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A HEART FULL OF HEADSTONES
by Ian Rankin
Orion, November 2022
352 pages
$34.95
ISBN: 1398709352


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Over the past three and a half decades the Scottish writer Ian Rankin has dominated the crime writing scene, perfecting a sub-genre that has come to be known as Tartan Noir. His protagonist John Rebus has come to personify the independent yet dedicated copper who always seems to find himself squeezed between the corrupt and the corrupted as he struggles to achieve a tiny bit of justice in the dark streets of Edinburgh.

To the consternation of everyone around him Rebus is his own man, and plays by his own rules. Colleagues and senior offices alike are left to cope with the consequences, and he's never far away from a reprimand, or suspension, or worse.

This time it's very much worse. Now retired and suffering from poor health, John Rebus finds himself in the dock, accused of murder. His prospects are bleak.

Rebus finds himself drawn into an investigation that goes back to his days as a young detective assigned to Tynecastle, a local nick famous for its corruption. A detective there, one Frances Haggard, is himself facing charges of corruption, and in a bid to avoid the consequences is threatening to go public with some of the dirty laundry at Tynecastle unless his mates find a way to make the charges go away. There are a lot of skeletons in Tynecastle's closet, so it comes as no surprise when Haggard is found stabbed to death, which only intensifies the investigation into the corrupted police station.

As he was formerly assigned to Tyneside, Rebus finds himself a person of interest, and his past actions placed under the microscope. Before it has ended more people will die, and Rebus will find himself facing possibility of spending the rest of his days in prison.

John Rebus is one of the most fascinating and complex figures in all of crime fiction. Managing to be both irritating and loveable at the same time, he carves out his own tortured path between legal justice and cosmic justice, often annoying his friends and enraging his enemies, yet somehow emerging from the tumult victorious in the end. But this time even Rebus's own doggedness may not be enough to save him.

A new Rankin book is always a source of joy. For decades his readers around the world have celebrated the gift of their next encounter with the iconoclastic detective and his friends and enemies. Ian Rankin has gifted us all with a rich legacy of layered stories involving nuanced characters and spellbinding plots, set against the atmospheric background of Edinburgh; and in the process he has raised contemporary crime writing to the very pinnacle of fiction in all of its forms. Rankin's stories have and will continue to stand the test of time, and serve as both guides and inspiration for generations of readers and writers to come.

In addition to being a reviewer with over six hundred reviews to his credit, Jim Napier is the acclaimed author of Legacy and Ridley's War, in the British-based Colin McDermott Mystery Series

Reviewed by Jim Napier, October 2022

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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