• Paul Phillips

Review 01 - Ian Rankin - Standing In Another Man's Grave

Hello, and welcome to the first instalment of my ‘Book Review Blog’. It was an easy decision for me to agree to do one of these. I am a keen reader and I often jot down my thoughts at the end of a book as a way of working out what I have taken from it. So when it was suggested to me to take those musings and make blogs/content for the website I jumped at the chance.

I will say from blog 01 that their will be no rhyme or reason as to the order of books I decide to review. If a book is in a series I will not be sticking to the series order. No, I will be uploading the reviews as and when they are ready. Some will be re-workings of my current notebook, others will be brand new reviews as I finish a book. They will all be honest and give my real life views on the book I have just read.

In some cases, like this one, the choice of book will be based on my love of the author, his creation or the impact they have had on my life. It was an easy choice to start with an Ian Rankin book. He is the reason I first attempted to write a book and even now as I begin plotting and making notes for book three his influence on my work is tremendous. With that in mind, I have selected ‘Standing On Another Man’s Grave for this review. Released in 2012 this book finds Rankin and Rebus at a crossroads. For five years Rebus has been on the shelf, retired in the book Exit Music and replaced by ‘The Complaints’ series of books featuring a man who is almost the anti-Rebus, Malcolm Fox.

When I first read the news of Rebus's return I had a little bit of doubt. Could Rankin really pull it off and bring back one of my favourites ever detective and keep the magic of the previous books? Would the old magic still be there? Could he really put Rebus on the shelf for five whole years and then dip back into his world in a way which would satisfy the loyal fan base.

What Rankin has created with Rebus is a character which goes beyond your traditional detective. To me and the many, many Rebus readers the character on the page is almost real. We feel his pain, we enjoy his success and we worry about him as he reaches for the bottle. We shake our head as he makes an off the cuff remark. Ian Rankin and his most famous creation have transcended the crime novel genre so it was with a large amount of trepidation that I began reading this book.

Happily, all of my worries turned out to be for nothing. Sure Rebus has changed a lot since we last saw him (Exit Music – The Rebus ‘Retirement’ novel) he is older and but not all that wiser. The old characteristics are there from page one. Sure he doesn’t move as fast but his wit and personality jump from the page.

We find Rebus working in the unsolved crimes unit and drinking with an old enemy. Now retired John Rebus feels more isolated than ever before. This new sombre and reflective Rebus is perhaps best summed up in the line ‘He still had tickets to the gig somewhere, he tended to keep them, though he knew it was just one more thing to be binned when he was no longer around’. It comes as Rebus is sat at home reminiscing about an old concert and contemplating a somewhat bleak future. It is a wonderful line and one which sets the tone for what is to come. This is not the old, bullish Rebus anymore. It is a man searching for a purpose and wondering what role, if any, he has left to play in the world.

However, despite this darker side, the old Rebus soon shows himself. Approached by a grieving mother and asked to look into the disappearance of her daughter Rebus is soon part of an active inquiry team trying to see if a link exists between the missing girl and other recently discovered potential victims.

This reunites him and Siobhan and soon the magic does flow. I have always considered Rebus and Siobhan to be the best duo in crime fiction and this book reconfirms this for me. The pages that they share seem to fly by and the comedy, angst and general fiction that is between them is a highlight of the book. Siobhan is not the only Rankin creation that Rebus interacts with during the book. Fox, the star of Rankin's two complaints novels, makes an appearance and the chance to see Fox through the eyes of someone that he is investigating is fascinating and shocking. I was a big fan of Fox during the two complaints books but found myself disliking him during this book.

The true strength of this book is not so much the plot but the interaction between the key players. It is a rare skill of Ian Rankin to make dialogue between Rebus and Big Ger Cafferty feel not like text in a book but a conversation you are eaves dropping into. There are moments of tension, moments of real reflection and the occasional daft joke thrown in throughout the book but in each moment you feel like you are a part of the story. These are not fictional detectives or a made up gangster. No, they are a part of your life. And it is great to have them all back. After five long years, it is joyful to watch Rebus play the good guys against the bad guys whilst all the while managing to stay one step ahead of everybody. Like a conductor in an orchestra, he at times manipulates the cast to do what he wants when he wants while all the while keeping his motives close to his chest.

In conclusion, the relaunch of Rebus is a wonderful success. The story has moved on in the places that it needs to whilst managing to keep all of the key ingredients of the past books. Since this novel, Rankin has written four more Rebus books but it is Standing In Another Man’s Grave which provided the platform for all of these. In the closing chapter of the book Rankin dangles a tantalising glimpse of what is to come in the series and despite knowing what comes next I found myself desperate to read the next instalment in the series. Mission accomplished Mr Rankin, Rebus was back and back in a wonderfully fulfilling way.

Standing In Another Man's Grave can be purchased on the following link - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Standing-Another-Mans-Grave-Rebus-ebook/dp/B0087GZ8YW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1541954481&sr=8-1&keywords=ian+rankin+standing+in+another+mans+grave

Details of how you can get your hands on my currently released work can be found below. Amazon Author Page - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paul-Phillips/e/B00GRQB22Q/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1541954860&sr=8-1 Austin Macauley Page - https://www.austinmacauley.com/author/phillips-paul Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/…/o…/paul-phillips/9781787109780 Browns Books - http://www.brownsbfs.co.uk/…/Obsession--You-W…/9781787109780 Barnes and Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1128265283… Booktopia (For Australian Fans) - - https://www.booktopia.com.au/obsessi…/prod9781787109780.html

Jim Prichard The Final 24 Hours Amazon Author Page - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paul-Phillips/e/B00GRQB22Q/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1541954860&sr=8-1

The River

Amazon Author Page - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paul-Phillips/e/B00GRQB22Q/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1541954860&sr=8-1 Website - http://paulphillipsauthor.co.uk Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/PaulPhillipsAuthor/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/paulphillipsauthor/?hl=en Twitter - https://twitter.com/pphillips_ukuk

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