EXIT MUSIC by Ian Rankin
Kirkus Star


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Say it ain’t so: Rebus retires.

Having reached mandatory retirement age, Detective Inspector John Rebus has just ten days left before leaving Edinburgh’s Gayfield Square police station. While he tries to interest his partner, Det. Sgt. Siobhan Clarke, in keeping his unsolved cases open, the pair is sent off to King’s Stables Road, where a dissident Russian poet has come to an unsightly end. It might have been a mugging, but Rebus doubts it: There’s too much fury in the killing, whose blood trail wends back to a car park. Tracing the poet’s last hours turns up a curry dinner with a recording engineer, who dies when his tape archives go up in flames, and an odd group of drinking companions at the posh Caledonian Hotel, including a wealthy Russian businessman and Rebus’s old nemesis Big Ger Cafferty, who controls most of Edinburgh’s slums, drugs and vice. With Scottish Nationalists once more urging independence and entrepreneurial Russians angling to buy up much of the country with Cafferty as middleman, could the dead poet have upset negotiations? When the case becomes a hot potato, Rebus, overstepping bounds, is suspended three days before his retirement. The case ends with a triple-twist conclusion.

One can only hope that as Conan Doyle revived Holmes and John Harvey brought back Charlie Resnick, Rankin will allow Rebus (The Naming of the Dead, 2007, etc.) several encores. Meanwhile, he goes out with panache and his usual ability to see through flummery.

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-316-05758-5
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2008

Kirkus Interview
Ian Rankin
August 11, 2015

Brilliant, irascible and frequently frustrating to both his friends and his long-suffering bosses, John Rebus has made the dark places of Edinburgh his home for over two decades. The Beat Goes On: The Complete Rebus Stories collects all of Ian Rankin's Rebus short stories for the first time, including two never-before published tales written specifically for this collection. From his beginnings as a young Detective Constable in “Dead and Buried,” right up to his dramatic, but not quite final, retirement in “The Very Last Drop,” Rebus shines in these stories, confirming his status as one of crime fiction's most compelling, brilliant, and unforgettable characters. “Rankin’s canny cop is as gray and dour as his Edinburgh beat, but he’s in fine form in these clever, occasionally touching, and often wryly funny vignettes,” our reviewer writes; we talk to Rankin this week on Kirkus TV. View video >


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