop, Rebus’s prodigal brother returns from prison and a paedophile is released from jail and settles back into life in Edinburgh.

And then Rebus’s colleague is attacked.

Are all of these things connected? Was the attack on the sergeant a case of mistaken identity? And what was the connection to the cold case of a hotel fire and an unidentified body?

Abandoning the surveillance operation, Rebus starts to conduct his own investigations. But is he taking things too far?

This is a complex and entertaining crime story, which keeps you guessing right up until the end.

If you like your thrillers British, believable and without too much polish, I would definitely recommend the Rebus novels. Although I intend to read through the whole series in order, it isn’t necessary to read from the start. And if you don’t start at the beginning, The Black Book is a very good place to start!

The Black Book, Ian Rankin, The Black Book by Ian Rankin, Book review

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Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Ooh this sounds good, and you’ve linked to After The Crash too, I need to read your review of that one because it’s on my Christmas list on your recommendation!

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    • You will love After the Crash and this is great too. I love that it’s part of a series, so I can keep reading for ages! x

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  2. This sounds like a book that my mum would really enjoy, thanks for sharing with #ReadWithMe

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    • It’s well worth a read! They must appeal to parents – I started reading them after my dad gave me some! He’s a big fan.

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    • They’re definitely worth a try! I started right at the beginning of the series, but I think you could pick up any book and get on fine with it.

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  3. This sounds like a real action packed book, I’ve not ready any of these before as it’s not a genre I favour but maybe I should give them a go. #readwithme

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    • It’s quite an easy way into the genre if you want to give it a try, but obviously crime books are not everyone’s cup of tea!

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  4. I don’t tend to read crime stuff but my husband does a lot. I watch crime dramas though so maybe I should branch out with my reading too. I may be totally wrong but you made this sound a bit like Jeffrey Archer’s book by which I mean that they are an easy read and not too demanding but the story is good.

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    • If you enjoy crime dramas, you would probably enjoy crime books. I’ve never read any Jeffrey Archer, but I think you sum up the Rankin books pretty well. There are easier reads out there, but they’re certainly not the most challenging!

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    • He’s really popular! It’s definitely worth giving one a try. I started right at the beginning, which is weird because there are no mobile phones or anything in the stories. I’m sure it would be fine to just start much later in the series.

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  5. I’ve never read any of Rankin’s novels. Must try and read out of my comfort zone this year.

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    • They’re definitely worth a try! I read a little bit out of my comfort zone from time to time, but there are certain genres I won’t touch – particularly fantasy novels. It’s good to push yourself occasionally, but reading should be about what you enjoy!

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