The latest Rebus book I’ve read is Fleshmarket Close. As usual with Ian Rankin’s books this is a complex novel, based around the issues of asylum seekers, illegal immigrants and racial prejudice. Rebus, himself is tolerant, pointing out that his grandfather was Polish and an immigrant. But Rebus hasn’t mellowed at all. He is still a loner and now an outsider, shipped out of his old office, St Leonard’s to Gayfield Square where there is no office or even desk space for him. He’s impatient with his superiors, realising they think it’s time for him to retire.
There is plenty going on in this book, a lot of characters and sub-plots, so it needs concentrated reading. There’s the murder of an unknown immigrant found dead in Knoxland, high-rise blocks of flats, the discovery of two skeletons under the concrete floor in the cellar of the Warlock pub in Fleshmarket Close, the disappearance of Ishbel Jardine, whose sister, a rape victim, had committed suicide, and the murder of the convicted rapist, Donny Cruickshank.
Rebus is relentless in his pursuit of the truth, despite his drinking problems and his difficulties in maintaining any meaningful relationships. DS Siobhan Clarke is also feeling more and more as though she is turning into Rebus, with her late-night lone drinking and methods of working,and there are signs that she and Rebus are drawing closer. How all the cases connect, or indeed if they do connect, is not clear until near the end of the book, when Big Ger Cafferty makes a brief appearance. Although Rebus can’t prove it he knows that Cafferty was behind the scenes using, abusing, conning and manipulating people.