Sunday, April 12, 2020

Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin

I loved Knots and Crosses, Ian Rankin’s first novel featuring Inspector John Rebus, when I read it a month or so ago. I was impressed with the prose, the characters, the sense of place even as the thriller plot pulled me relentlessly forward. It is a legitimately great crime debut and I looked forward to more. I think my expectations were skewed going into Hide and Seek the second in the series, which may have affected the way I read it.

In the sequel there are echoes of the first book, but I think it could be read on its own. Rebus has gotten a promotion. As the novel opens, there is a murder in an squat house, and Rebus is pulled from duty and put on a planning committee for an anti-drug campaign. The murder has satanist overtones. The murder victim was known to be a male prostitute. The antagonists are Reagan/Thatcher era corrupt rich folks. In both books, Rankin is intent on exposing the seedier side of Edinburgh, and this book, that is extended to city-wide corruption on a scale absent in the first book. Moreso than its predecessor, the preoccupations of the book are very much of the 80s/early 90s. This isn’t a negative thing; it’s a good time capsule. Very strange to think that a book published when I was in high school is a period piece.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. It didn’t blow me away like the first one did, but is very nearly as good. I suspect if I read it first I might even like it more. I am looking forward to the other Rankin books I picked up sometime last year, even though they come much later in the series.

Highly Recommended.

Owned But Previously Unread 2020 23/75

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