Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hide and Seek (Ian Rankin, 1990)

When in Knots & Crosses Rebus discovered that his daughter had been kidnapped, his first response was a pathetic whining "Jesus Christ. Help me, oh help me.... Dear God, let her be safe. Dear God, let her live." In this one he returns to the crime scene on a routine inspection (I think) and realizes that somebody has added some Zodiac signs type of shit to the previously painted pentagram on the wall. And, since the paint is still fresh, what do you think his reaction would be this time?  I quote: "Superstitious to his core, Rebus turned on his heels and fled, not bothering to relock the door behind him."


I'm not saying that all our heroes should be as though as Mike Hammer or Shaft (nobody of course is btw), but this is simply ridiculous. I can understand that Mr Rankin was trying to portrait his protagonist as human as possible and can somehow even forgive him for sending poor old John to the church, but can we please draw a line at some point?

Courage isn't the only quality of Rebus that hasn't improved much from the last time around. Even though he has been promoted to a Detective Sergent and has gotten a junior partner (one with the shoe-leather, while he is the brain), his detective skills remained pretty poor. We are on the page 171 and case just doesn't move anywhere, then we finally get another corpse on the page 179 which results Rebus in having a revelation (an epiphany even) ten painfully boring pages later.

But he doesn't really need some incredible lucidity to solve this fucker because plotting is non-existent and full of holes. Let me throw you just a couple of examples. His ex girlfriend's boyfriend is somehow involved in the case and also - even better - one of his main suspects attacks his new partner's girlfriend and tells her where the crucial piece of evidence is located later when she visits her in the hospital. According to Wikipedia, there are almost 850 thousand people living in Edinburgh, so you can calculate yourself the odds for those things to happen.

Plot is as predictive as they come. It starts with a mandatory small-time crime (murder of a junkie disguised as an overdose), a bit spiced up with already mentioned occult crap and some "shady" characters thrown into the pot and finally climaxing in revelation of corruption and moral decay of city's high society. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but in this book it just doesn't work. Especially ending is horrible because Rebus has a bunch of solid evidences plus witness testimonials and yet - for some reason unknown to me - he decides to assemble a group of loyal policemen and assaults this sinister night club in a good old Eliot Ness manner.

I honestly have no idea about where this "Unsurpassed among living British crime writers" crap comes from. This is just another under average police procedural stuff.



Detective Inspector John Rebus

Edinburgh - AIDS, heart disease and false teeth capitol of Britain.

Body count:5
Dames: /

none, although he's pretty close to one when Tracy kicks him in the balls.

Highly original one, especially in a crime genre.

As exciting as the novel and as original as the title.

Cool lines:/

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