This is book number 22 in the long-standing Rebus series by Ian Rankin. Several books ago, Rebus retired but, thankfully, Rankin keeps bringing him back to tell new stories.
As in the other books in the series, we get to spend time with Rebus, Siobhan Clarke, Malcolm Fox and Cafferty, the mob boss that Rebus has been trying to bring down for 22 books.
While the story line in this book is interesting – the body of a private investigator that had been missing for years is discovered; it is really the ongoing development of the characters that keeps bringing me back to this series.
I have enjoyed reading this series as a character study of John Rebus rather than a series of “cop stories”. In the beginning of the series, Rebus was a hard drinking, smoking, and sometimes line-crossing cop. In this current book, Rebus is retired, has quit smoking due to a COPD diagnosis and is an occasional drinker. What I found most interesting about his character in this book is the fact that he is forced to look back at his career of being a cop where he sometimes crossed the line and did things that he shouldn’t have done. In some series, the author would not have gotten away with tarnishing the reputation of their protagonist, but Rankin manages to pull off the magic trick of showing the reader Rebus’ faults while maintaining our goodwill towards him.